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Project management canvas: a systems thinking framework to address project complexity

Gianluca Elia (Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Alessandro Margherita (Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Giustina Secundo (Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 16 September 2020

Issue publication date: 20 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Factors such as stakeholder requirements, emergence of exponential technologies, global business operations and pressures for sustainability increase the complexity of modern projects. This article aims to contribute by developing a systems view of project elements and relations among the same.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on a design science process and uses business management, project management and the system dynamics literature to support the construction of a conceptual framework, which is preliminary validated using practitioner feedback.

Findings

The project management model includes: (a) a systems view of a project in terms of 5 subsystems, 9 components and 27 dimensions; (b) a flow diagram showing 11 key relations among project attributes and (c) a discussion of ten system archetypes which can be identified in the management of a project.

Research limitations/implications

Whereas the application of systems thinking in project management has been mostly addressed to build system dynamics tools, this article advances the discussion by providing a framework useful to support theory development and contextual knowledge construction in project management activities.

Practical implications

The article provides (project) managers with an articulated project management model and insights to address the complexity of modern project activities.

Originality/value

The main value of the research stays in the integrative nature of the presented framework, along with its twofold focus on components and flows (dynamic view).

Keywords

Citation

Elia, G., Margherita, A. and Secundo, G. (2021), "Project management canvas: a systems thinking framework to address project complexity", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 809-835. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-04-2020-0128

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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