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

Purpose of Paper

Projects are processes for conducting work that produces a new product of one sort or another. The better we can understand these processes, the better we should be able to educate project mangers and their teams. The better educated the project managers and their teams that we have, the higher the project success rating we should be able to achieve. For this, we need to know how these processes may be linked to a particular type of product, and what the implications are for project management.

To commence this journey, we need a suitable basis for classifying projects. To this end, we believe that it is necessary to look beyond a projectÍs nominal category or sponsoring industry and look at the fundamentally different types of work involved. Most projects encompass more than one type of work, so we must look at the major work elements (work packages) and their immediate products.

Our basic premise is simple — For a project to be successful, different types of project work, associated with different types of product, need to be managed differently.

In other words, management style, strategy, tools, processes and people should all be adapted to the specific type of project. The purpose of this paper, then, is to identify fundamentally different types of project from the perspective of selecting appropriate styles of management.

Introduction  Introduction

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