Case Study Multiplexthe Wellbuilt Australian

Multiplex is a diversified property business, employing over 1,500 people across four divisions: construction, property development, facilities management, and investment management. Based in Australia, it has a presence in Southeast Asia and Europe. Its core construction business involves managing the design and

construction of urban developments, such as office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals, and sporting complexes. Landmark projects have included the $430 million Sydney Olympic Stadium. It is currently re-building the UK's iconic sporting venue—Wembley National Stadium.

Multiplex is highly regarded for its ability to compete on cost, but it does so without damage to client satisfaction and as a result seeks to secure repeat business. It operates a flat structure. The board of directors is usually fully aware of what is happening at the construction project "coalface." Head office functional managers support projects in specialist disciplines including design, contract administration, estimation, employee relations, finance, and legal affairs.

Multiplex's project managers are highly experienced in construction and project management. The company sets high performance standards, requiring its managers to deliver the building or facility to the client and continue responsibility for any subsequent modification once in service. The company gives project managers control over resources and, within broad limits, the authority to take whatever decisions are necessary to complete the project—they "can make a large number of decisions related to the project with complete autonomy."

Because performance matters, so too accountability is important. But accountability is exercised in a rounded manner. Reasonable mistakes are understood and recognized as a learning opportunity. While management does focus on project outcomes, overall performance is assessed relative to the challenge. Thus retrieving a potentially damaging situation may be valued more than the final outcome against targets. Small financial bonuses are paid against annual performance rather than specific projects. But the company recognizes that for most of its managers association with a success and the challenge of something new are the key motivators.

Control against project schedule, cost, and quality is tight. The Board receives reports monthly. Formal reporting to the project director is weekly, informal reporting daily. Senior managers actively follow progress also through site visits.

The project directors and construction managers to whom project managers report are highly knowledgeable about project management. Their involvement in business development ensures that their projects can be successfully achieved with commercial returns. The company's recognition of the challenges of projects means that project managers feel comfortable sharing difficulties with their superiors. As a result, problems are rapidly dealt with before they accumulate long-term consequences.

Recruitment and development of aspiring project managers is based on an "apprenticeship" model to build long-term commitment to the company and to demonstrate its own commitment to project managers. Consequently, retention is high and turnover is low. Development includes on-the-job-training, mentoring, and formal management development courses. The company's commitment to its project managers and hence its ability to build organizational capability is reinforced by its preference for internal promotion.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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