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Development Management vs Project Management

WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT (DM) AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM PROJECT MANAGEMENT (PM)?

The answer first requires a brief historical analysis of the UAE’s real estate development industry. In the early days of the UAE’s development when projects were small-scale and relatively simple, projects were often executed solely by the Project Architect who worked directly with the Owner / Investor. Neither an independent Project Manager (PM) nor Development Manager (DM) was needed. This still holds true for small, private projects such as the construction of a few villas for personal use or refurbishment of a retail strip. As projects became more complex and the Project Owner became a development company, the value of an independent Project Manager (PM) began to surface. The PM’s primary role became to control cost and time elements in a development project, to institute a document control system, and to monitor terms and conditions of commercial contracts. As a variety of sub-consultants and specialty consultants (such as traffic, environmental, acoustic, etc.) were assigned to projects and commercial structures with the Contractor became more complex, the Architect’s role moved to a design/ deliverable format and the PM was inserted into the development team as both a project control mechanism and an ‘’extra set of eyes’’ on behalf of the Project Owner. The onset of Development Management (DM) as a trade craft came about largely as a result of several more recent core changes to the real estate development industry which have been summarized in the below exhibit.

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As evidenced by major institutions such as MIT and LSE offering a Graduate Level Degree – the “MRED” (Master’s in Real Estate Development) – the trend towards DM is rising. The simplest way to differentiate Development Management from Project Management is the yardstick for each service provider. The PM is primarily tasked with controlling cost and time as key output parameters, whereas the DM is primarily tasked with achieving a higher rate of project profit as a key output parameter.

Development Management White Paper