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Team management for fast projects: an empirical study of process industries

Christina Scott‐Young (Samuel and Irene Black School of Business, Pennsylvania State University, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA)
Danny Samson (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 22 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to set out to identify key team factors associated with the fast implementation of capital projects. Although scholars theorise that project success depends as much on the effective management of project personnel as on technical management, the project literature is virtually silent on which team practices are pivotal.


Using a model‐based quantitative research design, the impact of team management variables on the speed of two different phases of capital project implementation were examined: project execution and project construction. Multi‐method data collection included 252 individual surveys, archival documents, and whole team interviews conducted at the closeout of 56 capital projects implemented in four continents by 15 Fortune 500 companies in the process industries.


Empirical analysis revealed that only some of the variables predicted from other literatures (project manager – PM continuity, cross‐functional team integration, and PM incentives) were significantly linked to fast schedule outcomes. Some key drivers differed according to temporal phase.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of this study included its cross‐sectional design, modest sample size and sampling frame, but the findings clearly demonstrate the value of further research into key team factors for project success.

Practical implications

The results suggest that strategic management of project personnel can drive project speed. Phase‐linked key team practices are identified for improving time performance in capital projects.


This study breaks new ground by exploring whether key team practices are generic and phase‐specific, and by identifying specific team drivers of speed for two capital project phases using objective outcome measures.



Scott‐Young, C. and Samson, D. (2009), "Team management for fast projects: an empirical study of process industries", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 612-635.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited