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Researching The Value of Project Management | Project Research Institute

Researching The Value of Project Management

 

What? When?

Title: Researching the Value of Project Management
Date From: May 2004
Date To: August 2008

Summary in Brief:

To be Added.

Who? Where?

Lead Researchers

Affiliations at time of study.

Dr Janice Thomas

Affiliation: Athabasca University, Canada

Program Director, MBA in Project Management

Centre for Innovative Management

Athabasca University, AB, Canada

1-403-949-4965

Mark Mullaly

Interthink Consulting , Edmonton. AB, Canada

Affiliation: PhD Candidate: Bond University, Australia.

Researchers

Researcher

Case Location

Role

Mr. Marcos Santos Abreu

Brazil

Case Researcher

Dr. Walid Belassi

UAE

Case Lead

Dr. Christophe Bredillet

n/a

Consultant

Dr. Ping Chen

China

Case Lead, Analysis team

Dr. Svetlana Cicmil

UK/Serbia

Case Lead, Analysis team

Mr. Martin Cohen

United States

Case Researcher

Dr. Terry Cooke-Davies

UK

Pilot Case Lead

Ms. Lisa Danquah

n/a

Analysis Team

Dr. Zoran Djordjevic

Serbia

Case Researcher

Dr. Pernille Eskerod

Denmark

Case Lead, Analysis team

Dr. Merlyn Foo

n/a

Analysis Team

Dr. Stella George

n/a

Research Assistant

Ms. Jane Helm

Australia

Case Researcher

Dr. Mimi Hurt

Canada

Case researcher

Dr. Zhai Li

China

Case Lead, Analysis team

Dr. Thomas Mengel

Canada

Case Lead, Analysis team

Mr. Mark Mullaly

Canada

Project Lead, Case Lead, Pilot Case Lead, Data Manager

Dr. Shi Qian

China

Case Lead

Ms. Eva Riis

Denmark

Case Researcher

Dr. Maria Romanova

Russia

Case Lead

Ms. Kathy Sahadath

Canada

Case Researcher

Dr. Janice Thomas

Canada

Project Principal Investigator,

Case Lead, Analysis team

Dr. Rodney Turner

n/a

Consultant

Ms. Anne Live Vaagaasar

Norway

Case Researcher

Dr. Terry Williams

n/a

Analysis Lead

Dr Sasa Zivanovic

Serbia

Case Researcher

Dr. Edwin Andrews

n/a

PMI Sponsor

Dr. Frank Anbari

United States

Case Researcher

Dr. Erling Andersen

Norway

Case Lead

Dr. Ben Arbaugh

n/a

Withdrawn

Dr. Tim Brady

UK

Pilot Case Lead

Dr. Peter Checkland

n/a

Consultant

Dr. Lynn Crawford

Australia

Case Lead

Dr. Fathi Elloumi

n/a

Case Lead 

Dr. Patrick Fong

Hong Kong

Case Lead - Withdrawn

Dr. Damian Hodgson

n/a

Withdrawn

Dr. Young Hoon Kwak

United States

Withdrawn

Dr. Thomas Lechler

United States

Case Lead, Analysis Team

Dr. Qiang Maoshan

China

Pilot Case Lead

Dr. Harvey Maylor

UK

Case Researcher

Dr. Jonas Soderlund

Sweden

Case Lead

Dr. Khim Teck Yeo

Singapore

Case lead- Withdrawn

Mr Nils Gerdes

Sweden

Case Researcher

Dr. Vaidotas Viliunas

Lithuania

Case Lead

Dr. Mark Winter

n/a

Consultant

Dr. Xue Yan

China

Case Lead

Funding

PMI Research Grant

Athabasca University and all the affiliated institutions of lead researchers.

Why?

Motivation

Project management competes with many other organizational initiatives for investment and although the value of project management to organizations is often discussed and sometimes “proclaimed” there is in reality no clear definition of value let alone clarity of how it can be measured.

Hypothesis 

By studying evidence of what actually brings value to organizations from their own appropriate implementation of project management, the factors that constitute value can be identified and contextualized to provide a meaningful understanding of what the value of project management is.

Theoretical Basis

Prior research on the value of project management has often been limited to a range of ROI approaches; balanced scorecard approaches; and organizational competency approaches.
ROI measures largely ignore the intangible benefits of project management, they have also recognized that in most organizations data do not exist or are unavailable to calculate a realistic return on investment. Balanced scorecard approaches bring intangible value drivers into the calculation however, the intangible factors are time consuming to measure. In addition failure to tie these measures back to corporate strategy because simpler strategic measures are available, limit the effectiveness of this approach.

Practical interest

What is, in reality, implemented in the name of project management and how does it yield value for organisations.

How?

Project Organisation

Phase One - In Search of Value

Phase centred on activities focussing the search for value including: Literature Review; Proposed Conceptual Model; Team Development; Refinement of Conceptual Model; Identification of Data Requirements; Instrument Development; Pilot Project Data Collection; Refinement of Data Collection Instruments; and Additional Researcher Focus

Phase Two - Understanding Value

Phase Two centred on developing the data capture teams, the data to support an understanding of value and analysis of value present in the data. Findings were reported back to the entire team.

 

Methodology

This project is a large internationally distributed mixed methods project.Summary statistics were used to describe the organisations that took part in the research. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the organisational data and the implementation data sets. The PCA was used to reduce the dimensions of the data collected and provide descriptive component(s) that explain most of the variation in the data. A cluster analysis of the organisations based on the PCA components further grouped the results.

 

So What?

Practice Outcomes

Ideas

Not surprisingly the research identified both tangible (cost savings; revenue increased; customer retention; increased customer share; greater market share; reduced write off and rework) and intangible (improved competitiveness; new products/services; greater social good; improved quality of life; more effective human resources; staff retention; improved reputation;improved overall management; improved corporate culture; improved regulatory compliance) benefits of implementing project management in an organization, they also went further to determine what degree value is realized by these benefits and in which situations these benefits are realized.

Techniques

What resoundingly sounds in this research is that each organisational context (influenced by one or more of the following: purpose of project management; maturity of the PM implementation; strategies for employee training and development; influence, authority and power of project managers; and the role of any project support group) puts different demands on project management and consequently the best project management techniques to use are those which meet an organization's needs – this is the concept of FIT. 

The monograph describes specific circumstances where the project management implementation of organizations was witnessed to provide a real benefit to them. What is interesting to note is that the same type of implementation can yield different amounts of benefit from organization to organization. it is not the project management implementation itself which necessarily yields benefits but its FIT with the business needs of the organization.

Implications

The concept of trends in value gained are introduced in this research. This idea indicates that the current situation of perceived value in an organisaton may not necessarily remain the value in the near future.

There are immediate gains to be made in implementing project management - some level of organized work with clear communication about it will always be beneficial. This is an every day type of benefit that soon becomes part of organizational culture and no longer considered project management, it becomes just how we do it.

Just because an organization is currently realizing value there it is not guaranteed that this approach will continue to yield value, as the organization grows and changes then so too does project management if it is to remain of value.

Research Outcomes

Ideas

Analysis shows the relationship between organisational context and implementation, i.e., what organisations actually do in the name of project management.  Value was observed in the variety of different organisations as satisfaction and alignment.

ROI as a measure in its own right (and related measures) are of little interest to the practice community.

The relationship between value and implementation does not exist outside of organisational context, including organisational strategy.

 

Implications

 

From a research practice view: the volume of data yielded from this study is a large and valuable ongoing research resource; and the size of the research collaboration for this project is proof that large scale collaborative research in project management is valuable to PM research.

 

Conclusions

All organisations can gain from implementing basic project management processes that help bring about clear communication and efficient action. The type of implementation structure should be tailoured to meet the organisational context. As organisational capability changes project management will also need to change in order to continue to yield value for the organisation. Long term value creation is more strategic than for control and efficiency use alone.

Only the tip of the research findings held in this study's data have been uncovered to date.

 

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