Archive for the ‘Theory’ Category

Human Effort Dynamics and Schedule Risk Analysis (Barseghyan, 2009)

Dienstag, April 21st, 2009


Barseghyan, Pavel: Human Effort Dynamics and Schedule Risk Analysis; in:  PM World Today, Vol. 11(2009), No. 3.

Barseghyan researched extensively the human dynamics within project work.  He has formulated a system of intricate mathematics quite similar to Boyle’s law and the other gas laws.  He establishes a simple set of formulas to schedule the work of software developers.

T = Time, E = Effort, P = Productivity, S = Size, and D = Difficulty
Then W = E * P = T * P = S * D, and thus T = S*D/P

But and now it gets tricky S~D~P are correlated!

The author has collected enough data to show the typical curves between Difficulty –> Duration and Difficulty –> Productivity.  To schedule and synchronise two tasks the D/P ratio has to be constant between these two tasks.


Barseghyan then continues to explore the details between Difficulty and Duration.  He argues that the common notion of bell-shaped distributions is flawed because of the non linear relationship between Difficulty –> Duration  [note that his curves have a segment of linearity followed by some exponential part.  If the Difficulty bell curve is transformed into the Diffculty–>Duration probability function using that non-linear transformation formula it looses is normality and results in a fat-tail distribution.  Therefore Barseghyan argues, the notion of using bell-shaped curves in planning is wrong.  

Hierarchy of inquiring systems in meta-modelling (Gigch & Pipino, 1986)

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009


This concludes our little journey into constructivism, complex system thinking, and the big question: "What do we really really really know?"

Inputs   Philosophy of Science   Outputs
Evidence, epistemological questions —> Epistemology —> Paradigm
Evidence, scientific problems —> Science —> Theories & Models
Evidence, managerial problems —> Practice —> Solution to problems

System of Systems (Flood & Jackson, 1991) Decision making process (Simon, 1976)

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009

Not really a summary of two article, but rather a summary of two constructivists‘ concepts.

Firstly, Flood and Jackson propose a System of Systems and point out the modelling approaches suitable for these specific systems:

  Unitary Pluralist Coercive
Simple Operation Research, Systems Analysis, Systems Engineering, System Dynamics Social Systems Design, Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing Critical Systems Heuristics
Complex Viable Systems Model, General Systems Theory, Socio-Technical Systems Thinking, Contingency Theory Interactive Planning, Soft Systems Methodology  

Secondly, because at some point in time I just had to write it down again, Simon’s constructivist process of decision-making, originally published in 1979:

Intelligence (Is vs. Ought situation) —> Design (Problem Solving) —> Choice —> Implementation —> Evaluation

With the extension of decision loops if no choice can be made as proposed by Le Moigne, revisiting the Design, Intelligence, or even the Initial step:

  • Re-Design – the How
  • Re-Finalisation – the What
  • Re-Justification – the Why

Tailored task forces: Temporary organizations and modularity (Waard & Kramer, 2008)

Montag, Oktober 20th, 2008

Tailored task forces: Temporary organizations and modularity (Waard & Kramer, 2008)

Waard, Erik J. de; Kramer, Eric-Hans: Tailored task forces – Temporary organizations and modularity; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 26 (2008), No. 5, pp. 537-546.

As a colleague once put it: Complex projects should be organised like terrorist organisations – Autonomous cells of highly motivated individuals.

Waard & Kramer do not analyse projects but it’s fast paced and short lived cousin – the task force. The task force is THE blueprint for an temporary organisation. The authors found that the more modularised the parent company is, the easier it is to set-up a task force/temporary organisations. Waard & Kramer also found that the temporary organisations are more stable if set-up by modular parent companies. They explain this with copying readily available organisational design principles and using well excercised behaviours to manage these units.

The more interesting second part of the article describes how a company can best set-up task forces. Waard & Kramer draw their analogy from Modular Design.

„Building a complex system from smaller subsystems that are independently designed yet function together“

The core of modular design is to establish visible design rules and hidden design parameters. The authors describe that rules need to be in place for (1) architecture, (2) interfaces, and (3) standards. The remaining design decisions is left in the hands of the task force, which is run like a black box.
In this case Architecture defines which modules are part of the system and what each modules functionality is. Interface definition lays out how these modules interact and communication. Lastly, the Standards define how modules are tested and how their performance is measured.

Embedding projects in multiple contexts – a structuration perspective (Manning, 2008)

Freitag, Oktober 3rd, 2008

Embedding projects in multiple contexts – a structuration perspective (Manning, 2008)

Manning, Stephan: Embedding projects in multiple contexts – a structuration perspective; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 26 (2008), No. 1, pp. 30-37.

Manning argues that projects are embedded in multiple contexts at the same time. These context facilitate and constrain the project at the same time and dynamically he describes this as „projects partly evolve in idiosyncratic ways as temporary systems, embedding needs to be understood as a continuous process linking projects to their environments“ (p.30).

Manning bases his analysis on Structuration Theory. It’s premise is to analyse action and structure (to interdependent concepts) in practice. Structuration Theory is defined by three key concepts – (1) structure, (2) actors, and (3) reflexive monitoring.

Structure is the set of symbolic and normative rules found in organisations. Furthermore the structure is set by authoritative and allocative resources. Actors are defined as potentially powerful and knowledgeable agents, who apply rules and resources in interactions, thus impacting the flow of events. As such structure impacts actions, which in turn impacts the structure. Reflexive monitoring is exactly this feedback loop from action to structure.

Applying structuration theory to projects Manning builds the concept of the project as temporary organisation, which is characertised by its tasks (=specification), times (=constraints), and teams (=relations). The author furthermore notices a constant process of disembedding and re-embedding into different contexts.

Which contexts are there? Manning identfies three. (1) organisations which are the collecitve actors engagned in coordinating projects, (2) interorganisational networks which are relations of legally independent organisations, and (3) organisation fields which are areas of institutional life by organisations and their members. Projects are embedded in all three of these contexts at the same time.

Lastly, Manning describes two embedding and re-embedding activities. Enactment of social contexts takes place top-down, that is from organisation fields –> interorganisational networks –> organisations –> projects, whereas the reproduction of social contexts takes place bottowm up.

Investigating the use of the stakeholder notion in project management literature, a meta-analysis (Vos & Achterkamp, in press)

Dienstag, September 30th, 2008

 Investigating the use of the stakeholder notion in project management literature, a meta-analysis (Vos & Achterkamp, in press)

Achterkamp, Marjolein C.; Vos, Janita F.J.: Investigating the use of the stakeholder notion in project management literature, a meta-analysis; in: International Journal of Project Management, Article in Press, Corrected Proof.

Managing the stakeholders is an, if not the most, important part of the project manager’s job. Previously Vos & Achterkamp published articles focussed on the identification of stakeholders, which is a crucial and not so simple task.“Basic, but not trivial“, as one of my Economics professors always used to say.

In this article, however, Vos & Achterkamp reviewed 42 articles in terms of

  • Definition of stakeholders
  • Purpose of stakeholder notion
  • Identification issues
  • Role of stakeholders

Analysing the commonly used definitions of stakeholders the authors identify two key theoretically based definitions – stakeholders could either be persons with an interest in the project, or persons who can or are affected by the project. One or both of these two definitions are used in only 16.6% of articles reviewed, the remaining articles mainly deal with this topic without defining the object stakeholder at all.

Why look at stakeholders? The purpose of the stakeholder notion is first and foremost to sense-making and defining success. Further purposes of stakeholder management are risk management, use as source of information, and using stakeholders as a management instrument.

The review of the identification issue, a topic close to the authors, shows that most articles only recognise the issue, or explain it partly. Only a minority of 4 articles (out of 42) recognises and explains the issue.

Lastly Vos & Achterkamp review the roles of stakeholders. For reasons of not only simplifying complexity down to a managable level, but also for overcoming issues of stakeholder identification stakeholders the authors suggest an explicit, structured, role-based identificiation procedure. Whilst they acknowledge that stakeholder salience model, as discussed in this earlier post, is the leading theoretical model of identifying stakeholder; the authors argue that the role-based stakeholder classification model for innovative projects is more promising.

„Considering stakeholders in terms of roles of involvement in the context of projects then raises the question of whether there is anything new. Indeed, thinking in terms of roles is not new in project management. Could project roles perhaps be used for stakeholder identification?“ (p. 4)

Vos & Achterkamp review three articles in detail, which use a role-based stakeholder classification model. These three articles define the following roles

  • Callan et al. (2008)
    • Controller
    • Executer
    • Constraining advisor
    • Discretionary advisor
  • Turner (2008)
    • Manager
    • Steward
    • Owner
    • User
    • Sponsor
    • Broker
    • Resources
  • Vos & Achterkamp (2006)
    • Client
    • Decision maker
    • Designer
    • Passively involved

Nine Schools of Project Management (Bredillet, 2007-2008)

Dienstag, August 12th, 2008

 9 Schools of Project Management

In his series of editorials for the Journal of Project Management Bredillet outlines 9 different schools of project management thinking and when they were created. He also identifies research questions for each of them.

  1. Optimisation School (1950)
    Earned Value Management
  2. Modelling School (1960)
    Integrating hard-soft systems
  3. Governance School (1970)
    PMOs, portfolio management, project selection, regulatory compliance
  4. Behaviour School (1975)
    Virtual teams, HR management in project-oriented companies
  5. Success School (1985)
    Refinement of success criteria, stakeholder satisfaction, causes of failure
  6. Decision School (1990)
    Anchoring estimates, organisation strategy & impact on portfolio, portfolio management decisions
  7. Process School (1980)
    Project categorisation, refinement of processes, project audits & reviews, maturity models
  8. Contingency School (1995)
    Clarify differences in approaches, methods of adaptation, link to success criteria
  9. Marketing School (2000)
    Strategy/tactics for business success, linking projects and strategy, align senior level thinking to projects, CRM and PR on projects

Judgment under Uncertainty – Heuristics and Biases (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974)

Dienstag, August 12th, 2008

Judgment Heuristics and Biases

Tversky, Amos; Kahneman, Daniel: Judgment under Uncertainty – Heuristics and Biases; in: Science, Vol. 185 (1974), No. 4157, pp. 1124 – 1131.
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4157.1124

Biases have evolved to lower our energy needed to make decisions, so they do have quite a natural place in our ape-sized world. Last time I checked wikipedia lists 100 biases, heuristics, and memory errors. Kahneman & Tversky published the first theorization in this article [also published as a part of this book].

Starting with the now classical example of the Gambler’s fallacy the authors explore three judgment heuristics commonly found in science and economic decision making (1) Adjustment & Anchoring, (2) Representativeness, and (3) Availability.

Anchoring & Adjustment (Decisions often rely on a single piece of information) – Kahneman & Tversky show that persons usually guess probabilities more accurately if they have been presented with an anchor. They show that students do overestimate their success when asked at the beginning of a term. This overestimation is slightly corrected if they were given or asked for an anchor, such as ‚what do you think was the grade distribution of your fellow students last term?‘.

Representativeness (Commonality is assumed for similar events or objects) – The authors describe several misconceptions of chance and insensitivities to prior probabilities, sample sizes, and predictability. They also describe the illusion of validity, but the the misconception of regression is the most important of these biases. It is also the reason why we have control groups in double-blind experimental studies.
Regression towards the mean means that in any given random process every sub-group will produce the same distribution [give or take effects of the sample size]. For example, assume that a group has been split into quartiles according to the results after the first run of the random process. The repetition of this process will automatically produce the same distribution in each sub-group, thus the bottom quartile will be better and the top quartile will perform much worse without any effect of a stimuli which has been applied.

Availability (Expected probabilities influenced by the ease of brining examples to mind) – In their classical example for the retrievability bias subjects have been asked to estimate the proportion of words in the English language that start with R or K and the proportion of words that have R or K as a third letter. This bias leads people to underestimate the number of words with R or K as a third letter.

Directions for future research in project management: The main findings of a UK government-funded research network (Winter et al. 2006)

Montag, August 11th, 2008

Directions of future research in project management

Winter, Mark; Smith, Charles; Morris, Peter; Cicmil, Svetlana: Directions for future research in project management – The main findings of a UK government-funded research network; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 24 (2006), No. 8, pp. 638-649. 

To start with Winter et al. give a short overview of the research history. In their conceptualisation of project management’s history research started as a hard systems model forked afterwards into two different foci (1) execution and (2) organisational design. The organisational design stream developed into research of ad hoc & temporary organisations. This stream forked into 4 different streams a) subsequently focussed on major projects and lately on a management of project’s framework, b) analysed strategic decisions, c) viewed projects as information processing entities, and d) researched critical management.

Winter et al. outline 3 distinctive directions for future research – Theory ABOUT, FOR, and IN practice. Theory about practice should focus on complexity theory. The theory for practice on social processes, value creation, and a broad concept of project management. The theory in practice should create practitioners who are reflective practitioners and not merely trained technicians.

A memetic paradigm of project management (Whitty, 2005)

Montag, August 11th, 2008

Memetic approach to project management

Whitty, Stephen Jonathan: A memetic paradigm of project management; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 23 (2005), No. 8, pp. 575-583.

I am quite fascinated by Richard Dawkin’s ideas and among them the Meme (cultural analogy to Darwin’s genes) is quite an old and a bit controversial one. When I studied Knowledge Management at university a meme was an abstract unit of information which we tried to store meaningfully in some über-cool XML data bases and after a while we might have been able to even find it again, then we retrieved it, and gave it to someone knowledge-worker to think about and to put it in use thus creating knowledge. According to Memetics this process is equivalent to sex in the animal kingdom.

Whitty reflects on project management as a memeplex. He illustrates what that means for  project management in 6 areas (1) project management, (2) bodies of knowledge, (3) project managers/teams, (4) the profession, (5) knowledge creation, and (6) project organisation. In a memetic sense project management is absolutely self-serving and evolves for its own good without serving a higher purpose.
Secondly the project management meme (aka PMBOK) evolves to increase the maximum number of projects and is not a conscious expert design, thus it favours fuzzy definitions and positivist ideas over hard, falsifiable facts.
Thirdly project managers are just a meme created by memes of project management [sounds esoteric but holds some truth, it’s a little like Russell’s chicken] and not some consciously crafted tactics to implement a strategy.
Fourthly the profession of project management is not consciously constructed and skilfully designed but evolved mainly to spread project management memes.
Fifthly knowledge is not created by a social systems (think academia and practitioners) but knowledge processes = memes construct social systems which in turn spread new project management memes.
Lastly project organisations are not human constructs but creations to replicate behaviours of project management memes. [I wrote earlier about Structuration and that according to to this theory: „Repetitions of acts of individual agents reproduce the structure“ – I guess it is time for Occam’s razor.]

Whitty concludes with two recommendations for research practice (1) benchmark ideas and develop best practices, thus spreading project management memes more quickly, and (2) unify the bodies of knowledge letting only the fittest memes survive.

On the broadening scope of the research on projects: a review and a model for analysis (Söderlund, 2004)

Donnerstag, Juli 17th, 2008

Broadening research of PM

Söderlund, Jonas: On the broadening scope of the research on projects: a review and a model for analysis; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 22 (2004), No. 8, pp. 655-667.

Söderlund reviews the research literature on project management. He then illustrates briefly the different developments within this profession. Finally he suggests four different directions on how to broaden the scope of project management research to make it more useful than just adding another project success factor to it.

  • Broaden research to include wider organisational issues (e.g., processes, politics)
  • Broaden research to include inter-organisation aspects and authority system issues (e.g., contracting, cooperation)
  • Broaden the level of analysis (e.g., organisational issues, company-wide issues)
  • Broaden research to include industry-wide matters (e.g., cooperation between firms, network of professionals)

Building theories of project management: past research, questions for the future (Söderlund, 2004)

Donnerstag, Juli 17th, 2008

Theories of Project Managment

Söderlund, Jonas: Building theories of project management – past research, questions for the future; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 22 (2004), No. 3, pp. 183-191.

Söderlund reviews the ideas around building a theory of project management. He identifies the roots of project management research in the scheduling technique school of Gannt, CPM, and PERT. He argues that these are basically applications of engineering science and optimization theory. Furthermore he identifies two different philosophies right from the beginning. The first one is Gaddis with the notion of a project as an organizational unit devoted to attain a single goal. The second philosophy is Miles et al. who see a project as an organisational form.

Subsequently he identifies three streams of theory building. (1) Universal theory building which focuses on the temporariness of the project as an organisational form and action researc. (2) Normative (Positivist) tradition which is concerned to generate best practices and generic factors of project success, which results in a multitude of textbooks, check lists, and literature on how to optimize the project’s processes. (3) Contingency theory approaches which value the context of projects. These efforts lead to studies into categories of projects and industry specifics of project management.

Söderlund concludes with a set of questions for future research

  • Why do projects exist?
  • Why do they differ?
  • How do project organisations behave?
  • What is the function of the value-add of a project unit?
  • What defines success?

Toward a typological theory of project management (Shenhar & Dvir, 1996)

Donnerstag, Juli 17th, 2008

Typological Theory of PM

Shenhar, Aaron J.; Dvir, Dov: Toward a typological theory of project management; in: Research Policy, Vol. 25 (1996), No. 4, pp. 607-632.

Basing their text on the metaphor of incremental vs. radical innovations Shenhar & Dvir develop a typological framework for projects. In their model the two factors System Scope (assembly, system, array) and Technological Uncertainty (low, medium, high, and super high tech) distinguish projects. Furthermore the authors give some example and characterise each of the 12 types of projects.

The changing paradigms of project management (Pollack, 2007)

Dienstag, Juli 15th, 2008

Changing Paradigm

Pollack, Julien: The changing paradigms of project management; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 25 (2007), No. 3., pp. 266-247.

This article is closely related to the 2006 article by Atkinson et al., which are all based on the hard-soft-framework first published in

Crawford, Lynn; Pollack, Julien: Hard and soft projects – a framework for analysis, in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 22 (2004), No. 8, pp. 645-653.

In this article Pollack analyses project management literature in order to identify paradigms associated with project management research. He uses the concept of the paradigm as defined by Kuhn in 1962 as a „commonly shared set of assumptions, values and concepts within a community, which constitutes a way of viewing reality. Individuals within the community may embody these assumptions in different ways, and so paradigm is used in his context to refer to a general tendency for thought“ (Pollack 2007, p. 266).

Pollack then describes the hard and soft paradigm he helped establishing with research on best practice organisational change projects. The hard paradigm is characterised by

  • Predefined project goals
  • Positivist and Realist philosophies
  • Emphasis on control
  • Quantitative measures
  • Reductionist techniques
  • Emphasis on structure
  • No need for participation
  • Project Manager as Expert

Whereas the soft paradigm is characterised by

  • Ill-defined and ambiguous goals
  • Qualitative measures
  • Emphasis on learning
  • Need for participation
  • Interpretivist philosophies
  • Emphasis on social processes
  • Project Manager as Facilitator

Furthermore Pollack argues that most of the current research is deeply rooted in the hard paradigm, although the literature on the soft paradigm is growing significantly. He then argues that a paradigmatic expansion could provide increased opportunity for practitioners and researchers. Since choosing a paradigm automatically defines certain assumptions for the research and thus limiting it. Nevertheless he points out that neither one perspective is appropriate to all situations.

Defining uncertainty in projects – a new perspective (Perminova, 2008)

Dienstag, Juli 15th, 2008


Perminova, Olga; Gustafsson, Magnus; Wikström, Kim: Defining uncertainty in projects – a new perspective; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 26 (2008), No. 1, pp. 73-79.

Perminova et al. argue that traditional project risk management focuses on risk and that the notion of uncertainties is generealy overlooked. In their literature review the authors show the difference between risk and uncertainties in 6 selected areas of research – Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Organisational Theory, Dictionary, Project Management. Finally they establish a working definition for project managers: „[uncertainty occurs] when existing factors/assumptions are questioned and therefore the basis for calculating risks is questionable“. Perminova et al. argue that essential for managing uncertainty are reflective learning and sense-making, since they enable  flexibility and rapidness in decision-making especially since they do not restrict the choice of alternative actions in response to the situation.

Project management and business development: integrating strategy, structure, processes and projects (Van Der Merwe, 2002)

Montag, Juli 14th, 2008

Business development

Van Der Merwe, A. P.: Project management and business development: integrating strategy, structure, processes and projects; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 20 (2002), No. 5, pp. 401-411.

Van Der Merwe outlines organisational theories and configurations. Furthermore he applies systems and process theory to explain the relationship between strategy, structure, processes, and projects. The author shows that projects in business development are used to transform a vision into results by bringing together diverse teams. He concludes with this [delightful] paragraph:

„This aspect [projects bringing together diverse people] revealed project management as the point of departure for management theory, where management manages the behavioural processes of people who manage the continuous incremental improvement of business procedures in the organisation, through projects that guide the business process to address the change in the strategic direction of the organisation. If business is to develop then the successful outcome of any change in the organisation can only be achieved when business processes and human behavioural processes converge in the person of the project manager.“ (Van Der Merwe, 2002, p. 411)


Beyond the Gantt chart: Project management moving on (Maylor, 2001)

Montag, Juli 14th, 2008

 beyond the gannt chart

Maylor, Harvey: Beyond the Gantt chart – Project management moving on; in: European Managment Journal, Vol. 19 (2001), No. 1, pp. 92-100.

Maylor argues that project management practice and research [which he analyses by it’s standard texts and bodies of knowledge] are stuck in a large-scale engineering mind set. He uses the advances in operations to show that knowledge in the project management realm is lacking behind. Maylor covers several key areas and challenges typical project management assumptions:

  • Project definition – projects are not a one-off effort; project managers need to be viewed as integrators of theories and knowledge and not as managers of plans
  • Manufacturing vs. Service – project management has no answer on the intangibility of service projects, thus expectation management and customer orientation are under represented; a SERVQUAL like paradigm change is needed
  • Project Management – the predominant focus on management activities and planning systems dilutes the importance of execution
  • Planning Process – Planning is somehow synonymous with network diagrams, freezes and baselines; Maylor encourages to make planning more visible, adopting lean tools from operations such as whiteboards and post-its
  • Conformance vs. Performance – Project management currently focuses on the conformance with budget, scope, and cost baselines; as operations did with TQM project should focus on delivering as soon as possible and as cheap as possible the maximal customer delight
  • Role of Strategy – Maylor cites Deming’s famous „defects are caused by the system“, to outline how argues that projects should not only be reactions to a company’s strategy but they need to contribute to and form part of the organisation’s strategy

Frames and inscriptions: tracing a way to understand IT-dependent change projects (Linderoth & Pellegrino, 2005)

Montag, Juli 14th, 2008


Linderoth, Henrik C.; Pellegrino, Giuseppina: Frames and inscriptions – tracing a way to understand IT-dependent change projects; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 23 (2005), No. 5, pp. 415-420.

Linderoth & Pellegrino analyse sense-making in organizational transitions which are driven by IT projects. Sense-making of a new technology, they argue, happens on an individual level at the user and can not be dictated by some higher authority. The authors use two approaches to analyse how individuals make sense of new technology and how the sense shifts over time. The Actor-Network-Theory and Theory of Social Construction of Technology.

Actor-network theory (ANT) explains processes by which ideas are accepted, tools and methods adopted. There are two major methodologies on how to explore these network processes. One is following the actor (mostly by interviews, observation) and the other one is to analyse inscriptions. Inscriptions are artefacts of knowledge created by the actors. Linderoth & Pellegrino follow this second approach and they define the inscription as „desired program of action or pattern of use that someone inscribes into a medium as artefact.“ They find, that for IT most users are inflexible in how to use the technology, but users are highly flexible when and in which situation to use the technology.

Social Construction of Technology explains the counter party in this process – the user. Linderoth & Pellegrino define Technological frames as „outcome of organisation’s member interaction and sense-making of technology“. Furthermore they introduce the notion of dynamic shifts of these frames over time. [Thus adopting a more post-structuralist view on Social Constructivism].
Furthermore they use Social Construction of Technology to outline the 3 key points users engage in sense-making about; (1) the nature of the technology, (2) the strategy of the technology, and (3) the use of the technology. All three frames need a reasonable inter-connection. Furthermore Linderoth & Pellegrino argue that discrepancies between frames of different user groups lead to project failures.

Looking at the dynamics of frames the authors identified one dominating element in each project life stage.

  • Project start-up: Nature, Strategy, Use
  • Project in action: Nature, Strategy, Use
  • Project re-birth: Nature, Strategy, Use

Moreover Linderoth & Pellegrino show that a following the importance of context in building frames. [Thus following the ideas of the learning theory of Constructivism] They show that the sense-making processes to create the frames shift from a global discourse to a local discourse; and thus from a global context to a local context.

Perspectives on Project Management (Kolltveit et al. 2007)

Freitag, Juli 11th, 2008

Perspectives on PM

Kolltveit, Bjørn Johs.; Karlsen, Jan Terje; Grønhaug, Kjell: Perspectives on Project Management; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 25 (2007), No. 1, pp. 3-9.

Kolltveit et al. analyse the perspective of research articles and books published between 1983-2004 in the International Journal of Project Management. In total they mark 2977 observations of one of their 6 identified perspectives (task, leadership, business, transaction, systems, stakeholder). They characterize the average book on project management to contain 21% of knowledge on tasks, 51% on leadership, 10% on business, 8% on transactions, 5% on stakeholders, and 5% on systems.

Furthermore Kolltveit et al. describe theories of each perspective and key issues/research topics for each perspective. Plus they show the distribution over time, which shows a slightly decreasing trend for the task and systems perspective, whereas business and leadership perspectives are growing.

Framing of project critical success factors by a systems model (Fortune & White 2006)

Mittwoch, Juli 9th, 2008

IT CSF Research and systems framing

Fortune, Joyce; White, Diana: Framing of project critical success factors by a systems model, in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 24 (2006), No. 1, pp. 53-65.

How much overfitting does a model need? Fortune & White reviewed 63 studies on critical success factors of IT projects. And they identified 27 of them, the picture shows the success factors and in brackets how many publications were finding proof for it.
The Top-5 are: (1) Senior management support, (2) Clear and realistic objectives, (3) Strong/detailed project plan kept updated, (4) Good communication/feedback, and (5) user/client involvement.
Furthermore Fortune & White identify the 9 sub-systems typically found on an IT project and they sort the success factors accordingly. Nevertheless, DeMarco’s question (posted earlier in this blog) pops back into my mind: If only one thing succeeds – what should it be?