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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2019

Harvey Maylor and Virpi Turkulainen

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the past 25 years of the research on projectification, focusing especially on organisational aspects of projectification, as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the past 25 years of the research on projectification, focusing especially on organisational aspects of projectification, as well as to discuss recent developments and potential future research directions.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a discussion paper, which draws on previously published research and data.

Findings

The first section identifies contexts in which projectification has taken place (projectification of) and the organisational process by which this has taken place (projectification through). Using an illustrative example based on publicly available data, the second section shows an extension of the organisational phenomenon, referred to as advanced organisational projectification. The paper concludes with a synthesised framework of organisational projectification.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a personal reflection and commentary and is focused on the conceptualisation of the term rather than an all-encompassing study of projectification. Based on the discussion, the paper presents a synthesised view of organisational projectification as well as directions for future research to advance the understanding of projectification.

Practical implications

The study has implications for policy-makers in the design of the process of ongoing projectification and provides illustrations and a warning concerning the assumptions that are made as an organisation advances in its projectification.

Originality/value

This paper provides an elaboration of one of the focal concepts of project studies, extending some of the key elements of project management research.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Harvey Maylor and Neil Turner

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of complexity and its management from an OM perspective, building on and extending the systematic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of complexity and its management from an OM perspective, building on and extending the systematic literature review published in this journal in 2011, and provide a foundation for exploring the interactions between complexities and responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a subjective view of complexity, focusing on the “lived experience” of managers. It takes an updated systematic literature review, and demonstrates the comprehensiveness of a framework to classify complexities of projects. It reports the findings from 43 workshops with over 1,100 managers.

Findings

First, the complexity framework is effective in aiding understanding. Second, and somewhat unexpectedly, managers were able to identify strategies to reduce the majority of complexities that they faced. Third, the workshops identified a typology of responses to residual complexities.

Research limitations/implications

The framework has demonstrated its utility, and a gap in understanding emergent complexities is identified. The framework further presents the opportunity to explore the recursive nature of complexity and response.

Practical implications

This paper provides a framework that is both comprehensive and comprehensible. The authors demonstrate that complexities can be reduced and provide a means to assess responses to residual complexities, including potentially matching managers to projects.

Originality/value

This work extends the previous systematic review combined with extensive empirical data to generate findings that are having impact in practice, and have the potential to strengthen a relatively neglected area within OM. A research agenda is suggested to support this.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2018

Matthias Holweg and Harvey Maylor

The purpose of this paper is to understand the context of major projects and their management from an OM perspective; the authors provide a foundation for exploring how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the context of major projects and their management from an OM perspective; the authors provide a foundation for exploring how the body of work on lean production (the “old” theory) can contribute to the development of major projects (the “new” context). In doing so, it extends the prevailing economic approach to major projects (best described as “predict and provide”) and posits the development of an alternative approach based on extending the lean production logic to this new context (referred to as “predict and prevent”).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper investigates the scope for adopting lean practices in context of major project. To this effect the authors review the current state of both lean thinking and major project management, and use “Universal Credit” as an exploratory case study to illustrate and verify the arguments in practice.

Findings

Two main findings are proposed: first, the authors demonstrate the inherent performance challenge of major projects in OM terms, which the authors argue presents significant scope for the application of OM concepts to improve major project performance. Second, using lean thinking as framing, the authors identify three distinct process levels and common wastes in major projects, and identify five principles how lean could improve the delivery of major projects.

Research limitations/implications

Major projects present an untapped area for OM research; based on the exploratory case the authors propose ways how OM concepts can be applied to this new context. Further research will be needed to validate and generalise.

Practical implications

Major projects, including organisational transformations, IT-enabled change, major events and large infrastructure projects, constitute a large proportion of economic activity. Despite their prominence, however, they are also commonly associated with low success rates. This paper provides one route for exploring how a successful set of principles could be applied to improving their performance.

Originality/value

This work translates a popular set of ideas from OM to strengthening a relatively neglected context within OM. An agenda for further research is suggested to support the development of this application.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Joana Geraldi, Harvey Maylor and Terry Williams

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to operations management (OM) practice contingency research by describing the complexity of projects. Complexity is recognised…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to operations management (OM) practice contingency research by describing the complexity of projects. Complexity is recognised as a key independent (contingent) variable that impacts on many subsequent decisions in the practice of managing projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a systematic review of relevant literature and synthesises an integrated framework for assessing the complexities of managing projects.

Findings

This framework comprises five dimensions of complexity – structural, uncertainty, dynamics, pace and socio‐political complexity. These five dimensions present individuals and organisations with choices about how they respond to each type of complexity, in terms of business case, strategic choice, process choice, managerial capacity and competencies.

Originality/value

The contribution of this paper is to provide a clarification to the epistemology of complexity, to demonstrate complexity as a lived experience for project managers, and offer a common language for both practitioners and future empirical studies considering the individual or organisational response to project complexities. The work also demonstrates an application of systematic review in OM research.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 31 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1998

Harvey Maylor and Ray Gosling

Many organisations have undergone change to make processes run concurrently in the design and redesign of new products, seeking improvement of their competitive position…

Abstract

Many organisations have undergone change to make processes run concurrently in the design and redesign of new products, seeking improvement of their competitive position. Though there are many prescriptions available to the practitioner, few have been grounded in “what has worked best” across a range of industries. There has also been relatively little discussion of the downside to concurrency. This paper reports a study which shows that success is most closely associated with the level of usage of certain tools and techniques, all of which are within the power of the new product development manager to use. In doing so, it is shown that this gives far better chances of success than high levels of usage of technology. This has significant implications for firms’ investment policies for the future. The downside element also needs managing and is discussed, along with the highlighted importance of both project management and training.

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 March 2013

Neil Turner, Harvey Maylor and Juani Swart

The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a doctoral thesis aimed at identifying how project managers orchestrate ambidexterity (the achievement of both…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a doctoral thesis aimed at identifying how project managers orchestrate ambidexterity (the achievement of both exploitation of existing knowledge and exploration of new knowledge) at the level of the project.

Design/methodology/approach

The research reported on here initially involved a systematic literature review of the theoretical and empirical work on ambidexterity. This was followed by a two‐stage empirical investigation. The first stage involved a set of interviews with project managers in a global IT‐services firm to identify the nature of ambidexterity in their work using the lens of intellectual capital. The second stage comprised eight case studies of projects to determine the practices by which project‐level ambidexterity could be achieved.

Findings

The research showed that at the working level, project ambidexterity is a more complex concept than the existing high‐level theorisations would suggest. The key findings of the research reported on here were that the resources used to enable ambidexterity (human, social and project capital) were interwoven with one another and also with the processes of exploitation and exploration. Two configurations of ambidexterity (“distributed” and “point”) were identified, together with five managerial practices that underpin the attainment of project‐level ambidexterity. These were investigated using “parallel‐coding” of the data to gain greater insight.

Practical implications

This identifies the “how” of ambidexterity in project environments, and offers managers a new way of conceptualising their work in terms of exploitation and exploration in their day‐to‐day activities.

Originality/value

Previous empirical studies of ambidexterity have been focused mostly at the organisational level, using primarily quantitative techniques. This qualitative study has revealed the nature of ambidexterity in complex, working project environments.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Harvey Maylor

Presents an analysis of the operationalization of concurrent new product development in a sample of UK manufacturing firms. Highlights the background to the change, the…

Abstract

Presents an analysis of the operationalization of concurrent new product development in a sample of UK manufacturing firms. Highlights the background to the change, the main organizational drivers for change and the associated tools and techniques, along with the benefits and adverse effects. Closer meeting customer needs and reduced time to market are key benefits, but the requirements for organizational change are causing significant adverse effects. Explores those factors associated with the achievement of benefits. Shows that the intensity of use of tools and techniques (though crucially not CAD/CAM) is the group of factors most closely associated with success.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 17 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Content available
Article
Publication date: 29 March 2013

Derek H.T. Walker

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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