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Time and cost matter, project management forum hears

Leaders find common ground in planning and development methods and priorities

Gulf News

Dubai: Time and costs remain the most important factors in any project, whether in private or public organisations or international agencies, panellists at the Dubai International Project Management Forum agreed.

Panellists Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group; Saeed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa); and Frode Mauring, resident coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme, found common ground in their approach to projects.

Panel moderator Dr Khaled Hamdy, projects adviser to the Director-General at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Agency, summed up that agreement as “failure to plan is planning to fail”.

“The most important thing is your budget,” Al Habtoor said. “As the Americans say, money talks. You have to control your budget as much as you can, which is very, very difficult. You have to see the productivity of your people.”

He added, “Einstein said, ‘Give me money and I will build the universe,’ but he did not say how much it would cost and how long it would take.”

He said controlling costs and timescale required the right people — and they were increasingly difficult to find.

Al Tayer listed his primary ingredients for a successful project as good planning, good project management and Dewa’s Dashboard system for tracking projects.

He held up his smartphone to show he had instant access to the latest reports on Dewa’s projects.

Mauring, in his closing comments, said that although the UN was dealing with multiple nations on projects, “it is striking how many similarities exist even though the goals are different. There is a saying that if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else. You need to have that method, you need to have the people to follow you.”

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