InTrans / Aug 03, 2015

Providing useful tools for tackling complex renewal projects

Challenge: The issues involved in managing infrastructure renewal projects are different from those in managing new construction. And “complex” renewal projects, by definition, involve additional issues that may be unpredictable, uncertain, and highly dynamic. With additional pressures to accelerate delivery and reduce costs, traditional project management practices are not always adequate for the challenges and realities of today’s complex projects.

Solution: Staff from the Construction Management and Technology (CM&T) program at the Institute for Transportation have developed a straightforward guide with useful tools to help agencies integrate complex project management strategies into existing project management plans and processes.

Details: This work, completed in 2014, was conducted through the second-generation Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) renewal project R10.

After an in-depth study of 15 U.S. and three international projects, the CM&T team focused on a five-dimensional project management (5DPM) approach. The five project dimensions are (1) cost, (2) schedule, (3) technical, (4) context, and (5) financing.

The goal of the 5DPM approach is to manage the variables within each dimension, many of which are outside the project manager’s direct control and can vary widely from project to project as well as during the course of a project.

In addition to a research report and guide, research staff developed practical and flexible tools, techniques, and processes to help agencies deploy 5DPM successfully. Agencies can integrate 5DPM into their existing management procedures as narrowly or broadly as they desire. Use of the tools, techniques, and methods is fully scalable and may be as simple or as in-depth as needed.

Through its SHRP2-funded project, the CM&T team conducted multiple training events. All resources, including the guide and presentation slides, were designed for self-implementation and are available through the SHRP2 program.

For more information contact Jennifer Shane, CM&T director,

This aritcle is part of the CTRE EnRoute 2014 Year-at-a-Glance series. Download the full document (.pdf).