Who owns the Project?

How the process of planning and management is put to work in a project varies a lot depending whether the project is self managed by an owner builder, or is part of the production process of a large corporation where the boat is just one of many products under construction. And of course there is a whole range of possibilities between those two examples.

In every case however, regardless of the size of the project there is one basic factor that is most likely to determine the degree of satisfaction with the build process and its' outcome.

We know who owns the factory.

We know who owns the business.

We know who owns the bits and pieces that have been purchased to build the boat. It’s written into the contract.

We know who the owner of the boat will be on completion. That’s in the contract as well.


But who owns the project?

The business owner, or the factory owner may or may not be there for the construction, may or may not care how the construction is going, and may not know what to do about it if it’s not going well.


The project manager may or may not have management skills and is just as susceptible to the Peter Principle as anyone else.

And the owner of the boat under construction may be powerless to do anything about any of this.


The most successful projects are those that are driven by someone with a sound understanding of boatbuilding and who has the ability to plan, to organise cooperate and to communicate. And this person usually spends a considerable amount of time on the workshop floor.


They may or may not be the business owner, the business manager, or the project manager, but they demonstrate a passion for seeing the project through with efficiency and quality workmanship.


A successful project relies on a collaboration between the builder, the designer, the engineers and the materials people.

The person who owns the project coordinates these elements and drives the project forward efficiently.


Be sure you know who owns the project.


It's not just Boat Building

In June 2006 the groundbreaking work began on Berlin’s futuristic new Brandenberg Airport project. After running seriously over budget and overtime arrangements were finally made for the official opening to happen in June 2012, right down to the formal ceremonies, the catering and flight scheduling. 

It was generally agreed that the architecture was good and the airport had been well designed, however just weeks prior to the planned official opening a team of logistics, aviation and safety experts found numerous problems in the airport’s construction and it’s systems. The opening had to be cancelled.


By July 2015 the airport’s budget had tripled to 5.4 billion Euros, 150,000 defects had been found in the project including 85,000 serious ones, and the airport is not expected to open before 2017.


Scenarios like this happen in all fields of human endeavour including boat building. But the risk of such events coming to pass can be minimised.  The single most critical factor is management.


Illustration for article who owns the project

You can read the full story of the Brandenberg Airport project here on Bloomberg Business News: