Aaron J. Shenhar, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA, and R. Max Wideman.

A paper presented to the PICMET'97 conference "Innovation in Technology Management: The Key to Global Leadership", Portland, Oregon, USA, July 1997 (Updated for web 2002). Presented here as the third in a series linking project type through management style to project success.

Published here February 2002.

Abstract | Introduction | Purpose | Background
Product | Work | Matrix | Style | Conclusion


The purpose of this paper has been to establish fundamentally different types of project tasks with a view to subsequent correlation with different styles of management. The objective of this correlation would be to increase the proportion of successful projects experienced.

Every project is composed of a range of activities or tasks. To achieve a project's objective, many tasks are often accomplished as separate work packages or elements and then integrated into the final product. The exact nature of an element depends on the mixture and type of the contained tasks. To gain insight into the type of project, it is necessary to look within the project to its major work elements. These elements may then be examined to ascertain the best form of management most likely to lead to a successful outcome.

The nature of these work elements can be distinguished according to two scales: type of end product and type of activity (work done) to produce that end product. There are two fundamental types of product: tangible and intangible; and two fundamental types of work (effort): craft and intellect. These two dimensions form a simple 2x2 matrix in which four essentially different types of project can be found. These are Tangible-Intellect; Intangible-Intellect; Intangible-Craft; and Tangible-Craft.

The paper describes each of these four types and their typical characteristics. Intuitively, one suspects that people involved in craftwork respond better to being told what to do, while those involved in intellectual work expect to be allowed to think for themselves. This topic will be examined in a later paper.

How the Matrix might relate to a Spectrum of Management Style  How the Matrix might relate to a Spectrum of Management Style

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