What is preproject planning, anyway?

G. Edward Gibson, Yu Ren Wang, Chung Suk Cho, Michael P. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The importance of preproject planning in the capital facility delivery process and its potential impact on project success has long been recognized by industry practitioners. Nevertheless, the preproject planning process varies significantly throughout the construction industry from one organization to another, and from one business sector to another. This paper will summarize lessons learned from five research projects conducted during the past 14 years regarding the preproject planning process. These research projects were based on data from more than 200 capital projects, representing approximately 8.7 billion U.S. dollars; input from more than 500 industry practitioners; and reviews of the project planning processes used by more than 100 organizations. The positive relationship between thorough preproject planning and enhanced project performance is demonstrated. Findings are presented, including key requirements, processes, and scope definition elements that comprise thorough preproject planning. Similarities and differences in the scope definition of building and industrial projects are outlined. Conclusions of the research effort and recommendations to industry practitioners are provided.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Best Management Practice
  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Risk management


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