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


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.

Abstract  Abstract

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