Project Management Institute

Project management

meeting China's challenge

The Great Wall stands as a marvel of China's ancient construction achievements. To better understand China's modern practices for realizing projects, the authors traveled to China on two occasions for a period totaling six weeks. This article reports their findings of China's contemporary project management practices, findings based on observations of actual projects and conversations with professors and students of management as well as professional practitioners. It explains the nature of China's traditional project management practice, known as Danwei, and describes the state of the country's current labor market and infrastructure. It also describes the cultural qualities that most significantly affect Chinese projects, particularly in regard to manager performance and project scheduling. It then details the country's effort to develop a new system for planning and implementing projects, a system based on a model practiced by the United States Government. It also discusses Chinese projects in relation to project quality and project cost. Accompanying this article is a table comparing the project attributes used in the United States with those used in China, attributes that are categorized into seven sections: project purpose, financing, procurement of materials, labor, contractor relationships, project manager authority, and project meetings.
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