Seminar - Li Liu - Contingent project management-evidence from the field
Wednesday 19 March 2008, 1.10 - 1.55 pm
Civil Engineering Lecture Theatre 3
Project as a form of organising work is prevalent in today’s organisations, most visible in professional services, film production, R&D, construction contractors and IT service providers. As the advantages of organising work in the form of projects being increasingly recognised, more and more organisations project-manage their initiatives to complement their primary operations. As "projects" grow in popularity, so does the need for relevant and rigorously tested theories to guide the management of project-based organisations. The bodies of knowledge that currently dominate the project management profession, such as Project Management Institute's (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), are primarily practice-driven, lack theoretical foundation, and recommend one-size-fits-all approach (Morris 1997; Shenhar 2001; Williams 2004). The poor performance of projects over the past decades also calls for further research into the management of projects. Despite decades of practice and research, projects continue to under-perform (Williams 2004; Johnson 1995; Johnson et al 2001).
More recently, there have been a number of studies examining the typologies for projects (Shenhar 2001; Shenhar Dvir 1996; Evaristo and Fenema 1999; Pich et al 2002). The rationale is that by understanding the typologies, we will be in a better position to design and apply appropriate management approaches. Nevertheless, there has been a lack studies examining the appropriate management approaches in different context, especially at the organisational level. In this presentation, Dr. Liu sums up findings from his research on the issue over the past 8 years. Consistent with the underlying logic of "One-size-does-not-fit-all", the findings shed light on the contingent effects project performance of project management offices, project reviews, project sponsorship and organisational control modes. Theory development, contribution to knowledge and future directions are also discussed.