Professor James Diekmann

Construction Engineering and Management Program.

University of Colorado at Boulder

Selected Publications

Financial Portfolio Risk Management for International Projects

Text Box: Engineering and construction projects are dependent on two fundamental elements: the ability to plan and manage the technical components of the project such as the tasks and resources; and secondly the ability of the project participants to effectively develop into a high performance team. Historically, the industry has focused extensively on optimizing the project management processes associated with the former element. In this focus, organizations have emphasized the ability to develop the optimum plan, allocate resources efficiently, and utilize control functions to ensure that the project stays on schedule and within budget. Specifically, the engineering approach to project management has neglected to recognize the importance of the participants to the success of the overall project. In this paper, the engineering-based approach to project success is reconfigured to reemphasize the need to develop high performing teams by recognizing the importance of the project network. This recognition is formalized in the social network model of construction that integrates classic project management concepts with social science variables to enhance the focus on knowledge sharing as the foundation for achieving high performance teams and project results.

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management

Paul Chinowsky; James Diekmann and Victor Galotti

Vol. 134, No. 10, October 1, 2008

©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9364/2008/10-804–812

Past Perfect: Historical Antecedents of Modern Construction Practices

Text Box: This paper describes initial research on a project designed to understand the experiences of past generations of constructors and make that knowledge accessible to future generations of engineering students and construction practitioners. Much in the same way as medical students can trace their lineage back to Hippocrates, this project aims to provide architecture, engineering, and construction students, and professionals alike, a sense of their professional history. The project was developed around five time epochs, four geographic regions, and three different project types. We investigated issues such as the flow of money, training of workers, sharing of design knowledge, and nature of contracts and agreements. The central question posed by this work is how should knowledge of the history and evolution of construction practices be incorporated in the dialog that educators have with students and with the larger professional community? This research has led to multifaceted results. the message to students should be pride in their professional heritage because throughout time constructors and designers have used knowledge, perseverance, and innovation to accomplish remarkable projects. On the other hand, we have shown that much of what is considered new in the industry alternative project delivery methods, worker safety programs, public private partnerships, and globalization have historical antecedents and are not new at all.

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management

James E. Diekmann

Vol. 133, No. 9, September 1, 2007.

 ©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9364/2007/


Text Box: Strategies for Overlapping Dependent Design Activities
Text Box: Overlapping activities that are traditionally performed in a sequential manner can significantly reduce project delivery times. Overlapping, however, should be approached in a systematic manner to reduce the costs and risks. Information gathered from sector-based case studies and from the manufacturing domain suggest a formalized framework for identifying overlapping opportunities and strategies can be successfully implemented for infrastructure projects. This framework considers activity characteristics, such as evolution of upstream information and sensitivity of downstream activities to changes in upstream information, to identify appropriate overlapping strategies. Overlapping strategies, such as early freezing of design criteria, overdesign, and early release of preliminary information, are selected based on activity characteristics. These strategies operate either by speeding up the evolution of upstream information or by reducing the sensitivity of downstream activities. By aligning overlapping strategies with activity characteristics, project managers can make better decisions on when and how much to overlap sequential activities to reduce overall project delivery time.

Construction Management and Economics

Susan M. Bogus, Keith R. Molenaar and James E. Diekmann

August 2006) 24, 829–837(

ISSN 0144-6193 print/ISSN 1466-433X online # 2006 Taylor & Francis

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management

Seung H. Han; James E. Diekmann; Young Lee; and Jong H. Ock

Vol. 130, No. 3, June 1, 2004.

©ASCE, ISSN 0733-9364/2004/


Social Network Model of Construction

Text Box: While opportunities for international construction firms have been growing with globalization, the risks involved with international construction projects are increasing significantly. Due to the complex skein of various risks, it is difficult to evaluate the severity of risk variables at the corporate level and to examine key success factors in an attempt to maximize a firm’s value under the challenging global business environment. This paper focuses on a financial portfolio risk management for international projects to integrate the risk hierarchy of both individual projects and at the corporate level, which applies a multicriteria decision making method to maximize the total value of firms. To demonstrate the approach, a case study is conducted based on real projects collected from  multinational general contractor.