The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate an effective project management practice focusing on planning and control. By doing so, it contributes to the debate on rethinking traditional project management practices and accentuates the need for adjustments based on the project context.
This paper extends the project management theory by proposing a lean project planning (LPP) and control framework, developed and tested in collaboration with ten engineer-to-order (ETO) companies. By following a design science research approach, elements from lean thinking and current project planning and control practices are combined into a maturity model (MM).
ETO project characteristics are identified, and their implications for planning and control are discussed. Nine enablers that transform current project planning and control approaches into a lean approach are defined, allowing the analysis of the underlying complexity of planning and controlling ETO projects and thus facilitating the determination of the actions required to improve project performance.
Once fully embedded in an organization, the presented MM can provide a safe framework for self-criticism and can be used to conduct self-assessments without the need for an external facilitator. Thus, this paper is of particular interest to practicing project managers who aim to implement LPP and control.
To the authors’ best knowledge, this paper is the first to empirically examine the journey toward LPP and control from a MM perspective. This research attempts to describe the enablers of LPP and control.
This study is part of an ongoing research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The research project is a collaboration between two research institutions and several industry partners, whose main goals are to understand and improve ETO project planning and control practices. The authors express their appreciation to the case companies that participated in the development of the MM. Without their contributions, this research project would never have materialized.
Jünge, G., Alfnes, E., Kjersem, K. and Andersen, B. (2019), "Lean project planning and control: empirical investigation of ETO projects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 1120-1145. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-08-2018-0170Download as .RIS
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