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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2019

Teemu Mikael Lappi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Jaakko Kujala

This paper aims to increase the current understanding of the connection between operational level information and communication technology (ICT) projects and national…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to increase the current understanding of the connection between operational level information and communication technology (ICT) projects and national level digital transformation by researching how project governance structures and practices are applied in an e-government context.

Design/methodology/approach

An elaborative qualitative study through public documentary analysis and empirical multi-case research on Finnish central government is used.

Findings

The study constructs a multi-level governance structure with three main functions and applies this in an empirical setting. The results also describe how different governance practices and processes, focusing on project portfolio management, are applied vertically across different organizational levels to connect the ICT projects with the national digitalization strategy.

Originality/value

This study integrates project governance and portfolio management knowledge into public sector digitalization, thus contributing to project management, e-government and ICT research streams by improving the current understanding on the governance of ICT projects as part of a larger-scale digitalization. This study also highlights perceived gaps between current governance practices and provides implications to managers and practitioners working in the field to address these gaps.

Details

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6166

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Anna-Maija Hietajärvi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Harri Haapasalo

This study aims to explore how to identify and manage opportunities successfully in a large multi-organizational infrastructure project. Large projects struggle with…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore how to identify and manage opportunities successfully in a large multi-organizational infrastructure project. Large projects struggle with exploiting and capturing opportunities because of the lack of practices that support active and continuous opportunity management over the project lifecycle in inter-organizational project networks.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides empirical evidence of a successful opportunity management process based on an investigation of an infrastructure alliance project. The adopted research approach is an inductive case study.

Findings

By analyzing an infrastructure alliance project, this paper identifies key activities of opportunity management and furthermore, discusses the enablers of active and continuous opportunity management.

Practical implications

This study supports practitioners by providing knowledge about the possibilities and activities that could be deployed during the project lifecycle to improve opportunity management process and about the enablers – factors that facilitate alliance partners’ capabilities to manage opportunities.

Originality/value

There is limited empirical research on the practices of opportunity management that support continuous, active opportunity management in inter-organizational project contexts, although multidisciplinary project networks have possibilities for taking advantage of opportunities that emerge over the project lifecycle.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2019

Jukka Majava, Harri Haapasalo and Kirsi Aaltonen

The “big room” concept and lean philosophy have become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Visual control is a central part of lean philosophy and the big…

Abstract

Purpose

The “big room” concept and lean philosophy have become increasingly popular in the construction industry. Visual control is a central part of lean philosophy and the big room concept; its aim is to improve information flow, joint problem-solving and real-time decision-making. Visual control facilitates effective project management by providing information on what work is performed and why, customer requirements, deadlines, work status and potential problems. This study aims to explore how visualisation supports project management and control in a big room and the factors that facilitate good visual control.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on the case study method, and the objective is to elaborate the current understanding of factors that affect visual control. The study includes a literature review and an empirical study of a large construction project.

Findings

The results indicate that many factors facilitate visual control. Despite the importance of facilities and tools, communication and teamwork are identified as the key factors. On a broader level, the results indicate a need for a holistic approach in developing visual management strategies and practices in the construction industry and in complex projects in particular.

Research limitations/implications

A single case may not be able to offer a generalised picture of this complex topic. However, the study provides novel insights for practitioners and researchers interested in the development of visual control and big rooms. Future research topics are also proposed.

Originality/value

While previous studies have identified many elements of successful big room implementation – including integration and early involvement, information sharing, tools and facilities – this study focusses specifically on the factors that facilitate visual control.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2017

Anna-Maija Hietajärvi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Harri Haapasalo

Project alliancing – a project delivery model used in delivering complex projects – demands new organizational capabilities for successful project implementation. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Project alliancing – a project delivery model used in delivering complex projects – demands new organizational capabilities for successful project implementation. The purpose of this paper is to define the concept of project alliance (PA) capability and to identify the elements that constitute an organization’s PA capability.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides empirical evidence of PA capability based on an investigation of participants’ experiences of Finnish construction and infrastructure alliance projects. The adopted research approach is qualitative and inductive.

Findings

The paper conceptualizes PA capability and defines the elements that constitute an organization’s PA capability, including important activities in the pre-formation, development and post-formation phases of PAs and the contractual, behavioral, relational, and operational skills that organizations need for successful alliance project initiation and implementation.

Practical implications

The identified alliance project activities are targets for routinization and best practices that organizations can deploy from one project to another. The identified skills indicate areas in which organizations should build and develop expertise.

Originality/value

There is limited empirical research on the elements defining an organization’s capability to bid, manage and operate in alliance projects. This study presents some preliminary thoughts to augment knowledge of the successful initiation and management of alliance projects and to suggest why some organizations may be more successful than others in alliance projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2020

Mogens Frank Mikkelsen, John Venable and Kirsi Aaltonen

Project complexity is becoming increasingly challenging for project managers. Much valuable research has been done on the concept of project complexity. The research…

Abstract

Purpose

Project complexity is becoming increasingly challenging for project managers. Much valuable research has been done on the concept of project complexity. The research reported in this paper aims to provide a new means (the “Complexity Navigation Window”) and guiding principles for the navigation of project complexity in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper applied action design research (a methodology for design science research) to design and evaluate the Complexity Navigation Window (CNW), which will serve as a representation of project complexity as a key component of the user interface for a decision support system (DSS) for managing project complexity.

Findings

Formative evaluations of the CNW by 16 project management practitioners indicated that the artefact is relevant, comprehensible and heading in a promising direction to guide decision-making. The evaluation also highlighted project managers' difficulty in using the (conceptual) representation by itself to assess a project's current situation accurately, which in turn limits their ability to understand a project's current complexity and decide an appropriate course of strategy. A conceptual framework by itself is insufficient. This finding motivates further research to develop and evaluate a DSS that would partially automate the assessment process (by surveying stakeholders and automatically assessing and representing project complexity according to the CNW), which should aid in increasing the accuracy (and timeliness) of project complexity assessments and contribute to appropriate strategy formulation and timely revision.

Practical implications

The formative evaluation of the CNW indicates relevance for practitioners and the further features of the DSS may still yield even higher perceived utility from the full artefact.

Originality/value

The paper provides improved understanding of practitioners' perceptions of project complexity and ability to assess it for a given project. The paper describes the design of a new visualisation for navigating and managing complexity. The paper further presents four strategies for managing project complexity. Finally, the paper also provides a methodological discussion on the potential of ADR in advancing project management research.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 12 May 2020

Laura Saukko, Kirsi Aaltonen and Harri Haapasalo

The purpose of this paper is to achieve an understanding of the challenges and preconditions for inter-organizational collaborative project practices in industrial…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to achieve an understanding of the challenges and preconditions for inter-organizational collaborative project practices in industrial engineering projects. A framework for identifying the challenges and preconditions for inter-organizational collaboration is presented.

Design/methodology/approach

The adopted research method is qualitative, and empirical data were collected from the industrial engineering project sector in Finland. The literature related to industrial engineering projects and inter-organizational collaborative project management practices is summarized, informing the qualitative design of the study.

Findings

By analyzing empirical data from industrial engineering projects, the challenges for inter-organizational collaboration are identified in each industrial engineering project stage. A framework of preconditions for inter-organizational collaboration is identified, in which investors are advised to pay attention when deciding on the use of collaborative project management methods.

Practical implications

The findings of this study help practitioners deal effectively with mechanisms aimed at fostering and hindering inter-organizational collaborative practices. The identified preconditions for inter-organizational collaboration provide support for decision-making in every phase of an engineering project and can be used as guidelines throughout the process.

Originality/value

Inter-organizational collaborative project management practices have recently been attracting attention in the industrial engineering project setting. This research is an attempt to identify the underlying forces supporting and preventing inter-organizational collaboration in industrial engineering projects. This study offers a framework that can help academics and project management practitioners deal with the challenges affecting inter-organizational collaboration at each project stage and consider preconditions for inter-organizational collaboration in industrial engineering project settings.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2020

Jaakko Kujala, Kirsi Aaltonen, Nadezhda Gotcheva and Pertti Lahdenperä

The purpose of this study is to create a framework to analyze approaches for coordination, adaptation and safeguarding of exchanges in interorganizational project networks.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to create a framework to analyze approaches for coordination, adaptation and safeguarding of exchanges in interorganizational project networks.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis framework to analyze governance in project networks was created based on a systematic review of existing literature. The framework was applied to analyze governance approaches used in a large infrastructure project implemented with an alliance project delivery method to illustrate the practical validity of the framework.

Findings

The analysis framework categorized governance in project networks in six dimensions: goal setting, rewarding, monitoring, roles and decision-making, coordination and capability building. A set of questions for each governance dimension was created and the analysis framework was applied in the context of a project alliance.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of this research is on governance internal to a project network. The authors identified dimensions of governance in project networks and related governance approaches based on a systematic literature review. The practical applicability of the framework was validated in a single case study setting.

Practical implications

The paper introduces a concept of governance in project networks, which takes the perspective that all actors that have an influence on project implementation are part of an interorganizational project network. The focal organization may have had a significant role in the design of governance, but governance also emerged from the network structure of companies and the interactions among them. The analysis framework created in this research can be used to design and analyze governance in different type of project context.

Originality/value

The paper introduces a concept of governance in project networks, which takes the perspective that all actors that have an influence on project implementation are part of an interorganizational project network.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2017

Anna-Maija Hietajärvi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Harri Haapasalo

The effective management of inter-organizational integration is central to complex projects. Such projects pose significant challenges for integration, as organizations…

Abstract

Purpose

The effective management of inter-organizational integration is central to complex projects. Such projects pose significant challenges for integration, as organizations struggle with constantly changing inter-organizational interdependencies and must develop and adapt integration mechanisms to meet new demands. The purpose of this paper is to understand what kinds of integration mechanisms are used and how they are developed and adjusted during the infrastructure alliance projects.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides empirical evidence of integration dynamics in project alliancing by analyzing two infrastructure alliance projects – a complex tunnel construction project and a railway renovation project. The research approach is an inductive case study.

Findings

This paper identifies integration mechanisms adopted in two case projects and three central triggers that led to changes in the integration mechanisms: project lifecycle phase, unexpected events and project team’s learning during the project.

Practical implications

Integration capability should be a precondition for alliance project organizations and requires the adoption of a wide range of integration mechanisms, as well as an ability to adjust those mechanisms in response to everyday dynamics and emergent situations.

Originality/value

Although unplanned contingencies and the responses to them represent important influences in organizations, there is limited amount of research on the dynamics of integration. The findings will be of value in supporting the management of inter-organizational integration in complex, uncertain and time-critical construction projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2018

Teemu Mikael Lappi, Kirsi Aaltonen and Jaakko Kujala

ICT projects, especially in the public sector, can have a substantial impact on society but are challenging due to organizational and technological complexities and…

Abstract

Purpose

ICT projects, especially in the public sector, can have a substantial impact on society but are challenging due to organizational and technological complexities and uncertainties. Collaborative and cooperative project delivery models, namely, the project alliance method, can mitigate such challenges, but, thus far, have not been utilized in information and communication technology (ICT) projects. The purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the cross-field transfer process through which the project alliance model was applied to the ICT field from the construction sector.

Design/methodology/approach

An inductive case study of the ICT project alliance early stages was performed. Data were collected from the first known ICT alliance project, conducted in the context of the Finnish public sector digitalization.

Findings

The findings show how the activities of institutional entrepreneurs impact the cross-field transfer process during the ICT project alliance’s early stages. Furthermore, the results illustrate the characteristics of an ICT project alliance and compare those with more traditional project alliances.

Originality/value

The topic and results of the study are original and contribute to institutional research by identifying and studying the micro-level processes associated with the cross-field transfer process. The study also builds an initial understanding of a new method of organizing ICT projects and contributes to the project alliance literature. The managerial implications of the findings allow project practitioners to understand the emerging characteristics of an ICT project alliance, and enable managers in the ICT field to adjust and prepare their own organizations and processes for the application of the project alliance model.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 May 2018

Kirsi Aaltonen and Virpi Turkulainen

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the understanding of socialization in the context of temporary operations and organizational settings, using project alliance …

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the understanding of socialization in the context of temporary operations and organizational settings, using project alliance – the most contemporary approach to the management of large and complex projects – as an example. In particular, the paper also assesses how informal and formal socialization mechanisms are used to facilitate relational capital in such a setting.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected by two case studies of complex infrastructure projects in a Northern European city. The analysis focuses on how socialization is managed across organizational interfaces within the alliance organization during the project tendering and development phase to create relational capital.

Findings

The findings indicate that significant emphasis is put on socialization in project alliances. However, while in the tendering phase both informal and formal socialization mechanisms are used to create relational capital; in the development phase informal socialization mechanisms are associated with higher levels of relational capital and formal socialization mechanisms are used to maintain the level of relational capital.

Originality/value

While operations and supply chain management research argues that socialization is critical to manage organizational interfaces and to create relational capital in buyer-supplier relationships, research has mainly focused on ongoing operations. This study complements the prior research by developing further insight into socialization in the context of temporary operations and organizational settings; such settings create a unique empirical context, posing different managerial challenges as the results also indicate.

Details

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

Keywords

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