Linking Scope-Technology Classification with Project Management Processes
The research cited earlier, and illustrated conceptually in Figure
2, examined the linkage between selected projects placed in the classification
system and established project management processes. Project management through
the various project phases involved linking two different, but not disjointed,
sets of activities. The first involved those that led to the assembly of pieces
of technological knowledge to create and shape the characteristics of the final
product, i.e. the project's scope and work breakdown structure. The second involved
the managerial activities necessary to allocate, use and monitor resources, coordinate
the various parties, manage integration through communication, and support the
technical activities through decision making and data management.
The conceptualization and planning or development of a project is typically
an iterative effort. Plans need to be developed, tested and re-worked On the
other hand, the implementation and finishing of a project should seek to maximize
productivity through logical and uninterrupted execution. However, as technology
content advanced, the later that firm planning decisions were evidently taken.
These were often delayed well into the implementation phases, as reflected by
progressively later 'design freezes' and consequent impact on the on-going progress
Similarly, as the program/project scope increased, the project management processes
became more intense and more detailed. Hence the need for more and careful project
management planning, more extensive coordination, closer control and attention
to project configuration. The result was a tighter and more formal management
form as projects progressed up the scale.
When moving along both dimensions simultaneously, new challenges and concerns
arose. Higher scope higher tech projects involved producing large multi-disciplinary
systems which involved many subsystems and components based on new technologies.
Such projects required even more replanning activities more frequently. Similarly,
systems engineering activities were also more intensive and were required to
harmonize and optimize the collection of subsystems and components.
System integration was another challenge. In higher scope higher tech projects,
the successful production of the separate subunits was one thing. Integrating
them into one working piece was quite another. Typical problems of interfacing
often required a long a tedious process of assembly, numerous testing and interface
trade-offs and, in some cases, more than one design cycle for the entire system.
Configuration management, specification and documentation were also prominent
problem areas, especially at the super high-tech end, and special software was
required to track all the decisions and changes. Finally, there was the special
need for risk management. While all projects involve some degree of risk, the
higher scope higher tech projects were more sensitive to the difficulties of
risk management and the need for risk analysis.
As might be expected, the studies indicated that the level of technological
uncertainty was more associated with engineering and design-related variables
such as design cycles, design freeze points, and systems engineering. The scope
dimension, on the other hand, was more associated with administrative and managerial
variables such as the number of activities, use of the work breakdown structure,
planning and contracting strategies.