Study Approach and Methodology
This study draws from material over the last two decades. While peer-reviewed papers and books offer expert knowledge, reports from project publications revealed more practical experience, and discussions at relevant conferences and workshops gave further insights. This paper includes data from ten cases from a broader research assignment by the author into mega-science project management conducted at 16 high-technology scientific projects in Europe, Chile and Australia. Each project is characterized by having specialized infrastructure, >US$100 million budget, a challenging IT and software requirement, and a science goal concerned with astro, particle, or nuclear physics.
I observed planning and execution processes, and formal and ad-hoc meetings, both in the office and worksite. At each project, I undertook between five and ten formal interviews with project directors and managers, each typically lasting 3‑5 hours, and loosely structured to permit the gathering of salient learning aspects from each case. From the fieldwork, I selected three projects judged likely to elicit relevant and representative data for this paper.
This research effort focuses on eliciting additional factors beyond a priori program-type processes, resources and artifacts such as execution plans, project funding, Work Breakdown Structures, etc. These "additional" factors are described as "special" factors to distinguish them from common program factors. Thus, there are nine special factors that are further subdivided into three "attitudinal" factors, and six "conditioning" factors.
The three Attitudinal factors are those that require an intellectual stance or approach, whereas the six Conditional factors are realized through purposeful activity. They are all described in the following pages.