This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to E. Riis & P. Eskerod, © 2009
published February 2010

Introduction | Method | Case Description and Findings
Perceived Value | Discussion | Sustaining Value

Discussion

In the description of the case company it can be seen that an organizational perspective on project management is predominant.[12] This means that the interactions of the projects and the permanent organization are in focus in order to ensure that the purpose is fulfilled and that the permanent organization obtains the stipulated long-term benefits. This is in line with recommendations offered by Andersen.[13]

From Figure 3, the following characteristics of the PM Model operated by the case company can be identified as follows:

  • The model was developed from a well-known phase model that was subsequently customized.
  • There was a high involvement of project managers in implementing and maintaining the model.
  • An intra-organizational common frame of reference is in place.
  • The model contains a substantial number of templates, but only a moderate number of them are mandatory ones. The case company leaves it to the managers to develop project documents in line with their requirements in a specific project.
  • A follow-up phase of three months is part of the model ending with the official handover of the project results to the line organization. Interestingly, in the interviews the informants indicated that they should become better in measuring and following up on benefits.

Although the model is based on a well-known phase model, the case company spent considerable resources on adapting the model to the company context. The customization concentrated on terminology concerning phases and methods, but left the basic structure unchanged. Now, all informants perceive their model as highly adapted and fully aligned with the corporate culture. In particular, the project managers felt that the PM model was their own. The strong feeling of ownership may be due to the fact that the case company involved their own PM staff very intensively in the adaptation processes.

Prior to introducing the PM model, project models were used for a number of years. From the company records it can be seen that they were mainly very extensive IT project models. The move to the PM model was accomplished in two stages. The first stage was a move from a simple project model to a more detailed project model, which covered project processes and indicated how to structure, approach and organize the execution of project work for a specific type of project. The final stage was a move to a higher-level PM model valid for all types of projects in the organization and covering all PM processes. About five years were spent to complete the move

Despite this extended implementation, integration with other business systems is not yet completed but from the interviews, deepening the integration is not a top priority. The focus was more on decisions and strategic direction than integration. Somehow, the not-EPMT projects seem to be forgotten when trying to benefit from a PM model approach. Forgetting part of the projects is in line with findings from other case studies.[14]

Looking more closely at the value created by using the PM model, about half of the reported efficiency gains referred to cost reductions, better utilization of resources, easier task solving, and avoidance of beginners' mistakes. However, the other half of the efficiency statements referred to the projects' environments including better exchange of knowledge between the project managers, easier communication internally and externally, and project managers being more conscientious in their project management.

So the efficiency concept is reaching further than efficiency gain in the context of single projects. Furthermore, the study points to a fourth value created - stakeholder satisfaction that appeared in nearly 30 percent of the value statements. These statements not only cover the customers' experience of professionalism, a better process during the project life cycle, and assurance in meeting client expectations, but also team performance with clear roles and responsibilities and greater empowerment of team members.

Value statements referring to legitimacy cover the high credibility and good reputation of the company, and recognition of the project management approach in other parts of the firm. These values follow the explanation of legitimacy in Eskerod & Ístergren (2000).[15]

Finally, value relating to power and control reflects the strong top management involvement, higher resilience to movement among project managers, greater transparency, improved control and follow-up, and overall a better foundation for achieving company objectives.

Perceived Value  Perceived Value

12. Andersen, E.S. (2008). Rethinking Project Management. An Organisational Perspective. Prentice Hall.
13. Ibid.
14. Blichfeldt, B.S. & Eskerod, P. (2008). Project Portfolio Management - There's More to it than What Management Enacts, International Journal of Project Management, 26 (4), 357-365.
15. Eskerod, P. & Ístergren, K. (2000). Why Do Companies Standardize Project Work?, Project Management, 6 (2), 34-39.
 
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