The less agents, the more schedule reliability: examination of single-point responsibility model in design management

Mostafa Khanzadi, Mohammad M. Shahbazi, Mehrdad Arashpour, Somik Ghosh

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Despite its importance, little research, has studied schedule reliability from resource management perspective. This paper studies the association between the task–agent relationship and the reliability of project schedule. Four case studies are presented to examine the effect of task–agent relationships. To do so, the tasks are categorized into two groups according to their relationships with agents: single-agent and multi-agent. The groups are then compared in terms of mean lateness, lateness variance, and schedule reliability. To measure the schedule reliability, the formulations are adapted from the production and manufacturing literature to the context of design and construction. The results show that the schedules of single-agent tasks are more reliable than multi-agent tasks. Statistical tests uphold the significance of this difference, especially in design projects, as well as the projects with similar contexts. It is argued that single-agent tasks take advantage of role clarity, autonomy, and KSA (knowledge, skill, abilities) conformity. In addition, in view of promise theory, single-agent tasks are less subject to agents-in-the-middle effect and benefit from locality. The findings are of practical value to consulting firms, especially design team managers who seek to maximize innovation, competency and quality outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1316
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Commitment planning
  • Promise reliability
  • Promise theory
  • Schedule reliability
  • Single-point responsibility model

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