About the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 4 April 2008

Citation

Walker, D.H.T. (2008), "About the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijmpb.2008.35301baa.001

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


About the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Volume 1, Issue 2.

About the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

This issue is the second of the first volume of The International Journal of Managing Projects in Business (IJMPiB). As stated in editorial of the first issue, the aim and vision for the journal is to be an effective vehicle for encouraging PM knowledge generation and its development and refinement. This largely depends on work undertaken through the collaboration of academics and practitioners who reflect upon practice as it currently appears to be evolving and offer insights and suggestions on how PM practice may be improved. It encourages PM theorists and practitioners to effectively stand back and reflect and critique how PM is evolving by reflecting in action as well as reflecting on action to make sense of the interplay between theory and observation that generates deeper understanding of the “why” and “how” of improved practice. Such papers help us to expand what Cohen and Levinthal (1990) term our absorptive capacity the ability to recognise the value of new external information, to assimilate it and then use it for productive ends.

The issue truly reflects the term “International” in the journal's title. Authors contributing papers in this issue are based in the UK, Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, Egypt, Australia, Canada, and the USA. This second issue of the IJMPiB has a set of papers that consolidates its ethos. We have papers that explore and extend issues first offered in issue 1 and we have some case study papers that help to document and analyse PM current practice. This process will provide valuable resources to future authors (perhaps in Volume 10 or even 20) who may be writing papers indicating how the PM profession will have progressed over the intervening years. Perhaps, they may even cite the papers in this issue.

We should not lose sight of the fact that authors of published papers are, in part, historians. Case study examples presented in this issue, and those that will appear in future issues, provide a baseline or trajectory path that will help us assess the extent of change both in ideas and practice. Quirky conceptual papers (that at first reading may seem irrelevant) are of special interest because today's unusual perspective may become future orthodoxy. Case studies of innovative practice that are presented here may be regarded in the future as “traditional” it will be interesting to see how we will be judged by future project managers who are currently, like my grand daughter, in their first year of schooling. Technology, processes, ideas and nomenclature will certainly change so papers that are presented here have an historical context that we should not ignore.

About this issue

The first paper in issue 2 builds upon paper 1 appearing in issue 1, “Collaborative academic/practitioner research in project management theory and models” by Walker et al. (2008a). That paper provided examples of the three models of PM learning and discovery with the prospect that examples would be offered to illustrate how those three models of PM learning are practically delivered. The paper “Collaborative academic/practitioner research in project management examples and applications” by Walker et al. (2008b) provides examples of how collaborative researcher-practitioner networks, capstone courses run at the master degree level, and doctoral research programs have triggered innovative and practical advances in generating PM knowledge. The main aim of their paper is to illustrate examples of collaborative research and to analyse the learning experience of those involved. They provide doctorate examples from eight doctoral dissertations with two taken from North America (one university), two from Australia (two universities) and four from Europe (France and Sweden three universities). The major contribution that this paper makes is that it answers two questions important to the development of the PM profession. First, any “new” profession needs to stake its claim to developing a body of distinctive knowledge and part of that process involves knowledge creation from higher degrees and from academic/practitioner collaborations that challenge the established knowledge base of the profession to extend and deepen it. This paper answers the question “How is PM knowledge being advanced?” The second question that must follow the first is “How can we justify the effort of developing such knowledge?” The answer to this question is primarily about the value proposition of direct stakeholders who are concerned about PM professionalism PM practitioners, PM professional bodies, and academics and universities that provide the infrastructure for knowledge creation. Their framework for presenting the value proposition can be used to illustrate and justify extensive effort and energy being expended in PM knowledge creation activities. We hope to see more papers submitted by academics responsible for, engaged with, developing, and supervising high-level research, and reflective practitioners that can keep readers abreast of trends in education, collaborative research and reflective practice. This paper and its predecessor have hopefully set a thread in discussion on this topic that remains a core value of the IJMPiB.

The second paper “Remembering with the help of personal notes in a project work context” by Koskinen and Aramo-Immonen (2008) was double blind reviewed by the International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) conference review team members. It was originally submitted to the IRNOP 7 conference Projects in Innovation, Innovation in Projects. Brighton, UK, September 19-21, 2007. IRNOP held in (http://centrim.mis.brighton.ac.uk/news/IRNOP.htm). Brighton in September 2007 and subsequently amended with minor revisions. This paper fits in with the learning organisation concerns highlighted in issue 1 and raised in paper 1 of this issue. It raises important aspects of corporate memory that critically affect project decision making because many vital decisions made at planning, execution and review stages of project delivery rely upon how organisations “remember” and how they transfer knowledge. This paper raised a fascinating exchange of views and perspectives at the IRNOP 7 conference in Brighton UK in which it became obvious that far from being a banal or pedestrian subject for a case study and theoretical paper, this opens up a vital debate about how projects can be a vehicle for organisational learning and how corporate knowledge is a critical asset for firms to be sustained to remain in business and prosper. It also links in well with the previous paper in which knowledge creation through reflection on action was a core theme.

The third paper “The beauty and the beast on the creativity/project management encounter” by Rolf Lundin (2008) was also initially double blind reviewed by the IRNOP conference review team members. It was originally submitted to the IRNOP 7 conference Projects in Innovation, Innovation in Projects. Brighton, UK, and then subsequently amended with minor revisions. This paper takes a linked but different perspective of projects being vehicles for business sustainability through organisational learning. It also questions whether PM processes and traditions actually kill off creativity. The paper is centred on research undertaken in the TV industry in general and more recently evolving TV cases such as in Sweden. This case study adds to our knowledge base in a PM sector viewing itself as highly creative. It also introduces readers to the idea of developing TV formats as a project product and contrasts creativity in design or TV shows with creativity in producing them. Considering the ongoing “projectification” and the commonly held views on the needs for creativity in project work, the questions are more than relevant and need to be explored further and beyond mere lip service. Lundin concludes that the PM focus on time performance in TV production can trigger innovative and creative responses to challenging targets because deadlines are good inspirations for creativity when time has to be compressed. Secondly, he argues that developing formats for TV production programs and series requires different PM creativity skills. Finally, he observes that strategic development might be helped by a more strictly formulated PM procedure in order to activate attention to strategic issues in the turbulent industry. This paper adds to the PM literature's stock of work relating to creativity, knowledge generation and project organisational learning.

The fourth paper “A study of out-sourcing versus in-sourcing tasks within a project value chain” by McKenna and Walker (2008) presents an interesting case study that challenges the trend towards outsourcing and introduces the idea of insourcing. With insourcing, firms make the decision to keep tasks, processes and key resources within the firm by contracting with an external entity to work within the organisation as a “member of the team” but subject to agreement on tasks to be undertaken. In PM, the procurement process has being traditionally focussed on outsourcing activities and therefore managing an external supply chain of resource deliverers but this can lead to a number of inefficiencies as well as being less effective. The studied organisation is a large telecommunication firm in North America. The aim of the paper is to illustrate how a new approach to the organisational procurement decision-making process to facilitate competitive advantage was influenced by simplicity rather than simple cost reduction. McKenna and Walker found evidence to suggest that in-sourcing critical tasks or processes are advantageous to the case study organisation as well as to the smaller internal department that they directly impact. This paper builds on ideas that effective project procurement is more about adding value than from simple cost or time considerations. They trace the decision-making approach using process mapping to illustrate the before and after in-sourcing situations and use the composite outsourcing decision framework developed by Fill and Visser (2000), and value mapping framework developed by Kim and Mauborgne (1997) to explain the case study decision making rationale. This paper adds to the PM literature through its case study example testing of tools and approaches for making project procurement choice decisions. This paper provides practical examples of how to focus on projects as means of delivering value this is an important shift in PM thinking.

The fifth paper “Research in applying the financial appraisal profile (FAP) model to an information communication technology project within a professional association” by Lefley (2008) reports on research in applying the financial appraisal profile (FAP) model to an information communication technology project within a professional association and to evaluate the model's effectiveness and acceptability. This is another case study report paper that offers a validated new tool and approach to evaluate capital assets such as information technology projects when deciding on how to judge a business case for approval or within a stage gate process. Important issues regarding, what has been termed, “groupthink” and the influence of a “project champion” on the evaluation of capital projects are also highlighted. The inclusion of what has been termed “the IT score” further enhances the models applicability to information technology projects. The contribution that this paper makes to PM knowledge relating to project procurement and evaluation is that it shows us how we can improve the project selection and sanctioning process that equally applies to program and portfolio decision making. The basic FAP model is made up of three sub-models, the net present value profile, the project risk profile and the strategic index. The FAP process model is dynamic and encourages far greater debate, scrutiny and unearthing of relevant data pertaining to a project proposal or business case evaluation than is traditionally deployed. The tools and approaches were rigorously tested and the details of the research approach will also be of interest to PM researchers.

The sixth paper “The Egyptian mortgage practice” by Hassanein and El-Barkouky (2008) follows in the theme of financial project front-end issues. There is a dearth of literature in this area in general and in particular for that part of the world so this paper makes a valuable contribution. The paper evaluates the current mortgage system in Egypt by comparing it with the US and Malaysian mortgage systems. Arranging finance for residential and commercial projects is an important part of the project management approach in the construction industry sector and so this is highly relevant to this journal. Hassanein and El-Barkouky provide research results that identifies several limitations in the Egyptian mortgage practice including: inefficient procedures of property registration; absence of an efficient mortgage secondary market; relatively high-mortgage lending rates; non-existence of various types of mortgage instruments and lack of credit enhancement tools. The paper presents several recommendations for improving the existing mortgage practice, among which were: realising a proper secondary market and lowering mortgage lending rates. This research has proved to have made an impact as it directed the Egyptian Government's attention to the existence of Cagamas in Malaysia (considered the most successful example of a secondary mortgage facility in a developing country) and accordingly, the first liquidity facility company in Egypt was established in June 2006. Hassanein and El-Barkouky (2008) provide useful conclusions for those who have an interest in project finance vehicles as they are emerging in a developing country. The research reported upon was undertaken and analysed before the subprime mortgage market crash and similar problems experience in the UK so there is need for a future paper to further evaluate any fallout to Egyptian conditions.

This issue also introduces the work of two recently completed and published doctoral theses. The first thesis research report note is by Dr Nogeste (2006). Her thesis revolves around an area of aligning tangible and intangible outputs from projects. This whole topic is gaining more attention by PM practitioners at the front end of a project at the briefing stage, at the procurement stage to better develop monitoring and evaluation performance criteria as well as those interested in stakeholder engagement. This thesis was undertaken as part of the DPM program at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia. Dr Nogeste is a PM practitioner with extensive experience in managing complex projects where stakeholder expectations about intangible outcomes and outputs from projects became increasingly important to her project team. This research was undertaken on live projects using an action learning approach. She has since published several journal papers and a book chapter (Nogeste, 2004; Nogeste and Walker, 2005, 2006; Walker and Nogeste, 2008) and has given numerous conference presentations on her work across the globe from Lisbon, London, Hawaii, to Las Vegas. Her thesis can be accessed from her web site: www.projectexpertise.com.au

The second thesis research report note (Marshall et al., 2008) is based on the PhD of Dr Marshall (2007) from ESC Lille. This work reports on his research based on a quantitative study using inferential statistics aimed at better understanding the actual and potential usage of earned value management (EVM) as applied to external projects under contract. Theories uncovered during the literature review were hypothesized and tested using experiential data collected from 145 EVM practitioners with direct experience on one or more external projects under contract that applied the methodology. Research results suggest that EVM is an effective project management methodology. The principles of EVM were shown to be significant positive predictors of project success on contracted efforts. The principles of EVM have also shown themselves to be a relatively greater positive predictor of project success when using fixed-price versus cost-plus type contracts. Moreover, EVM's WBS utility was shown to positively contribute to the formation of project contracts. The contribution was not significantly different between fixed-price and cost-plus contracted projects, with exceptions in the areas of schedule planning and payment planning. EVM's “S” curve benefited the administration of project contracts. The contribution of the S-curve was not significantly different between fixed-price and cost-plus contracted projects. Furthermore, EVM metrics were shown to also be important contributors to the administration of project contracts. The relative contribution of EVM metrics to projects under fixed-price versus cost-plus contracts was not significantly different, with one exception in the area of evaluating and processing payment requests. These results have important implications for project practitioners, EVM advocates, as well as corporate and governmental policy makers. Marshall et al. (2008) argue that EVM should be considered for all projects not only for its positive contribution to project contract development and administration, but for its contribution to project success as well, regardless of contract type. His thesis can be accessed from: http://elearning.esc-lille.fr/claroline/course/index.php?cid=ISGIPLAN (Select: Documents and Links/PhD Theses/Marshall).

The intention of this journal is to also provide a review of relevant and useful new PM publications that can enhance the PM academic and practitioner's stock of knowledge that can be reflected upon. In this issue, we review two books of relevance to project management professionals. The first is a review by Dr Stephen Simister of the book Making Sense of Project Realities: Theory, Practice and the Pursuit of Performance by Smith (2007), he was a key player in the Rethinking PM group and so this book review will be of interest to many IJMPiB readers. The second book by Arthur Shelley entitled The Organizational Zoo: A Survival Guide to Workplace Behavior, is reviewed by Professor Derek H.T. Walker. This book review will be of particular interest to all PM readers as it is concerned with leadership and stakeholder engagement.

Finally, it has been extremely gratifying to have had so many fine papers submitted for review. There is necessarily a need to reject some papers for a variety of reasons (the ratio currently appears to be around 45 percent for the first two issues) and those accepted need to be prioritised by issue to maintain a coherent theme or thread. It is for this reason that I thank all contributors for their time, effort, energy and courage in exposing their ideas and research findings to the scrutiny of a double-blind peer review.

Derek H.T. Walker

References

Cohen, W.M. and Levinthal, D. (1990), “Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 128-52.

Fill, C. and Visser, E. (2000), “The outsourcing dilemma: a composite approach to the make or buy”, Management Decision, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 43-50.

Hassanein, A.A.G. and El-Barkouky, M.M.G. (2008), “The Egyptian mortgage practice”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

Kim, W.C. and Mauborgne, R. (1997), “Value innovation: the strategic logic of high growth”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 75 No. 1, pp. 102-12.

Koskinen, K.U. and Aramo-Immonen, H. (2008), “Remembering with the help of personal notes in a project work context”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

Lefley, F. (2008), “Research in applying the financial appraisal profile model to an information communication technology project within a professional association”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

Lundin, R.A. (2008), “The beauty and the beast on the creativity/project management encounter”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

McKenna, D. and Walker, D.H.T. (2008), “A study of out-sourcing versus in-sourcing tasks within a project value chain”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

Marshall, R.A. (2007), A Quantitative Study of the Contribution of Earned Value Management to Project Success on External Projects under Contract, Lille Graduate School of Management, Lille.

Marshall, R.A., Ruiz, P. and Bredillet, C.N. (2008), “Earned value management insights using inferential statistics”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.

Nogeste, K. (2004), “Increase the likelihood of project success by using a proven method to identify and define intangible project outcomes”, International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Vol. 4, pp. 915-26.

Nogeste, K. (2006), “Development of a method to improve the definition and alignment of intangible project outcomes with tangible project outputs”, Doctor of Project Management (DPM), Graduate School of Business, RMIT, Melbourne.

Nogeste, K. and Walker, D.H.T. (2005), “Project outcomes and outputs making the intangible tangible”, Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 55-68.

Nogeste, K. and Walker, D.H.T. (2006), “Using knowledge management to revise software-testing processes”, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 6-27.

Smith, C. (2007), Making Sense of Project Realities: Theory, Practice and the Pursuit of Performance, Gower Publishing Ltd, Aldershot.

Walker, D.H.T. and Nogeste, K. (2008), “Performance measures and project procurement”, in Walker, D.H.T. and Rowlinson, S. (Eds), Procurement Systems A Cross Industry Project Management Perspective, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, pp. 177-210.

Walker, D.H.T., Cicmil, S., Thomas, J., Anbari, F.T. and Bredillet, C. (2008a), “Collaborative academic/practitioner research in project management: theory and models”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 1, forthcoming.

Walker, D.H.T., Anbari, F.T., Bredillet, C., Söderlund, J., Cicmil, S. and Thomas, J. (2008b), “Collaborative academic/practitioner research in project management: examples and applications”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 1 No. 2, forthcoming.