Table of contents(20 chapters)
The wide spread application of projects to many areas of society has led us to identify five generic elements that every project will have to address. They are: project management, project task, stakeholders, resources, and project environment. Each element will be further divided into five sub-elements. This five-by-five model will be used to identify the nature of a specific project and to develop appropriate approaches and means. It will also allow a circular planning process that gradually will lead to coherence among the five elements.
To illustrate the broad spectrum of projects that we see in practice, we have identified five types that will be characterized by the five-by-five model.
In view of the complex nature of most projects, the chapter will introduce four complementary perspectives: a technical, a business, an organizational, and a stakeholder perspective. Each perspective will describe key features of a project and is supported by theories, models, and methods. Although the perspectives are complementary, they are strongly interdependent.
The chapter will give an overview of the book.
Before starting to define the project task and plan the project, we suggest to seek a thorough understanding of the nature of the project task. This includes an analysis of uncertainties and complexities. Dimensions of complexity will be presented.
Projects create value. This will be discussed by means of understanding the need and formulating expected benefit. Also, objectives of the end result will be dealt with. Stakeholders’ expectations will define success criteria of the project.
Forming the project implies defining content and scope to be treated.
The chapter will finally discuss issues related to forming a project, e.g., how to deal with the world outside the project, to view forming a project as an organizational learning process, and to be aware of typical behavioral reactions to uncertainty and complexity.
This chapter addresses issues of what should be done and when. Structuring of the project task into a number of activities is key to planning a course of action for a project. It involves combining two dimensions: when (the time) and what (relevant subject areas or work paths). Several examples will illustrate the issue.
The five-by-five model will be used to identify five parallel processes of a project: (1) task-oriented processes concerned with development of a solution, (2) organisational change processes focusing on understanding and accepting the change, (3) application and operational processes concerned with application and use of the project’s results, (4) environmental processes focusing on the interplay between the project and its environment including stakeholders, and (5) management processes dealing with activities in the middle box of the five-by-five model.
A number of models of the project’s course of action will be presented and discussed, e.g., a waterfall model, a parallel stream model based on the four perspectives introduced in Chapter 1, the course of actions as decisions and as a change process. Finally, we shall discuss Agile and Lean project management.
Forming a project organization is, in our opinion, the most essential characteristic of the project-working mode. A project task calls for contribution from several parties, e.g., user representatives with knowledge of the application situation, specialists with professional knowledge and experience, and management that can provide the overall support and position the project strategically. Cooperation across professional areas and organizational units is required.
A project organization should be designed in view of the project task. In this chapter, we present and discuss a basic pattern of a project organization consisting of three generic parts: a decision, a management, and a working part. The specific appointments to these parts will depend on questions and issues related to four aspects: professional contribution, management contribution, anchoring of the project results, and influence (where should stakeholders’ influence and involvement be dealt with).
The chapter discusses adjustment of the project organization as the project comes along. We also discuss organizational issues when there are several independent partners, e.g., joint ventures and partnering.
One thing is to get a project organization in place. Another thing is to bring it alive. This is the subject of this chapter. Most project work is teamwork, in the core teams and work groups, and also in the steering committee, reference groups, and focus groups.
Because projects are temporary, it is a challenge quickly to establish effective cooperation in the groups and teams of the project organization, internal as well as external with surrounding organizations. Five elements of cooperation in the project team will be presented, including collaboration, coordination, communication, coalition, and control. Different work patterns will be discussed, and methods for carrying out project work will be presented, e.g., coping with limited rationality and handling project complexity.
A section will deal with work patterns in the steering committee, and a section will discuss cooperation with interested parties (stakeholders). Also, the maturity of the project organization will be treated.
A final section will discuss learning in the project organization.
The project manager plays a key role in projects. This chapter first presents five dimensions and aspects of the project management task: (1) manage the project task – developing and implement solutions, (2) manage outwards – cooperating with stakeholders, customers, suppliers, etc., (3) manage inwards – leading the project teams, (4) manage resources – allocating competencies, work force, and facilities, and (5) manage activities – planning and controlling the process, quality, activity, time, resources, economy, and documentation.
Then we will discuss personal leadership and project management competencies. The difference between leadership and administration will be dealt with.
A final section will discuss that top management also leads the project.
Our notion of project control is based on the five-by-five model and constitutes a comprehensive control model including control of results, time and work control, resource control, financial control, and contract management.
The task of project control is determined by uncertainty and complexity and calls for improvisation and ingenuity in order to be able to maneuver the project. The notion of forward-oriented follow-up is introduced.
At any point in time, most companies have a myriad of internal development initiatives in progress, dealing with a broad spectrum of different activities with respect to time horizon, functional areas involved, and actors with different roles and interests.
This chapter sets forth to analyse how to manage this myriad of projects. Two ways of bringing several projects into a meaningful context will be presented. In the first way, a plurality of simultaneous development initiatives is organized in portfolios based on their mutual interdependencies. Four approaches to prioritizing projects in a portfolio will be discussed.
In the second way, a development program is formulated in which a strategic effort should be implemented by means of a number of different projects.
The last section will focus on company development under unpredictable and complex conditions, and we will present a framework for Agile company development.
This chapter takes a look at the future of project management. It starts with a historic view of the development of project management in the last five decades including the present. It shows that the role of the project manager has changed from an engineer manager to a business developer and a leader capable of dealing with multi-perspectives.
Projects are positioned in the context of changing organizational forms, including silo and network organizations. This leads to the conclusion that projects will play a key role in the future, especially in change management, business modeling, and value creation.
A section will discuss increased emphasis on learning and knowledge sharing, suggesting focus on the reflective and experimenting project manager, and planning as a social process.
A section will look at project management as a profession and point to the risk that the profession may become too narrow focusing on a well-defined body of knowledge. Current trends suggest that a broader view of projects be adopted including its strategic role and interplay with stakeholders, as has been discussed at length in this book.
We conclude the chapter by proposing a shift of paradigm.
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