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Examining critical project management skills for successful delivery of major maintenance projects: insights from the United Kingdom energy sector

Bryan Pieterse (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Kofi Agyekum (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)
Patrick Manu (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Saeed Reza Mohandes (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Clara Cheung (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Akilu Yunusa-Kaltungo (Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 14 December 2022

57

Abstract

Purpose

Major maintenance projects are often regarded as maintenance activities regardless of the projects' complexity and scale. Consequently, very scarce research attention has hitherto been paid to the critical skills required when undertaking these projects. More specifically, the body of relevant knowledge is deprived of a study focusing on maintenance projects within the energy sector. In view of this shortcoming, this research aims to examine the critical project management (PM) skills required to deliver major maintenance projects within the energy sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a quantitative research strategy, this study addressed the knowledge gap through a cross-sectional survey of professionals involved in the delivery of major maintenance projects in the United Kingdom's (UK) energy sector. Data obtained were analyzed via descriptive (e.g. frequencies, mean and standard deviation [SD]) and inferential statistical analyses (One sample t-test and exploratory factor analysis (EFA)).

Findings

Out of the 45 PM skills identified in the literature and examined by the respondents, the results obtained from the One sample t-test (based on p (1-tailed) = 0.05) showed that 37 were considered to be at least “important,” accounting for 80.4% of all the skills identified. EFA revealed a clustering of the PM skills items into seven components: “skills related to work scheduling and coordination”; “communication, risk, safety and stakeholder management skills”; “quality assurance skills”; “people management skills”; “skills related to forecasting scope and duration of outage”; “implementation of processes and time management skills” and “technical/engineering skills and experience pertaining to the outage and local site knowledge.”

Originality/value

This study has identified and contributed to the limited state-of-the-art skills project managers must possess to manage major maintenance projects in the energy sector successfully. The findings would be useful to organizations within the energy sector in ensuring that the organizations have suitable personnel in place to deliver major maintenance projects on the organizations' assets.

Keywords

Citation

Pieterse, B., Agyekum, K., Manu, P., Mohandes, S.R., Cheung, C. and Yunusa-Kaltungo, A. (2022), "Examining critical project management skills for successful delivery of major maintenance projects: insights from the United Kingdom energy sector", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2022-0658

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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