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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2018

Lauri Vuorinen and Miia Maarit Martinsuo

A project contractor can promote the success of a delivery project by planning the project well and following a project management methodology (PMM). However, various…

Abstract

Purpose

A project contractor can promote the success of a delivery project by planning the project well and following a project management methodology (PMM). However, various changes typically take place, requiring changes to the project plan and actions that deviate from the firm’s established PMM. The purpose of this paper is to explore different types of changes and change management activities over the lifecycle of delivery projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative single case study design was used. In total, 17 semi-structured interviews were carried out during a delivery project in a medium-sized engineering company that delivers complex systems to industrial customers.

Findings

Both plan-related changes and deviations from the PMM were mapped throughout the project lifecycle. Various internal and external sources of change were identified. An illustrative example of the interconnectedness of the changes reveals the potential escalation of changes over the project lifecycle. Managers and project personnel engage in different change management activities and improvisation to create alternative paths, re-plan, catch up, and optimize project performance after changes.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical study is limited to a single case study setting and a single industry. The findings draw attention to the interconnectedness and potential escalation effect of changes over the lifecycle of the project, and the need for integrated change management and improvisation actions.

Practical implications

Efficient change management and improvisation at the early phase of a delivery project can potentially mitigate negative change incidents in later project phases. Changes are not only the project manager’s concern; project personnel’s skilled change responses are also helpful. The findings emphasize the importance of the project customer as a source of changes in delivery projects, meaning that customer relationship management throughout the project lifecycle is needed for successful change management.

Originality/value

The study offers increased understanding of changes and change management throughout the project lifecycle. The results show evidence of plan-related and methodology-related changes and their interconnections, thereby proposing a lifecycle view of integrated change management and improvisation in projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2018

Khadijeh Momeni and Miia Maarit Martinsuo

Resource allocation is challenged by dynamic environments where changes are frequent. The purpose of this paper is to identify resource allocation challenges and practices…

Abstract

Purpose

Resource allocation is challenged by dynamic environments where changes are frequent. The purpose of this paper is to identify resource allocation challenges and practices in service units that perform both project and non-project activities in dynamic environments. Its goal is to show that top-down mechanisms of project resource allocation need to be replaced by or supplemented with mechanisms that are more flexible.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative comparative case study was conducted in two service units of two project-based firms. The main source of data consisted of semi-structured interviews with 17 service managers and staff members.

Findings

This study shows that resource allocation is not necessarily a top-down process at all, and the practices are context-dependent. Two more flexible approaches are revealed – hybrid resource allocation and bottom-up resource allocation – as examples of managing resource allocation in service units that engage in projects under uncertain conditions. The results of the analysis highlight prioritisation and adapting to change and delay as the main issues that managers face in allocating resources to different types of projects and service activities in dynamic environments.

Research limitations/implications

The two target companies chosen for the qualitative research design limit the analysis to project-based firms in a business-to-business context. Further, the viewpoint of the service unit is central to the study. Studying project resource allocation in different organisational contexts and uncovering the perspectives of product development and delivery units would offer promising directions for future research.

Practical implications

The study reveals that in dynamic project settings such as service organisations, top-down mechanisms of resource allocation need to be accompanied by other, more flexible approaches to ensure the sufficient resourcing of projects and related services in dynamic environments. Companies need to establish practices for resource allocation changes that are caused by re-prioritising tasks and accommodating changes and delays in their project and service activities.

Originality/value

Compared to a top-down perspective taken in previous research, the study proposes a more flexible approach for resource allocation in constantly changing environments with different project and service activities. Previous studies have focussed on resource competition between projects, placing project managers in the central role for resource allocation. By contrast, this study discusses hybrid and bottom-up resource allocation, both of which involve broader personnel engagement in resource allocation tasks, drawing on the experience of all employees.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 December 2018

Miia Maarit Martinsuo, Lauri Vuorinen and Catherine Killen

Infrastructure projects are expected to deliver value to their stakeholders long after completion. Project value is multi-dimensional and subjective and evolves over the…

Abstract

Purpose

Infrastructure projects are expected to deliver value to their stakeholders long after completion. Project value is multi-dimensional and subjective and evolves over the project lifecycle. How stakeholders frame the expected value is central to the public debate about proposed infrastructure projects and influences the financing decisions; however, this framing is inadequately understood. The purpose of this paper is to develop new knowledge for shaping infrastructure projects by identifying the ways in which stakeholders frame project value at the project front end.

Design/methodology/approach

Three transport infrastructure projects are compared in a qualitative, document-based study. The authors map the dimensions of value at the project front end and identify stakeholders’ approaches to lifecycle-oriented framing of value.

Findings

Financial, social and comparative values are dominant in the project front end. The authors frame value into positive and negative dimensions and identify four themes in the lifecycle-oriented framing of value, including uncertainties, timing of cost and benefit realization, project relations and external sponsorship.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited through the focus on transport infrastructure projects and project front end only, the selection of cases from a single country and the use of document-based data. The systematic analysis approach has yielded novel analytical frameworks that will be useful for further research.

Practical implications

This study identifies value dimensions that are specific to transport infrastructure projects and proposes a framework to assist stakeholders and project managers to better assess and negotiate value when designing their projects.

Originality/value

Regional and comparative values are revealed as novel aspects of value specific to infrastructure projects. The alternative lifecycle-oriented frames offer a new way to understand and structure the co-creation of value and shape negotiation for investment decisions in the project. A portfolio perspective to investment decision making is proposed.

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: 1 June 2015

Rami Sariola and Miia Maarit Martinsuo

This paper investigates third-party relationships in project networks in the construction industry and seeks increased understanding on how such relationships can be…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates third-party relationships in project networks in the construction industry and seeks increased understanding on how such relationships can be strengthened. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework and propositions on enhanced relationship strength between component suppliers and designers as third parties.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual approach is used in this paper. Previous empirical research on business relationships, project networks and relationship strength is reviewed systematically, to identify factors required for strengthening the relationship in project networks.

Findings

Cooperative practices needed for strengthening the relationships in project networks were identified. The framework on how such practices are associated with relationship strength between supplier and designers was developed. Propositions on strengthening the relationship between component suppliers and designers were stated. These propositions can be developed further and tested in a hypothetic-deductive study.

Research limitations/implications

The research was delimited by the choice of designers as third parties. The authors used some excerpts from the earlier interview study with over 20 designers, to illustrate the issues. Empirical analysis was not included in this paper which causes an evident limitation to validity. Additional research is proposed on analyzing the contractors’ and suppliers’ viewpoints to third-party relationships.

Practical implications

The paper suggests cooperative practices for construction component suppliers to enhance their relationship strength with third parties in project networks.

Originality/value

Limited research attention has been directed at the third-party relationships of suppliers in project networks. This paper offers important knowledge about these less salient relationships in project networks, beyond a simple dyadic relationship in the direct supply chain.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Derek Walker

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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