If they think about it at all, most people think of a project as
something to be completed and not about the best way to manage it.
The student thinks of an assignment that must be finished and handed
in to his or her tutor. The programmer thinks of a finished software
application that must be ready for a client or for sale in the marketplace.
The builder thinks of the building that must be completed in time
for someone's move-in date. Few give thought to the type of project
it is, they simply do it the way they have always done it.
As projects get larger and more complex, they need to be better managed and
modern project management has been developed for the purpose. There are many
tools and techniques that can be applied to the management of a project, but
there is still plenty of evidence of a low rate of success. Projects are completed
late. Others run over budget. Still others are on time and on budget but yet
are not considered successful. This is either because the product is not what
it was supposed to be, or because it was not what was needed.
Is it because these project management tools and techniques have not been
applied correctly or forcefully? Or, perhaps, the wrong tools and techniques
have been applied? Why is it that some techniques work well on some projects
and not on others?
If that is the case, is it possible to look beyond the immediate shortcomings
for some other pivotal dimensions? Dimensions that, if better understood, would
enable better management selection, more appropriate management styles, and
higher rates of project success? We believe so.