The purpose of this paper is to show how modern project management techniques can be applied to today's underwater contracting industry

By general usage, project management relates only to large capital engineering or construction contracts However, project management can apply to in-house work where the norm is either flow-line or batch operation, and theone-off ‘special’ creates serious difficulties It is also relevant to development work, the preparation of tenders and to every contracting job undertaken offshore

The paper sets out first to put project management in perspective, goes on to consider its general management basis and to discuss some special project management techniques, before bringing it together as a plan for action, and concludes with suggestions on how to develop project managers

The drive for greater efficiency applies very much in the offshore underwater contracting industry at this time, and hence the paper's sub-title It is hoped that the subject will be of interest to the many companies trying to cope with today's market conditions using yesterday's management techniques, who recognize the need for improved performance, and are intent on adopting simple practices and procedures to that end


The theme is that project management (PM) can provide the opportunity to improve the way firms run much of their business and, at the same time, to establish better credentials with clients who themselves already practise it


It is probably simplest to start by describing what PM does It forces the setting of clear objectives It develops synergy team-work by which the combined effort awareness of the project situation and brings to bear specialized approaches and techniques


Project management is an add-on to general management, in that it cannot readily exist or be effective without a solid management base On the other hand, the drive for PM can be a spur to improving the general management of the firm It is, of course, much more than an add-on it has its own special methodology to bring to bear Overall, it provides the means of focusing attention on a specific task or project.

Before considering the general and project management aspects, it is appropriate to set down some definitions

The definition of ‘project’ that will be used in the paper is significantly wider than that of large capital projects, such as an offshore oilfield development It is a ‘tangible outcome of a non-routine coordinated programme of work, with predetermined output parameters, such as quality, cost and time’ One may even describe the task of creating such an outcome as a project in its own right, since projects can range from technology-based industrial programmes, to the installation of a computer system, or even to the staging of a conference or exhibition Their time-scale can vary from a few months to many years

By management is meant ‘working with and through individuals and groups to accomplish organizational goals’ It involves interpersonal relationships, leadership and motivation, in addition to technical and coordinating functions

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