Examining Critical Project Management Skills for Successful Delivery of Major Maintenance Projects: Insights from the United Kingdom Energy Sector

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Abstract

Purpose - Major maintenance projects are often regarded as maintenance activities regardless of their 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 examined the critical project management 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 was analyzed via descriptive (e.g., frequencies, mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistical analyses (One-sample t-test and Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA)).
Findings – Out of the 45 project management 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 thirty-seven were considered to be at least “important”, accounting for 80.4% of all the skills identified. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) revealed a clustering of the project management 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 they have suitable personnel in place to deliver major maintenance projects on their assets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEngineering Construction and Architectural Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2022

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