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Management of Project Interdependencies in a Project Portfolio
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the contemporary business environment multiple projects are a common way of organising work and they are usually implemented and managed as a portfolio of projects. It is widely recognised that effective project portfolio management delivers a range of strategic benefits and significantly contributes to overall organisational success. However, project portfolio management is acknowledged by both theory and practice to be a highly challenging task which is even amplified by the presence of project interdependencies. Managing project interdependencies is found to be an area of weakness for contemporary portfolio management, which so far remains under investigated but emergent field within general portfolio management theory. Therefore this study presents an empirical investigation that aims to uncover why and how organisations from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry manage project interdependencies.

In order to answer why organisations manage project interdependencies the study examines the benefits of project interdependency management, the negative effects of failed project interdependency management and the related challenges. In order to investigate how project interdependencies are managed this study focuses on the hard and soft practices that portfolio practitioners use. The study is based on cross-case analysis of two case organisations operating within the ICT industry in Italy. The ICT is chosen as an excellent ground for studying project interdependency management since it is of significant importance for the contemporary world’s economy where project and portfolio management is practiced intensively. Qualitative data is collected via semi-structure interviews.

The key findings apply to both case organisations demonstrating their similar reasons and manner of managing project interdependencies. The research findings show that there are various types of project interdependencies in the project portfolios that practitioners need to account for and that effective management of these interdependencies delivers significant benefits contributing to the portfolio success, while failed interdependency management distorts the portfolio success. The study indicates potential challenges that project interdependency management may encounter and confirms that comprehensive consideration of project interdependencies is a rather complex task within a project portfolio management. In order to manage issues arising from interdependent projects and leverage related benefits, organisations implement the following hard practices: web application platforms and tracking tools; and soft practices: formal and informal PM meetings, creation of a cooperative culture, leadership, negotiation and convincing and sacred cow. These practices are examined along with their benefits, limitations and context of their application. Although both hard and soft practices are found to be important in the case organisations, the preference is given to soft ones, mainly because of the benefits that soft practices offer over hard ones and the fact that the indicated hard practices allow only identification of project interdependencies, but do not provide managerial solutions per se. Therefore similar organisations operating within ICT industry may find it useful to devote attention to soft practices as they are found to be a prevailing mechanism for managing project interdependencies. The combination of hard and soft practices can also be seen beneficial for realisation of effective project interdependency management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 93 p.
Keyword [en]
project interdependencies, project interdependency management, project portfolio management, projects, soft and hard practices, ICT
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-85147OAI: diva2:691762
Available from: 2014-02-10 Created: 2014-01-28 Last updated: 2014-02-10Bibliographically approved

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Management of Project Interdependencies in a Project Portfolio. Tasevska, F. Toropova, O.(1571 kB)299 downloads
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