The SUITED Framework for International Development Project Management: Enhancing Flexibility in IDP
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
International Development Projects (IDP) are designed to deliver sustained solutions to human life quality threatens. They aim to improve living conditions in emerging countries through initiatives that should provide long-term sustained results. However, the extreme characteristics of IDP contexts challenge traditional project management methodologies. The dynamic nature of stakeholders’ relationships and influence adds additional pressures to the management teams. Higher levels of uncertainty in IDP are faced with non-flexible strategies that compromise the long-term desired results. Not enough participation of relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries limits the impact of development initiatives.
The authors could identify that IDP management is overall an under-investigated field. Specifically, contemporary challenges arisen from unbalanced robust/flexible strategies and low stakeholders participation have undermined the impact success of those projects. Moreover, there is no academic study that constructs on how flexibility could be enhanced in IDP, while maintaining control. Methodologies such as design thinking and agile have elucidated new paths of action for better impact and customer satisfaction in other industries, by enabling flexibility and change management. Despite their huge proven success, these methodologies are still a phenomenon limited to IT and design industries. Therefore, in IDP field there is no framework linking contingency and participatory development theories with flexible methods similar to design thinking and agile methodologies.
In order to bridge this gap the authors will embark in a qualitative study to explore literature and gain insights from actors within the IDP field about the problem at hand. A multiple embedded case study will be conducted with ID academics and practitioners at supervisory and implementation levels from across the world. A possible solution will be designed for IDP management from a different angle to that of traditional management, in order to build up flexibility without compromising project structure. The proposed framework will tackle flexibility and participation issues by integrating design thinking and agile methodologies into IDP.
The theoretical findings suggest that enabling participatory development strategies in the design phase, and expanding the available project knowledge would enhance IDP flexibility. Likewise, IDP flexibility during the implementation phase is impacted by the quality and relevance of information and methodological tools available, stakeholders’ involvement, as well as the handover process. Therefore, since no previous studies interconnecting those theories to enhanced flexibility could be found in IDP, an expansion of available theoretical knowledge on contingency and participatory development theory in IDP is produced. The authors concluded that design thinking and agile principles may conceptually prove useful to effectively deal with the problems identified, thus project design is more adequate, and collaboration among stakeholders proves effective to deal with uncertainty and complexity. These constructs are explained in the propositions made for the SUITE framework to IDP, which aims to practically contribute to the management field of IDP.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 109 p.
International development, Project management, IDP, Flexibility, Participatory development, Agile, Design thinking
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-115813OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-115813DiVA: diva2:900726
Master's Programme in Management
Svanström, TobiasNordvall, Anna-Carin