Scope of Recently-Completed Study
Projects are launched for a variety of reasons: to construct buildings
or infra-structure, to establish manufacturing processes, to upgrade
existing products, or to build defense related systems for example.
No matter what the motivation for the project, the question of project
success is strongly linked to the organization's effectiveness and
its well-being in the long run. Yet, there is still no generally
agreed framework with which project success is being measured and
assessed. Indeed, the conceptual understanding of the notion of
project success is still in its infancy.
In a recent study, Shenhar, Dvir and Levy have developed a universal
framework for the assessment of project success.In
this view, project success is seen as a strategic management
concept where project efforts must be aligned with the strategic
long-term goals of the organization. The intent is to establish
appropriate expectations of both top management and the project
team prior to project initiation. These expectations then provide
a baseline for both the project launch decision and the inevitable
trade-off decisions required of project management during the project.
Surprisingly, a documented baseline such as this is frequently missing
from most projects.
From a large and detailed project database, two data sets were
collected in two separate phases. In the first phase, sixteen projects
were subjected to a multiple case-study qualitative approach focusing
on the dynamics within single settings (Eisenhardt;
Yin). In the second,
detailed questionnaires were sent to project managers and quantitative
data collected on 127 projects. The industries concerned included
electronics, computers, mechanics, aerospace, chemical and construction.
They also involved various technologies such as electronics, computing,
materials, mechanical, chemical and bio-chemical, optical and electro-optical,
semi-conductors, aeronautical, and construction. Projects ranged
in value from $40,000 to $2.5 billion, and in duration from three
months to twelve years.
All projects studied were classified by their managers according
to their initial level of technological uncertainty (Shenhar).
Information was also collected on the project mission and objectives,
the motivation for, and the expectations from, each project. The
perceptions of success from the perspectives of the contractor,
the customer and the user was also obtained and compared to their
Shenhar, Aaron J., Dov Dvir, and Ofer Levy, Project Success: A Multidimensional,
Strategic Concept, Research paper, University of Minnesota, MN, June
13. Eisenhardt, K.M., Building theories from case
study research, Academy of management Review, 14, 1989, pp532-550.
14. Yin, R.K., Case Study Research: Design methods,
Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing, 1984.
15. Shenhar, A.J., From low to high-tech project
management, R&D Management, 23, 3, 1993, pp199-214.