Correlation with Type of Project
Here again we have some difficulty. Just as there is no generally
agreed framework against which project success can be classified,
there is equally no satisfactory framework for the classification
of projects themselves. Typically, projects may be grouped by the
standard industry or business sector, and its subsets, such as construction,
consulting services, resource industries, or manufacturing. The
problem with this grouping is that any industry may be involved
with projects such as construction, that have a high degree of similarity
with other industries also involved with construction projects.
Alternatively, one industry may encompass projects ranging from,
say, manufacturing to research and development, and these represent
entirely different areas of project management application.
Clearly, the "industry sector" classification is unsuited
to our purpose. Projects are essentially unique undertakings, and
their range in objectives, size, complexity and variety of technological
content is almost limitless. They are not, however, confined by
industry boundaries. What is required, therefore, is a classification
system that is independent of industry but brings together project
management commonalities, while differentiating between areas of
project management application.
In January, 1995, Shenhar reported on his four-year study of the
project database mentioned earlier.
Subsets of the database were used for more detailed examination
to establish a project typology. In these, up to 100 parameters
were identified and examined for relevance and suitability. The
resulting recommendations are simple.
The research postulates a two dimensional project typology consisting
of project management scope versus technological uncertainty. Within
this typology, the primary considerations which emerged from the
research can be separated into identifiable subsets. Along the Project
Management Scope dimension are three types; Assembly, System and
Array. The Technological Uncertainty dimension was categorized into
four types: Established, Mostly Established, Advanced, and Highly
Each of these are described in the next section.
Shenhar, A. J., Contingent Project Management: A Classical Concept
in a New Arena, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1994 (Working paper)
17. Shenhar, A. J., Some Projects are More Equal:
Toward a Typology of Project Management Styles, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis,
MN, 1995 (Working paper).