Mechanisms of deviations: Observations of projects in practice
2009 (English)In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, ISSN 1753-8378, Vol. 2, no 4, 611-625 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe and summarise a PhD thesis that contributes to the understanding of how unexpected events (deviations) are handled. It explores the reality of project manager’s attempts to address loosely coupled components of tightly coupled projects from a projects-as-practice approach.
Design/method/approach – Research reported up here is based upon a qualitative data gathering approach adopting an ethnographic research approach, gathering data from 12 weeks of participant observations, fifty nine interviews and studying supporting documentation with the offices under study. This approach is warranted by the projects-as-practice approach which puts emphasis on the situated actions.
Findings: Rather than reducing uncertainty, project management action through coping with deviations to expectations provides mechanisms that thrive on the uncertainty of the situation. Project managers can cope with unexpected deviations to plan in a logical and rigorous way that is currently poorly recognized as an official project management ‘skill’.
Practical Implications: More space for action is created to solve the specific deviation by enhancing the seriousness of the deviation .The longer the project manager is able to emphasize the structures of a deviation the more time the project manager has to find a suitable solution.
Originality/value: There are two main areas of conclusion that are given attention. First, uncertainty is inherent in projects which can be used when dealing with deviations in projects because while all deviations do not have great consequences, they follow the same basic pattern when managed. Project management in this sense becomes the management of deviations. Second, in terms of the theory of loosely coupled systems, a practice based analysis has been largely missing in the project management literature. The study reported upon investigates and explains this inner life of loose coupling mechanisms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bradford: Emerald Group Publishing Limited , 2009. Vol. 2, no 4, 611-625 p.
Projects-as-practice, Project management, Deviations, Planning, Uncertainty, Loosely coupled systems
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26322DOI: 10.1108/17538370910991188OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-26322DiVA: diva2:241870