Published here November, 2006. 

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked | The Books Premise
Other Things We Liked | Research-Based Data | Case Studies | Downside | Summary

Research-Based Data

Terry's firm, Human Systems, has conducted or gathered valuable data from which the authors of this book derive some interesting insights. As they say:

"... some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies undertook a study of the maturity of project management processes for thirty-three organizations operating in different industries.[15] An interesting finding is that even among the more mature industries, such as petrochemicals and defense, multi-project management is an area of relative weakness."[16]

Figure 3 shows how the book illustrates such findings as this. Here the relative maturity of the project management practices of organizations representing different industries is shown by an assessment of their strength in ten different domains.

The ten domains were identified as a result of structured discussions with a group of project managers from different industries. The purpose was to ascertain how project management practices might vary from industry to industry. The ten labels shown are characterized as follows:[17]

  1. Projectization: Extent of project culture
  2. Leadership: Organizational leadership
  3. Business: Extent of business (not technical) culture
  4. Multiprojects: Multi-project management
  5. Systems: Project management structure, methods, and systems
  6. Authorization: Degree of authorization held by a project
  7. Information: Centralization of project information for each project
  8. Team Types: Ability to match project team to the needs of the development (stage and type)
  9. PM Capability: Capability of project management staff
  10. Matrix: Strength of project versus functional management
Figure 3: Relative project management domain strength in four representative industries
Figure 3: Relative project management domain strength in four representative industries[18]

Other similar charts show, not unexpectedly, how considerable variation exists in project management practices between industry sectors. They show where weaknesses exist in Leadership, or in selecting Team Types appropriate to the job, or where project portfolio management (Multiprojects) is relatively strong compared to where it is weak, and so on. All of this tends to debunk the idea that it is possible to define a project management body of knowledge on the basis of material that is "generally recognized as good practice on most projects most of the time".[19] While there do appear to be areas of consensus, perhaps at a more technical and detailed level, there are other broader areas where there clearly is not.

Other Things We Liked  Other Things We Liked

15. The companies included Pfizer, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and many other members of the Human Systems Network. A more extensive description of the research can be found in Terence J. Cooke-Davies and Andrew Arzymanow: The Maturity of Project Management in Different Industries: An Investigation into Variations Between Project Management Models, International Journal of Project Management, 2003, 21, 471-478
16. The Right Projects Done Right!, p46
17. Ibid, p261
18. Ibid, p263. Readers should note that the radar plot scales of 0-5 are not the standard scale for maturity models used in industry, but are separate scales representing relative strengths in each of the ten domains respectively. Readers of the book should also note that in the chart shown on its page 47, the items listed in the legend have inadvertently been transposed so that the two charts, pages 47 & 263 are similar and not radically different as implied.
19. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Preface to the Third Edition, PMI, PA, 2004, p vii
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