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1.

Editorial Board
Page CO2
2.

Project Management Research Conferences 2006
Pages 573-574
J . Rodney Turner
3.

A memetic paradigm of project management
Pages 575-583
Stephen J onathan Whitty
4.

Understanding internally generated risks in projects
Pages 584-590
Richard B. Barber
5.

Intervening conditions on the management of project risk: Dealing with
uncertainty in information technology projects
Pages 591-599
E. Kutsch and M. Hall
6.

Impact of soft logic on the probabilistic duration of construction projects
Pages 600-610
Wei-Chih Wang
7.

An evaluation of partnership development in the construction industry
Pages 611-621
R. Beach, M. Webster and K.M. Campbell
8.

Client versus contractor perspectives on project success criteria
Pages 622-629
David J ames Bryde and Lynne Robinson
9.

Contract strategy for design management in the design and build system
Pages 630-639
Edwin H.W. Chan and Ann T.W. Yu
10.

The role of project management in university computing resource
departments
Pages 640-649
David Wierschem and Chuck J ohnston
International Journal of Project Management
Copyright 2006 Elsevier Ltd and the International Project Management Association (IPMA). All rights reserved
Volume 23, Issue 8, Pages 573-650 (November 2005)
11.

Index to Volume 23
Pages I-III


The International Journal of Project Management is devoted to the publication of papers which advance knowledge of
the practical and theoretical aspects of project management. The Journal aims to: provide a focus for worldwide
expertise in the required techniques, practices and areas of research; present a forum for readers to share common
experiences across the full range of industries and technologies in which project management is used; cover all areas of
project management from systems to human aspects; and link theory with practice by publishing case studies and
covering the latest important issues in special series.
Contributions Those wishing to submit full-length papers or case studies should send four copies to the editor,
Professor J R Turner, at the address below. Contributors should refer to the Notes for Authors printed in this issue
of the Journal. These are also available at www.elsevier.com/locate/ijrroman.
EDITOR
Professor J Rodney Turner
Professor of Project Management
ESC Lille
Postal address: EuroProjex
Wildwood, Manor Close
East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6SA, UK
E-mail address: rodneyturner@europrojex.co.uk
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
International Journal of Project Management is the ocial journal of the International Project Management Association. The
journal is available to all members of the IPMA at a special membership rate. For details of membership or enquires regarding the
association, please visit the web address www.impa.ch
INTERNATIONAL EDITORIAL BOARD
Prof Erling S Andersen
Norwegian School of Management
erling.s.andersen@bi.no
Prof D Arditi
Illinois Institute of Technology
arditi@iit.edu
Prof Karlos Artto
Helsinki University of Technology
karlos.artto@hut.
Assoc Prof David Baccarini
Curtin University of Technology
D.Baccarini@curtin.edu.au
Prof Bistra Boeva
Universiity for National and
World Economic Studies
boeva@apollo.netissat.bg
Prof Sergey Bushuyev
Kiev National University of
Construction and Architecture
bush@upma.freenet.kiev.ua
Prof Juan Luis Cano
University of Zaragoza
jlcano@unizar.es
M Gilles Caupin
United Nations
100661.1434@compuserve.com
Prof C B Chapman
University of Southampton
cbc@soton.ac.uk
Associate Prof Sai-On Cheung
City University of Hong Kong
bcsoc@cityu.edu.hk
Prof Lynn Crawford
University of Technology Sydney
lynn@aipm.com
Prof J David Frame
University of Management and
Technology
davidson.frame@umtweb.edu
Prof Roland Gareis
Projektmanagement Austria-Institut
roland.gareis@wu-wien.ac.at
Prof Shlomo Globerson
Tel Aviv University
globe@post.tau.ac.il
Prof Joop Halman
University of Twente
J.I.M.Halman@ctw.utwente.nl
Prof Francis Hartman
University of Calgary
fhartman@ucalgary.ca
Prof Brian Hobbs
University of Quebec in Montreal
hobbs.brian@uqam.ca
Prof Jon Lereim
Institutt for Teknologiledelse
jlerim@online.no
Prof Rolf A Lundin
Jo nko ping International
Business School
Rolf.A.Lundin@jibs.hj.se
Prof Christophe Midler
Ecole Polytechnique
midler@poly.polytechnique.fr
Dr Dragan Milosevic
Portland State University
drmilosevic@bigfoot.com
Prof Peter W G Morris
University College London
pwmorris@netcomuk.co.uk
Prof Jerey Pinto
Perm State Erie
jkp4@psu.edu
Prof Qian Fu Pei
Northwestern Polytechnical University
qianfp@nwpu.edu.cn
Dr A Sivathanu Pillai
Defence Research and Development
Organisation, New Delhi
drccp@hotmail.com
Prof Asbjrn Rolstadas
Norwegian University of Science
and Technology
asbjorn.rolstadas@ntnu.no
Prof Nigel Smith
University of Leeds
n.j.smith@leeds.ac.uk
Prof J Aaron Shenhar
Stevens Institute of Technology
ashenhar@stevens.edu
Dr Willie Tan
National University of Singapore
bdgtanw@nus.edu.sg
Dr Robert Tiong
Nanyang Technological University
CLKTIONG@ntu.edu.sg
Dr Thomas Uher
University of New South Wales
t.uher@unsw.edu.au
Prof Terry M Williams
University of Southampton
Terence.williams@strath.ac.uk
Prof Graham M Winch
Manchester Business School
graham.winch@mbs.ac.uk
Prof Khim-Teck Yeo
Nanyang Technological University
mktyeo@ntu.edu.sg
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
NOTES FOR AUTHORS
Scope
The International Journal of Project Management is devoted to
the publication of papers which advance knowledge on prac-
tical and theoretical aspects of project management. The list of
key words at the end of this guide indicates the scope of the
journal. Papers are selected for publication based on their re-
levance, clarity, topicality, the extent to which they advance
knowledge, and their contribution to inspiring further devel-
opment and research. The journal strives to maintain a balance
between papers derived from research and from practical ex-
perience. Authors are encouraged to submit case studies de-
scribing the project environment; criteria and factors for
success; responsibilities of participants; managerial arrange-
ments; human factors; contract forms; planning and control
systems; problem areas encountered and lessons learned.
Submission of Papers
Authors are requested to submit their original manuscript and
gures plus three copies to Professor .J. R. Turner, EuroProjex,
Wildwood, Manor Close, East Horsley, Surrey, KT24 6SA,
UK. (When sending revisions. only two copies are required.)
The editorial oce does not have bulk photocopying facilities
and so cannot receive papers by e-mail onlypaper versions
must be sent by post.
Submission of a paper implies that it has not been published
previously, that is not under consideration for publication
elsewhere, and that if accepted it will not be published else-
where in the same form, in English or any other language,
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Refereeing: All papers submitted for publication will be refer-
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other referees. Thus it is important that authors names should
appear nowhere in the manuscript except on the cover page
(which can be separated from the manuscript) and in refer-
ences. When referring to their own work, authors should refer
to themselves in the third person. Any papers not adhering to
this will be returned.
Manuscript Preparation
General: Manuscripts should be 3000 to 5000 words long (6000
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[1] Cooper DF. Chapman CB. Risk analysis for large projects:
models, methods and cases. New York: Wiley, I987.
[2] Potter M. Procurement of construction work: The clients
role: In: U J. Orams AM, editors. Proceedings of 7th Annual
Conference on Construction Law and Management, Kings
College, London, UK, 1995. p. 169194.
[3] Norwood SR, Manseld NR. Joint venture issues concerning
European and Asian construction markets of the 1990s. Inter-
national Journal of Project Management 1999;17(2):8993.
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Keywords
Please choose at least two key words from the following lists, as
appropriate. This will assist the editor in choosing referees, as
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General:
Implementing Strategy; Managing Programmes; Managing
Projects; Success and Strategy; Processes, Procedures; Systems.
Project Oce; Audits, Health Checks; Systems Approach.
External Context:
PEST: Legal; Environmental; Value, Benet, Finance.
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Functionality. Value; Conguration; Scope of Work; Organi-
zation Resources; Quality; Cost; Time; Risk; Safety and
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sioning and Close-out.
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tion; Insurance.
Contractual: Organization Design; Partnerships; Alliances;
Procurement; Bidding; Contract Administration; Materials,
Purchasing & Supply; Commercial Law; Claims; International
Projects.
People:
Management Structure; Teams; Individuals; Managing and
Leading; Stakeholders; Competence; Culture; Ethics; Change.
General Management:
Human resource management: Marketing; Operations; In-
formation technology; Finance and accounting; Strategy;
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Editorial
Project Management Research Conferences 2006
For the last 18 months I have been a member of a re-
search network, called Rethinking Project Management,
sponsored by the UK Government through the Engineer-
ing and Physical Sciences Research Council, and managed
by the University of Manchester. One of the premises of
the network has been that the current knowledge base of
Project Management, as reected in the guidelines to the
bodies of knowledge or project management competence
produced by professional associations in Europe, Australia
and North America, does not fully describe project man-
agement as it applies to all projects, particularly complex
projects. Thus the knowledge of project management needs
to be enhanced and extended, and that is the job of the aca-
demic community.
One of the questions that has occupied the network is
whether project management is a profession. The answer
seems to be at best, not yet. Before it can become a
profession it needs to be recognized as a proper academic
discipline, and we have not yet properly achieved that.
There are several things blocking its recognition as a
proper academic discipline. One is that it is not clear
where in the academic community it sits, in the manage-
ment faculty, engineering faculty, faculty of the built envi-
ronment or computer sciences faculty. In fact rather than
being recognized as an academic discipline in its own
right, in which case it would probably sit in the manage-
ment faculty, it remains a service subject to all the other
faculties and therefore does not achieve proper recogni-
tion. However, that is changing. At a break-out session
at the last meeting of the research network, all but one
of the academics in that syndicate were in the manage-
ment faculty. We felt that ten years ago it would have
been the other way around, (although two of us in the
room, Ralph Levene and I were in management faculties
ten years ago).
Another reason why project management cannot yet
achieve the status of a profession, and which is blocking
its recognition as an academic discipline in its own right,
is that there is no sound theory of project management.
It is empirical knowledge rather than theoretical knowl-
edge. This has been a strong theme of the network. While
I agree with it, I think that some members of the network
were more dismissive of the theory of project management
than I would be. I believe that in my books I have tried to
formulate a theory as a basis of what I write. For instance
in two books [1,2], I devote the rst chapter in each case to
outlining the theoretical basis of what follows. It may only
be an embryonic theory, but I think it exists and it is sound
(as far as it goes). To answer the critics, it was my plan next
year in my editorials to outline a theory of Project
Management.
Another thing that in the past has blocked project man-
agements recognition as an academic discipline is the lack
of academic research conferences. Most of the conferences
run by the professional institutions (particularly the Project
Management Institute and the International Project Man-
agement Association) have traditionally been aimed at
practitioners. However, that too is now changing, and dur-
ing 2006 there will be three major research conferences
either devoted to Project Management or with Project
Management as a signicant stream. These are as follows:
1. The European Academy of Management Conference,
EurAM, to be held in Oslo on 1720 May 2006, will
have a track devoted to Project Management. EurAM
is an annual conference, now in about its sixth year.
There are several dierent tracks each year, and Project
Management is the only track that has been held every
year. We are very proud of this. It places project man-
agement at the centre of a major research conference
in management. People interested in submitting papers
to the project management track can do so up until Jan-
uary 2006. For information go to the EurAM web site,
www.euram2006.no.
2. The International Research Network on Organizing by
Projects, IRNOP, will hold its seventh conference in
Xian, China in October 2006. The IRNOP conference
is held every second year. The rst was held in Sweden
in 1994, and subsequent ones have been held in France,
Canada, Sydney, The Netherlands, and Finland. This
is therefore the oldest research conference in Project
Management. The plan is to hold the eighth IRNOP
conference in 2007 and from then on hold it in odd
numbered years. People wanting to submit a paper to
0263-7863/$ - see front matter 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.10.001
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 573574
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
IRNOP VII can send an abstract up until 15th Decem-
ber 2005. For information go to the IRNOP web site,
www.irnop.org.
3. The Project Management Institute now also holds a
biennial research conference. The fourth will be held in
Montreal in 2006. Previous ones have been held in Paris,
Seattle and London. Unfortunately, by the time this edi-
torial appears the date for submitting papers will have
passed, but anybody interested in the conference can
nd information at PMIs web page, www.pmi.org.
So Project Management as an academic discipline is com-
ing of age with three major research conferences in 2006.
A nal thing that has blocked the recognition of Project
Management as a true academic discipline is the recogni-
tion aorded to the research journals. Unfortunately, the
International Journal of Project Management, IJPM, does
not appear in the Social Science Citation Index, SSCI.
Thompson, who maintain SSCI, maintain it just because
the data is useful for various purposes, but unfortunately
it has achieved a signicance in the academic community
unintended by the owners. IJPM did appear in SSCI in
the 1980s and early 1990s, but was taken out before I be-
came editor. I have reapplied for inclusion, but was told
Thompson did not need the data. IJPM does appear in
two competing citation indices, Scopus and Emerald, and
achieves a very high impact factor, approaching 2, almost
four times the norm for management journals. So the pa-
pers published in IJPM are very highly regarded by the aca-
demic community. But unfortunately IJPM may not
achieve the full recognition is deserves until it appears in
SSCI, and that may continue to damage project manage-
ment as an academic discipline, because academics in Pro-
ject Management may not achieve recognition for
promotion by publishing in the leading journal in their
eld. (Fortunately many universities do accept the recogni-
tion aorded by Scopus and Emerald.)
References
[1] Turner JR. The handbook of project based management. 2nd ed.
London: McGraw-Hill; 1999.
[2] Turner JR. The management large projects and programmes for web
delivery. Aldershot: Gower; 2004.
J. Rodney Turner
Graduate School of Management
Lille, France
E-mail address: rodneyturner@europrojex.co.uk
574 Editorial / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 573574
A memetic paradigm of project management
Stephen Jonathan Whitty
*
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Received 10 September 2004; received in revised form 8 March 2005; accepted 10 June 2005
Abstract
This paper aims to fuel the discussion on examining project management research from dierent perspectives. A new memetic
approach to project management is presented that promotes a new way to examine the discipline of project management. Project
management is claimed to be a memeplex with the language and stories of its scholars and practitioners at its core; shaping and
restricting human behaviour, and creating impoverished mental models of project management. The paper suggests that a new
memetic approach to project management will help lift restrictions imposed by the traditional research approach, and enrich our
mental maps of project management to serve us better.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Memetics; Project management research
1. Introduction
Despite decades of research and experience, project
management (PM) still fails to live up to the expectations
of stakeholders as they continue to be disappointed by
project results [13]. So derland [4] and others [5,6] argue
that a possible cause for poor project results is that schol-
ars andpractitioners still donot really understandthe nat-
ure of projects, and that too much research eort has been
directed towards clarifying the reasons for project success
and failure, while downplaying research on why projects
exist and behave as they do. Moreover, So derland [4] sug-
gests that to highlight the weaknesses of current PM re-
search we should be pursuing questions such as; Why
do project organisations exist, why do they dier, and
how do they behave? What is the function of, or value
added by, the PMunit? However, these questions still pre-
suppose that we understand what a project is, and what
the management of one means.
I believe we will not nd answers to these questions or
further our understanding of projects and their manage-
ment by using our current research approach to PM
[7,8]. I suggest a new memetic approach is required.
One that requires us to consider that most of what we
call a project and what it is to manage one is an illusion;
a human construct about a collection of feelings, expec-
tations [9], and sensations, cleverly conjured up, fash-
ioned, and conveniently labelled by the human brain.
Moreover, it requires us to consider that our reasons
for using projects and PM are not consciously driven
to maximise prot. Scholars and practitioners will be
required to consider PM as naturally occurring, self-
serving, evolving and designing organisations for its
own purpose. Abandoning our current PM knowledge
will not be required; however a memetic approach will
compel us to examine it, redirecting our attention to pre-
viously hidden aspects of PM enquiry. Rather than pos-
ing questions such as why do project organisations
exist, we can ask, what are we able to see, think, or
talk about if we conceive PM in a memetic way?
Throughout this paper I refer to a traditional
approach to PM research. Traditional meaning the
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.06.005
*
Tel.: +61 7 3365 9797; fax: +61 7 3365 4999.
E-mail address: jonw@itee.uq.edu.au.
URL: http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/~jonw.
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
current approach, with underlying mental models
which have been extended with many variations on a
theme to inform management theory [10]. These tradi-
tional models regard organisations as human con-
structs. An underlying assumption of a traditional
approach to PM research assumes that an organisation
is an entity in its own right, with structures and sys-
tems that can be changed for the purpose of organisa-
tional improvement.
In this paper I will put forward an argument for a
change from the traditional to a memetic approach to
PM research. Such an approach will make an impact
on many aspects of PM, such as; how it evolves, how
it is studied and practiced, the role of the project man-
ager, the project team and the profession. Moreover, it
will make an impact on our view of the PM body of
knowledge (BoK) and the role of project organisations.
Table 1 summarises aspects of PM that are discussed in
detail in this paper, highlighting the traditional vs.
memetic approach to PM, and emphasising the impact
of a new memetic paradigm.
2. Traditional vs. memetic approach
There is a major dierence between the traditional
approach and a memetic approach to PM research
which can be illustrated by describing the shift in scien-
tic thinking about the theory of evolution during the
mid-20th century.
Traditionally, biological evolution considered evolu-
tion occurring for the good of the species. Random ge-
netic changes produce mutations in ospring, enabling
a species to innovate and adapt to a changing environ-
ment, and natural selection eliminates unt organisms
from the landscape as a result of competing for nite
resources.
Theories of cultural evolution have drawn strong par-
allels between biological evolution and the evolution of
civilization, economy, and culture [1012]. A traditional
approach to cultural and economic evolution considers
evolution occurring for the good of the organisation
(species). Individuals (organisms) and organisations
(species) are considered to compete against each other
for nite resources and adapting to the economic land-
scape [12,13]. Fullmer [13] uses this traditional approach
when arguing that one organisational structure for suc-
cessful adaptation is the use of teams and PM.
In the mid-20th century a new selsh-gene
approach to biological evolution began that considers
evolution occurring for the good of the genes [14]. In
this approach it is the genes which are successful, or
not, at replicating and getting passed on into the next
generation. All biological life therefore, with all its com-
plexity and subtlety is driven by the replicating behav-
iour of genes.
Dawkins [14] takes this point beyond biology to cul-
tural life suggesting that all life evolves by the dieren-
tial survival of replicating entities. Moreover, he and
others [15,16] argue that there are non-biological or cul-
tural replicators memes. Memes can be considered to
be recipes or instruction manuals for doing something
cultural [15]; behaviours, words, or sounds that are cop-
ied from person to person. A memetic approach to cul-
tural and economic evolution considers evolution
occurring for the good of the memes. All cultural life
therefore, including PM, is driven by the replicating
behaviour of memes.
To apply memetic theory to PM we must treat memes
as replicators in their own right. Within the context of
Table 1
Impact of memetic approach to aspects of project management
Aspects of PM Traditional approach Memetic approach Impact of memetic approach on PM
Evolution PM evolves for the good of the
organisation and individual
PM evolves for the good of the PM
memes
PM is self-serving. It does not serve the
individual or organisation
Study and practice PMBOK

is a human construct,
consciously designed, created and
implemented
PMBOK

has evolved by memetic


selection. PMBOK

alters its
environment to increase the number of
projects
PMBOK

validity reduced
Project manager/
Project team
Strategy to implement
organisational objectives
Actors created by PM memes Traditional role of project manager is
questioned. Team creative output is a
product of memetic evolution
Profession PMI

is a human construct,
consciously designed, created and
implemented
PMI

has evolved by memetic selection


to spread PM memes
The PMI

is the way the PM memeplex


spreads PM
Knowledge creation Knowledge is constructed by a
social system (scholars and
practitioners)
Knowledge processes (memes) construct
social systems (scholars and practitioners)
A new way of questioning the bastions of
PM knowledge
Project organisations Project organisations are human
constructs, consciously designed
and created
Project organisations are created by the
replicating behaviour of PM memes
Project organisations will prevail at the
expense of the individual
576 S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583
PM, the evolution of ideas, concepts, theoretical models,
methodologies and practices are all behaviours driven
by self-interested memes. This is the major dierence
that separates a memetic approach to PM research from
more traditional theories and methodologies.
Traditionally, PM is considered to be a conscious ini-
tiative, a means for individuals or organisations to con-
trol and adapt to their environment, and to make sense
of the world in a reductionist way. Memetic theory sug-
gests that PM behaviour is driven by our interpretation
of reality; a reality largely created by the language we
use.
3. How we make sense of our world
The world is too complex for human beings to under-
stand, so we do not operate directly or immediately
upon it, but rather we create mental models or maps
of the world, and use these maps to guide our behaviour
[17,18]. Moreover, humans use a number of representa-
tional systems to build their mental maps; one of the
most signicant is language [18].
3.1. Mental models
Senge [17] suggests that these tacit mental models
exist below the level of awareness as images, assump-
tions, and stories which we carry in our minds of our-
selves, other people, institutions, and every aspect of
the world. Like an optical lens subtly distorting our vi-
sion, our mental maps determine what we see; and all of
these mental maps are awed in some way. Individuals
therefore, including practitioners and academics, have
incomplete or erroneous mental maps of PM. Moreover,
these mental maps are created by the culture they are
immersed in, and the language they use.
3.2. Language use
Words, as inuential as they may be, are really only
imperfect labels for our human experiences. Humans
are able to use social linguistics to categorise, organise,
and lter their experience. Kofman [19] suggests that
language is a medium through which we create new
understandings and new realities, as we begin to talk
about them. While a speaker creates language, language
is also creating the speaker. In fact, we do not talk about
what we see; we see only what we can talk about. Our
language therefore shapes the landscape of our mental
maps; and our mental maps lter our experience and
subsequently shape our language use.
Bandler [18] illustrates an example of this by describ-
ing how the human mind converts a sensation into a
thing. In the ordinary sentence: The book is blue. Blue
is the name that we, as native speakers of English, have
learned to use to describe our experience of a certain
portion of the continuum of visible light. Misled by
the structure of our language, we come to assume that
blue is a property of the object that we refer to as book
rather than being the name which we have given our
sensation.
I suggest the human brain has similarly misled us
with PM. The language of the Project Management
Institute (PMI

) through its Guide to the Project Man-


agement Body of Knowledge (PMBOK

Guide) [20]
denes a project in terms of its distinctive characteristics
a project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to
create a unique product or service. In this context, tem-
porary means a limited period of time, and unique
means that the product or service is dierent in some
distinguishing way from others. In this denition a pro-
ject is described as a collection of characteristic or attri-
butes. However, neither the notion of a limited time
period, nor uniqueness is a noun. The attributes of a
project are all highly subjective. Projects are simply a
synthesis of human sensation and expectations about
how multiple resources are to be used. Viewing a project
this way enlightens us to the fact that neither manager,
team members, nor stakeholders are driving the project;
the project is driving them.
4. Impact on study and practice of project management
As scholars, it is crucial that we recognise and
acknowledge how the language used by PM scholars
and practitioners is constructing our mental model of
projects and PM [21], restricting what we observe by
the language they employ. In an implicit manner, the
knowledge of the PM community has already set a
course for our line of enquiry, subtly directing our atten-
tion to concepts and practices deemed critical. New dis-
coveries made in traditional PM research are therefore
described in terms of, and with reference to, our gener-
ally accepted professional guide, such as the PMBOK

Guide. Memetically, the PMBOK

Guide is considered
to be a vehicle for recording and propagating a recipe
for creating projects. It and other popular PM books
[2225] structured around the PMBOK

, are reposito-
ries for memes in the form of ideas, methodologies,
and stories that have survived memetic selection, and
are copied from one person to another in the long his-
tory of human attempts to understand and organise
the world. The stories we construct to make sense of
our experience, to give meaning to our actions and
thoughts, are stories we have learned to construct [26].
These learnt PM stories, I suggest, are determined by
the memes of PM scholars and practitioners. One story
is that of the project plan, which traditionally serves the
project manager as a map of the route from project start
to nish [22]. However, memetics provides us with an
S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583 577
alternative view of the project plan, exposing it as a lan-
guage lter, limiting the project managers experience
and restricting their description of the project and its
progress to generally accepted PM terms in an existen-
tial manner.
Traditionally the PMBOK

is considered to be con-
sciously designed, created and implemented. Memeti-
cally it has evolved by memetic selection. This
presupposes no design, only the appearance of it. More-
over, the PMBOK

through its application by practitio-


ners is altering its environment to secure its own
survival. It does this by inuencing how practitioners
are taught, and how organisations are constructed so
as to increase the number of projects created. Having
exposed the PMBOK

as self-serving its validity as a


useful tool to individual practitioners must be ques-
tioned. The language (memes) of the PMBOK

and
the behaviour it drives must be examined by a memetic
approach. Doing so, we will enrich our mental model of
the discipline of PM, and make visible that which had
previously been outside of our collective awareness.
5. Impact on views of project managers and project teams
Kloppenborg and Opfer [27] highlight how PM is
used in all aspects and areas of commerce and industry,
and predict this trend is likely to continue. They suggest
this increase is a genuine focus by executive manage-
ment to improve their chances for success in both re-
turn-on-investment and in the quick and economic
development and release of new products and services
to the marketplace. Moreover, they suggest that the
role of the project manager will be vital to the imple-
mentation of corporate strategies and objectives.
Traditionally, the role of project manager is someone
who consciously negotiates with project stakeholders,
keeps the peace among team members, and tries to keep
calm while all around them is chaos; while budgets and
Gantt charts are not the main parts of the role [22].
Whilst the purpose of the project manager is to normal-
ise conict to a level where it is socially approved, the
upwardly mobile project manager needs crisis to be
managed and unique and special events to display a
presence [28].
Memetically, the role of project manager is a product
(actor) of all the memes that have successfully entered
the adaptive organisation [13] memeplex (a term used
by Speel [29] for groups of memes that replicate better
as a group). In this context the project managers role
is that of a copying machine, copying memes such as;
time is money [30], fail to plan is a plan to fail [31],
the project life cycle [32], and Tuchmans [33] team-
development sequence, and all this and more in a select
environment, in a vast evolutionary process driven by
competing memes. A memetic approach would enable
the project manager meme to be examined and the
role of project manager to be questioned. In the future
the value of such a role might be greatly reduced if the
memes that create the environment of conict required
for the role of project manager to exist were to be iden-
tied and removed by tter memes.
Traditionally, eective teamwork is seen as a key suc-
cess factor in deriving a competitive advantage on the
organisational landscape [13,34]. A team can be de-
scribed as a social construct, a group of individuals
who have come together for a denite purpose [35].
When asked to talk about their project team project
managers inevitably talk about the skills and attributes
of the individual members. The PMBOK

Guide sup-
ports this expression by presenting information as if
the parts of a team are the sum total of its existence.
However, we cannot grasp the functionality of the whole
by just looking at its parts [36]. Similarly, we cannot
describe the eectiveness, character, and culture of a
project team by describing its individual members.
There is no such thing as human nature independent
of culture suggests Geertz [37].
Memetically, project teams are an eective means of
replicating, evolving, and spreading PM memes. The
role of the project team is critical to the whole project
process. However, the teams creative role can no longer
be considered to be the sum of independent thinkers cre-
ating new ideas and solutions. Rather the project team is
a copying machine, part of a vast evolutionary process,
driven by the competition between PM memes. Does
this mean that the project team is somehow on auto-
matic pilot, a servant to the memes? I suggest not. A cre-
ative role for the project team still exists. A deep
misunderstanding of Darwinian thinking is the idea that
whenever a human phenomenon is given an evolution-
ary explanation, whether it be genes or memes, we must
deny that people think [15]. Thinking is crucial! PM
memes cannot be put through the test of memetic selec-
tion on their own; they require their human hosts to run
the evolutionary algorithm to think. Memes are tools
for thinking, and they have to be used in order for them
to generate behaviour [15]. Memetically, we can view
any creative output of a project team to be the result
of an evolutionary algorithm, where memes are commu-
nicated, mutated, and undergo the process of memetic
selection.
6. Project management memes: A holistic view
Dawkins [14] argues that knowledge actively pursues
goals of its own. This view is called memetics, the ow of
ideas (memes) from one mind to another. The Oxford
English Dictionary denes a meme as an element of
culture that may be considered to be passed on by
non-genetic means, especially imitation. Memetics
578 S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583
presupposes that knowledge can be transmitted from
one subject to another, and thereby loses its dependence
on any single individual [38]. Instead of seeing knowl-
edge as constructed by a social system, as social con-
structivism would [39], memetics denes social systems
as constructed by knowledge processes.
To understand the meme paradigm or meme view
in a natural sense it is necessary to suspend our normal
model of the world. For example, consider a song as
something that competes with other memes for access
to the human brain. Once whistled, the meme has suc-
cessfully replicated and achieved its purpose. Memes
of course are not conscious, so they do not construct
strategies to replicate, in the same way that genes are
not conscious. Biologists however, nd it useful to con-
struct a metaphor that considers genes as active agents
strategising to replicate themselves, but in reality, natu-
ral selection preserves those genes that happen to act as
if they are pursuing a strategy. The human mind, like it
or not, is a host and breeding ground for memes [1416].
7. A better approach: Project management memeplex
Conceptualising PM as a memeplex presents scholars
and practitioners with new ways of seeing and thinking
about projects and their management, consequently pro-
viding new contexts for action in which individuals and
organisations can express themselves and act. Previously
hidden dimensions of PM can be exposed, and memes
that are true or useful can be isolated from those that
are false and misleading.
One characteristic of a memeplex is that false memes
get copied along with true memes, as memes do not need
to be true to be successful [16]. A memetic approach will
highlight what in our current PM knowledge is based on
fact, tradition, or authority. Moreover, it will enable us
to discover the memes that are involved in creating PM
behaviour.
The PM memeplex has a legacy of memes from its
roots in construction and continues to absorb economic
and nancial memes which posses great authority in
capitalist societies. An example of this is the bottom
line meme which is particularly dominant in manage-
ment conversations. Moreover, organisational experts
use memes such as; assets-to-liabilities, return-
on-investment, return-on-equity, after-tax-prot.
All of these are regarded as established means of deter-
mining whether an organisation is t and healthy.
Frame [40] suggests that for the eld of PM to evolve
into the mainstream of corporate management, new
project managers will have to be versed in both the
nancial implications, and the return-on-investment,
of the project endeavour. I suggest that a memetic ap-
proach to PM will uncover that a large amount of
memes in the PM memeplex are today being generated
and replicated by University Business Schools. More-
over, as we continue to dene organisational success in
monetary terms our education systems (tertiary and sec-
ondary) seem more naturally an extension of corporate
training [28]. Hewlett-Packards Mission: Project Man-
agement (MPM) is an example of this which uses a busi-
ness-based model to teach school teachers and student
task scheduling, group roles and responsibilities, time
and project management [41]. Left unchecked, the man-
agerialist memes will drown out non-management
perspectives and stories.
8. Impact on the project management profession
A memeplex characteristic of PM is evident in the
formation and membership of PM institutes and their
journal publications. PM is nding its own feet in the
world through its institutions, carefully dening its
boundaries and establishing its knowledge base [42].
The Australian Institute of Project Management
(AIPM) is a case in point. To be a member one needs
to demonstrate at least ve years relevant experience
in PM (but not necessarily as a Project Manager) and
have a minimum standard of education, or have success-
fully completed a PM course recognised or accredited by
the AIPM [43]. Either way, an AIPM member is almost
swearing an oath to, or declaring a belief in, the accep-
tance of PM knowledge as dened by its membership. In
reality, individual project managers and project organi-
sation may come and go, but the memeplex called PM
continues to create our language and shape the land-
scape of our individual and collective mental maps. This
is an example of the PM memeplex altering its envi-
ronment in a way that increases the chances of it being
replicated. It does this by imbedding within itself
instructions to pass it on [44], and by describing itself
as indispensable to those who use it [45,46]. Moreover,
the PM memeplex incorporates useful laws for business
conduct such as professional ethics [22,47,48] that bind
its practitioners into its professional community and
consequently enhance their commitment to the profes-
sion [49].
A memetic approach to PM uncovers the missions of
institutions such as PMI

and AIPM, which are to


spread PM, shaping the behaviour of their membership,
reconstruct organisations to facilitate this, and all this
without paying attention to the needs of its individual
members.
9. Impact of memes on creating knowledge
A traditional evolutionary approach to knowledge
building in the context of a project environment is that
the construction of knowledge is an ongoing process at
S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583 579
many dierent levels biological, physiological, and
social. It happens through a variation of existing pieces
of knowledge and the selective retention of those which
are new, which somehow contribute to the survival of
subjects in their given environment [50]. Any absolutism
or permanence disappears in this approach however;
knowledge is still a passive tool developed by subjects
(project managers or team members in the project con-
text) to help them in their quest.
A memetic approach is very dierent. Memes are
considered to use biological, physiological, and social
systems to their own advantage as copying mechanisms,
helping them replicate and spread. In this light, the PM
community, its body of knowledge, and even the role of
a project manager and project team is a product con-
structed by an ongoing evolution of independent frag-
ments of knowledge competing for position and
dominance.
As previously mentioned, memes entrench notions or
beliefs in the human mind even though they may be false
[16]. False however is not the same as bad for the be-
liever. Merediths [51] popular teaching of PM still puts
forward the notion of the project life cycle, however
Gersick [52,53] strongly suggests that projects do not
really evolve in this manner. This is a good example of
the project life cycle meme at work, spreading even
though it may be false. Traditionally, the project life cy-
cle considers projects to be born, grow, wane, and die,
rather like a living organism [22,25]. However, a meme-
tic approach would show the project life cycle meme to
be a metaphor that illustrates how natural, organic, and
non-threatening the practice of PM is; leaving us feeling
safe, secure, and somehow familiar with the process, and
open-minded to receive more PM memes. Another
meme which may be false is Tuckmans [33] ve-stage
team-development sequence, still struggling for our
attention since it has been proved to be an outdated or
limited representation of reality [52]. A memetic ap-
proach gives us a new way of questioning the bastions
of our PM knowledge.
10. Impact on organisations
Our human ability to mull over endless possibilities,
to deal with distractions and still keep multiple goals
and plans in mind, appears mostly to have grown out
of a simple expansion in brain size [54]. Blackmore
[16] suggests that our enormous human brain size has
been created by memes, a product of genetic and meme-
tic evolution. Projects and PM are therefore natural
occurrences, and appear more and more in organisa-
tions not because of conscious boardroom decisions
but because PM is an ancient product of our evolved hu-
man predisposition. PM is literally in our human and
cultural nature. So derland [4] asks why do project
organisations exist? Memetically, organisations have
no choice in the matter if they are to roam around on
the economic landscape of the future.
Fulmers [13] research illustrates that a growing num-
ber of organisations are recognising that they are ven-
turing into new, unfamiliar territory, and need to
enrich their mental maps of the business landscape. He
suggests that these adaptive organisations successfully
use teams and PM as one structure to gain competitive
advantage. An alternative memetic approach is that
PM is shaping organisations for its own purpose, as
memes about how to increase prots by delivering pro-
jects successfully begin to ood the organisational
meme-pool. Project organisations may eventually domi-
nate the economic landscape at the cost of creating
highly unstable temporary work environments for indi-
viduals. We need to be aware of the memes in the organ-
isational meme-pool and promote those that are
benecial to individuals.
11. New directions and questions for future research
Memetics allows us to describe how all human cul-
tural behaviour, including PM, is driven by the same
replicating process that drives the biological world. I
suggest a new memetic research direction in the disci-
pline of PM with the purpose to study, describe, and
explain the memetic phenomena of PM in society, how
it develops, spreads, and drives human behaviour.
Traditional PM research directions need not be aban-
doned, rather examined in a new way from a memetic
perspective. Pinto [55] suggests in his review of the cur-
rent state of PM thinking that benchmarking and PM
BoK unication are two principle directions in which
traditional research has been evolving.
11.1. Benchmarking
Benchmarking refers to the search for best practice to
allow industry to gain the advantage of a shorter learn-
ing time. Memetic research could identify and isolate the
best practice memes in the PM memeplex and memet-
ically engineer them to be easily absorbed into any
organisational structure. All organisations would then
be able to gain the advantage of a shorter learning time.
11.2. PM BoK unication
Morris [56] illustrates the need for unication of
all BoKs if the acceptance of PM among global
organisations is to grow. A memetic approach views this
unication as a survival of the ttest competition
between PM memes, each one altering their environ-
ment to increase their chances of being replicated.
Examples of this would be opening institutional
580 S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583
membership to anyone willing to pay the subscription;
accrediting PM courses, text books, and professional
certication; conferences; online resources; publishing
journals, and even sponsoring a research study to inves-
tigate the challenges of selling PM to senior executives
[44].
11.3. Questions for future research
I envisage a memetic paradigm of PM opening up the
eld of enquiry of PM. Future memetic research in this
discipline could, as a starting point, pursue the follow
two questions further.
11.4. Why do people individually and collectively believe
in project management?
Fulmer [13] considers PM to be one of the ingredients
of the glue that holds the social structure of an adaptive
organisation together. Spectator sports are memes.
Sport, like PM, provides individuals with a sense of
identity; it provides a common bond and united sense
of purpose. Why do so many believe in PM? My premise
is that PM appears to answer all sorts of human ques-
tions in the organisational setting such as; why are we
doing this? Winch [57] suggests that a clear mission is
essential for eective PM. However, he also points out
that missions are rarely truly clear as they are inevitably
politicized and a result of complex negotiations and
trade-os [58]. In this instance the PM mission or
vision meme creates a feeling of purpose, but it is
really only another story we learn to tell about the pro-
ject. Further memetic research may uncover why we
need to tell such stories.
11.5. Why does project management spread?
Traditionally, PM knowledge may pass from person
to person by explicit means such as books, the internet,
narratives, or academics teaching in university pro-
grammes. All these products and services are created
by people to make our business lives easier and our
organisations more productive. In a somewhat coun-
ter-intuitive way Blackmore [16] suggests that memetic
selection created them. A memetic answer is that all
PM books, websites, courses, software, and professional
institutions have evolved as a result of competition
between memes.
Too much research in the reasons for project success
and failure has been blamed for poor project performance
[46]. Evaluating project performance has many dimen-
sions [59,60], however a list of why projects fail can be eas-
ily found [2,3,61]. Ask a group of PM practitioners why
do projects fail? and a consensus quickly develops. Such
lists appear in the rst chapters of many mainstream PM
books and course notes. The why do projects fail meme
is strong. Some of the content of such a list may be sup-
ported by empirical evidence, some may be a story we
have learnt to tell. A memetic approach to PM is as inter-
ested in the idea of such a list andwhy it gets copied, as it is
the content of the list that generates behaviour. There is
nodoubt that the actual contents of the list will suer from
errors as it gets copied across dierent media, in dierent
context, over time. However, the meme why do projects
fail continues to spread. The meme why do projects
succeed would be more powerful at creating positive
and constructive behaviour for individuals and organisa-
tions, but the meme why doprojects fail wins the meme-
tic selection race. I suggest it wins by praying on our fears.
Fear of uncertainty and of making the wrong decisions,
fear of criticism or rejection for not conforming; or fear
of failure and of appearing unprofessional [62]. Based
on evolutionary psychology [63], Brodie [64] suggests that
memes spreadfaster whenthey appeal tofundamental hu-
man instincts such as danger, food, and sex. Moreover, he
suggests we have buttons around these subjects. Per-
haps a memetic approach to PM research will show that
PM spread because it presses our danger buttons.
12. Concluding remarks
This paper has called on scholars and practising pro-
fessionals of the discipline of PM to be aware of the
mental models they use when conducting research or
practising PM. I have put forward the case that the cur-
rent traditional approach to PM research is distorting
the reality of projects, and shifting our focus away from
the important aspects of projects, their management,
and how PM inuences us individually and collectively.
I suggest that a memetic paradigm of PM be consid-
ered when indulging in this eld of enquiry, and that a
new memetic approach is initiated with the purpose of
studying, describing, and explaining the phenomena of
the PM memeplex and its impact on society.
My purpose for drawing attention to the PM meme-
plex is not simply to justify it, but to alert us to it. Not
that we will be able to overcome it, as I do not believe
we are able to step out of the evolutionary process and
take it over. Rather that we should be aware of the illu-
sions the PM memes create, try to identify those that
more closely describe reality, and observe or create envi-
ronments where memes other than those in the PM
memeplex can evolve.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank the anonymous referees for
their valuable and constructive comments on previous
versions of this paper.
S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583 581
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S.J. Whitty / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 575583 583
Understanding internally generated risks in projects
Richard B. Barber
*
School of Aerospace Civil and Mechanical Engineering, University College, University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT, 2600, Australia
Received 2 November 2004; received in revised form 1 February 2005; accepted 17 May 2005
Abstract
This paper identies a class of risk that is common, important and yet poorly managed in projects. Internally generated risks arise
within a project management team or its host organisation, from their management systems, culture and decisions. Even when a
project applies recognised risk management processes, and seems to be managing its risks well, research demonstrates that internally
generated risks are a dierent matter altogether. This calls into question how such risks can be managed, and whether current risk
management practices need to be changed.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Risk; Systems approach; Health checks; Maturity; Implementation
1. Introduction
When a project team has fewer sta than it needs to
operate eectively, struggles to deal with bureaucratic
nancial constraints, or is not supported by higher man-
agement, the project is likely to be less successful and
may even fail. These are sources of risk to the project,
but they cannot be blamed on the external world, nor
on the nature of the task. They arise from how the pro-
ject and its host organisation are set up and operate.
They are internally generated risks (IGR).
2. Internally generated risks
In seeking to understand internally generated risks,
we need rst to know what we mean by the word risk.
Denitions vary widely, but risk is most commonly de-
ned in terms of uncertainty such as the chance of
something happening that will have an impact on objec-
tives [8]. This is a narrow use of the word, useful when
we are concerned with the risk of something happening.
When we talk about the greatest risk or we say that we
have a signicant risk, we mean more than its probabil-
ity we are also considering the nature of the possible
impact. Applying that broader meaning in the context
of projects, the denition of risk used in this paper is:
A risk is a threat to project success, where the nal impact
upon project success is not certain.
Provided that there is some uncertainty in whether
the threat will eventuate, some uncertainty in the nature
of the possible impact on the project, or both, then a risk
exists. Given this, we can dene internally generated
risks (IGR):
Internally generated risks are those risks that have their
origin within the project organisation or its host, arising
from their rules, policies, processes, structures, actions,
decisions, behaviours or cultures.
For example, if a project task is assigned to a project
manager who lacks appropriate experience or skills, the
likelihood of project success will be reduced. The deci-
sion to assign an inexperienced manager creates risk
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.05.006
*
Present address: 20 Gardonia Place, Albany Creek, Queensland
4035, Australia. Tel.: +61 7 3325 4110; fax: +61 2 4959 9465.
E-mail address: barberrb@bigpond.net.au.
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
for the project and since that decision was taken within
the host organisation, the risk is by denition an IGR.
Some risks may appear to be internally generated but
in fact are inherent to the nature of the project. For
example, creating a breakthrough new technology car-
ries a risk of failure simply because it is pushing the
boundaries of what is possible. That risk would apply
to any project team, in any organisation, that was trying
to do the same work. It is inherent in the nature of the
work and does not arise from the rules, policies, pro-
cesses, structures, actions, decisions, behaviours or cul-
tures of the project organisation or its host.
Fig. 1 illustrates a total possible set of risks, including
IGR [3]. A risk cannot be both externally generated and
internally generated they are mutually exclusive cate-
gories. Similarly, a risk also cannot be both inherent
and internally generated.
Internally generated risks may take many forms, but
from the denition it seems likely that many will arise
from or involve human behaviour. Even when the direct
source of an IGR seems to lie in the operation of a pro-
cess or from a structure, people are likely to be involved
to some extent because it is people who design, own and
operate structures and processes. If human behaviour is
often involved, we might also expect that many IGRs
will be dicult to quantify in terms of probability and
impact. Human behaviour involves hidden factors such
as mental models, beliefs and values that have to be in-
ferred from behaviour. They can only ever be partially
understood by outside observers. This means that pre-
dicting human actions, decisions or other behaviour is
problematic, making estimates of risk where humans
are involved, subjective and unreliable [9].
3. The research
There is a large body of research into risk in projects,
and a good deal of that research includes dealing with
risks where human behaviour is involved. For example,
McLucas [11] investigated projects that failed and found
that many of the causes of failure were linked to human
behaviour. Flyvberg et al. [13] discuss the same issues on
a larger scale, in his study of megaprojects. However,
very little research is available that is focused specically
on how and why risks arise internally, how they are
managed, and whether this is signicant. Gilbreath [2]
discusses such risks and their impacts, but does not ap-
pear to base that discussion on empirical research. Con-
row [9] spends time categorising and considering risk
types, but does not identify those arising internally as
a category in their own right.
A literature search indicates that there has been little
research on internally generated risk as a specic cate-
gory of risk. For this reason, the research hypotheses
to be tested were designed as a rst step in understand-
ing IGRs. They were:
1. Hypothesis 1. Internally generated risks are common.
2. Hypothesis 2. Internally generated risks are
signicant.
3. Hypothesis 3. Internally generated risks are poorly
managed.
4. Hypothesis 4. The amount of internally generated
risk in a project is related to how eective it is as a
project organisation (its maturity).
Research was conducted on nine projects three pro-
jects in each of the three organisations in Australia and
New Zealand. Each project was large enough to require
three or more permanent sta and each had a schedule
lasting more than 12 months. Five involved civil engi-
neering construction, one was a technology enhance-
ment project, two were internal systems improvement
projects and one was a software development project.
Clearly nine projects of four types cannot be claimed
to fully represent all possible projects. However, they
are considered to be suciently diverse to be a reason-
able basis for a general discussion about IGRs, and
whether further research is warranted.
Risk data were gathered using group workshops and
one-on-one condential interviews, seeking to document
the views of a range of project stakeholders on a range
of issues related to a key question, which was: What
makes it hard for you to succeed in your role in your pro-
ject, or for the project to succeed as a whole? This was
deliberately an open question, allowing a wide range
of responses. The use of workshops and condential
interviews provided the opportunity for responses to
arise in dierent ways, including the freedom to
acknowledge issues that were too sensitive to discuss
in the open forum.
The data gathered were examined in detail, every
identied risk was cataloged, and an initial assessment
of that risk carried out against the denition of IGR.
Risks that were provisionally identied as IGRs were
then mapped in detail using a risk mapping technique
developed from the concept mapping work of Novak
[15], McLucas [11] and Callison [12], and assessed
The Total Set of
Risks to Success
Inherent
and
Externally
Generated
Risks
Internally
Generated
Risks
Fig. 1. Distinction between internally generated, inherent, and exter-
nally generated risks.
R.B. Barber / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590 585
against a further set of criteria. After this process,
those risks conrmed as IGRs were assessed for their
probability and impact, and treatment measures were
identied and mapped. Each risk map and the under-
standing it represented became part of the basis for
the analysis that followed later.
A concern during the research was that much of the
data gathered were subjective and could be biased by
the project stakeholders, by the research method or by
the researchers own involvement. A number of steps
were taken to protect the results against this possibility.
One was to ensure that at every stage of the process of
data gathering and analysis, project stakeholders had
the nal say. This meant that the content of the risk
maps and the data developed for nal analysis were in
a large part outside the control of the researcher.
For example, one perceived risk was that the number
of IGRs might be unintentionally inated. To reduce
this problem, each internally generated risk was assessed
for its likelihood and impact and this was translated into
an overall risk rating on a ve point scale: very low, low,
moderate, high and extreme. Those risks that fell into
the bottom rating were rejected as trivial risks, for
the purpose of the analysis. Further, IGRs where exter-
nal or inherent sources contributed 50% or more to the
risk rating were also discarded.
The last of the hypotheses required that a project
management maturity survey be conducted. The survey
method involved a two-part questionnaire, lled in by
project stakeholders. The rst part was an overall matu-
rity assessment against a ve point scale, similar to the
scales used by Morris [10] and by Checkland and Ireland
[4]. The second part was a project performance assess-
ment against the nine elements of project management
espoused by the PMI and by many other project man-
agement organisations [5].
3.1. Hypothesis 1. Internally generated risks are common
If we assume that no project organisation is perfect in
all of its rules, policies, processes, structures, actions,
decisions, behaviours or cultures then every project
organisation will have some risks arising internally. In
fact most organisations are involved in a constant strug-
gle to improve their rules, policies, processes, structures,
actions, decisions, behaviours or cultures. That being so,
we might expect to nd that IGRs are common.
The control measures taken to ensure that unin-
tended bias did not invalidate the analysis, tended to
limit the total number of IGRs. As well, the time avail-
able for risk identication was limited. Given this, it can
be assumed that not all IGRs were identied, and that
the numbers shown in Table 1 are conservative. Despite
those restrictions, the smallest number of non-trivial
IGR identied in any of the nine projects was 15, and
the highest was 30.
The criterion for testing Hypothesis 1 was dened as:
Internally generated risks are common if the mean number
of such risks in projects is 10 or greater per project.
Applying the null hypothesis and the t-distribution
for small samples, the data from Table 1 indicate that
there is less than a 1% chance that the mean number
of IGRs in projects are less than 10. That is, against
the test criterion, we can conclude with some condence
that internally generated risks are common in projects.
This condence is boosted by the knowledge that the
number of IGRs shown in Table 1 are conservative.
3.2. Hypothesis 2. Internally generated risks are
signicant
Complex projects need all the help they can get and
may fail if internal management systems and behaviour
are less than optimised for the purpose. For example,
any project can fail if insucient resources are applied,
if senior management does not play its part, or if com-
peting priorities are allowed to get in the way [6]. It
seems likely that IGRs can be powerful in their impact
upon the likelihood of project success, even sometimes
outweighing all other sources of risk.
Table 2 shows the number of risks rated as high or ex-
treme. High risks are dened as those that have at least a
10% chance of causing a 30% blowout in schedule, cost
Table 1
Frequency of non-trivial internally generated risks identied by project
Project Number of non-trivial IGR
1 30
2 20
3 21
4 24
5 20
6 15
7 16
8 16
9 16
Table 2
Number of high or extreme IGR identied by project
Project Number of
non-trivial IGR
Number of
high or extreme IGR
1 30 19 (63%)
2 20 7 (35%)
3 21 18 (86%)
4 24 15 (62%)
5 20 19 (95%)
6 15 2 (13%)
7 16 8 (50%)
8 16 8 (50%)
9 16 9 (56%)
586 R.B. Barber / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590
or performance. Extreme risks have at least a 10%
chance of causing the total collapse of the project and
or at least a 20% chance of a 30% blowout in schedule
cost or performance. After applying these denitions,
the test criterion for Hypothesis 2 was:
Internally generated risks are signicant if the mean num-
ber of IGRs rated high or extreme in projects is ve or
greater per project.
Using the data shown in Table 2, and applying the
null hypothesis and the t-distribution for small samples,
there is less than a 1% chance that the mean of the num-
ber of high or extreme IGRs in projects is less than ve.
That is, against the test criterion, we can conclude with
some condence that internally generated risks are sig-
nicant in projects.
3.3. Hypothesis 3. Internally generated risks are poorly
managed
If project risk management is eective the majority
of risks to success should be identied, understood
and managed [1]. Here, managed does not mean
that risks have been reduced to any specic level
only that deliberate management action has taken
place to manage the risk. Even after management ac-
tion, the level of any specic risk might remain high
or extreme.
On the assumption that high and extreme risks al-
ways require a management decision, only those IGRs
rated as high or extreme have been included in Table 3.
Removing lesser risks removes IGRs that may not have
been treated simply because they were not important en-
ough to warrant attention. This reduces the possibility
of ination of an assessment of the number of unman-
aged risks. Each remaining internally generated risk
was then reviewed to assess:
had it been identied by the project team prior to the
research?
was it documented and reported in any recognised
way prior to the research?
at the time of the research, had a management deci-
sion been made on how to treat the risk and was that
treatment being implemented?
The test criterion for Hypothesis 3 was:
Internally generated risks are poorly managed if the mean
percentage of high or extreme IGR being treated or man-
aged eectively in projects is less than 75%.
Using the data in Table 3, and applying the null
hypothesis and the t-distribution for small samples,
there is less than a 1% chance that the mean percentage
of high or extreme IGRs being eectively managed is
equal or greater than 75%. That is, against the test crite-
rion, we can conclude with condence that internally
generated risks are poorly managed in projects.
3.4. Hypothesis 4. The amount of internally generated risk
in a project is related to how eective it is as a project
organisation (its maturity)
Project management maturity models are used as
benchmarking tools and to focus improvement eorts
[4]. Often, they assess project management capability
or performance against the elements of project man-
agement for example, the nine knowledge areas de-
scribed in the Guide to the PMBOK [5]. The results
are then collated or mapped, to assign a score against
a dened set of maturity levels [4]. Such models can be
adapted in detail to match a particular type of project
and context, or they can be broad and generic. It is dif-
cult for them to be both at once, and in practice this
means that maturity models have to be used with
caution.
According to Hypothesis 4, a highly mature project
organisation generates relatively less risk for itself than
does an organisation that is less mature. The implication
is that an inverse correlation exists between project man-
agement maturity and the level of internally generated
risk. If this is true, is should be evident from the data.
In order to provide a measure of the total internally
generated project risk, each non-trivial IGR was as-
signed a score of 15 according to its risk rating, then
the scores were summed for each project. This provides
a set of nine data points as a relative measure of total
IGR. The raw scores were scaled, for ease of comparison
with maturity.
Maturity was assessed using a survey questionnaire of
each projects stakeholders in two parts. The rst part
was an assessment of maturity on a scale of 15, against
a denition for each level. The second part assessed per-
formance against each of the nine elements of the pro-
ject management identied in the PMBOK (5). Both
forms gave results for the maturity assessment in the
Table 3
Identication, documentation and treatment of IGRs
Project High or
extreme IGR
Previously
identied
Documented
or reported
Treated or
managed
1 19 6 1 3
2 7 5 5 4
3 18 9 2 2
4 15 9 2 2
5 19 13 11 4
6 2 2 0 0
7 8 6 3 1
8 8 3 3 1
9 9 6 2 1
Total 105 59 29 18
R.B. Barber / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590 587
range 15, where 5 represents a highly mature and eec-
tive project management organisation. These results
were then averaged, to provide a single maturity rating
for each project. Both maturity and total IGR are
shown in Fig. 2.
To test for correlation, a non-parametric test using
the rank correlation coecient (Spearman rank) and
the t-distribution for small samples was used, to exam-
ine the null hypothesis that there is no correlation
between the two sets of data. The rank correlation coef-
cient was calculated as 0.55, indicating a possible
negative correlation. The signicance of the correlation
was assessed by calculating the t value. This indicated
that the null hypothesis can be rejected at a 80% con-
dence level, but cannot be rejected at 90%. That is, there
is some reason to believe that in projects there is a neg-
ative correlation between total IGR and maturity. How-
ever, condence is not as high as we would like, and this
should be taken as an indication only.
4. Interpretation of results
Although the nine projects are a small sample, the
data indicate strongly that internally generated risks
are common, signicant and poorly managed. This
should be of concern, since projects are pervasive in
society today [13].
There are many reasons why IGRs may not be man-
aged well. The rst is that risks involving people tend to
be sensitive to talk about and dicult to resolve. For
example, if a manager is not good at his job or micro-
manages subordinates, this will create risk to the organi-
sations success [7]. From experience, we also know that
in such cases it is likely that people will simply put up
with the problems created, rather than face the sensitive
task of seeking management action. It is even less likely
that such risks will be openly documented in formal risk
management systems. To do so, would be to cause af-
front not only to the manager in question, but also to
their manager who is accountable to identify and re-
solve such performance issues.
Risks can be sensitive for other reasons. If a project is
under-resourced, sta are being overworked or an inter-
nal process is ineective then risks will be created.
Although not directly about people, such sources of risk
are often linked to a decision or policy that is owned
by someone the person who approved the project de-
spite a lack of resources, the person who is demanding
more work than is possible, or the owner of the ineec-
tive process or rule. These internally generated sources
of risk may be known and discussed, but in many organ-
isations they are unlikely to be documented in a risk
register. To do so might be seen as insensitive or provoc-
ative, or simply as politically inappropriate.
Internal risks are also often seen as a fait accompli
such as when a project manager is told to just do it
despite having inadequate resources to do the work
properly. If there is no real possibility of the problem
being resolved, then there is little incentive to document
it as a risk. Reporting such risks may also be seen as
being provocative or recalcitrant as making a political
point at the cost of the manager involved.
Finally, internally generated risks are often intangi-
ble, and therefore not easily quantied. They do not
lend themselves to being managed using risk processes
that rely upon quantifying and classifying risks. Manag-
ers may also feel uncomfortable trying to describe, as-
sess and classify risks that are about human
relationships, culture or behaviour. It may also be seen
as a waste of time to bother documenting issues that
are intangible or that are thought unlikely to be man-
aged. Ultimately, these issues mean that internally gen-
erated risks are less likely to be managed properly.
5. The implications for managers
The rst implication for managers is that they should
be concerning themselves more with the management of
internally generated risks. This is reinforced by the re-
search of McLucas, who showed that the lack of under-
standing and hence lack of eective management of such
risks is a common feature of avoidable disasters [11]. A
plausible implication not tested here, is that poor man-
agement of IGRs is a contributing factor to avoidable
disasters in projects.
A second issue for managers is how to investigate and
treat IGRs. For the research, a new risk mapping tech-
nique was developed in order to be able to deal with the
complexity of the risks involved. It was also possible to
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Level of IGR
Maturity Rating
Project Number (arranged in increasing level of IGR)
R
a
t
i
n
g

o
r

L
e
v
e
l
6 9 7 8 2 5 3 4 1
Fig. 2. Project management maturity related to total internally
generated risk.
588 R.B. Barber / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590
conduct condential interviews to gather data that
otherwise may not have been forthcoming. A manager
may have neither the necessary tools and skills, nor
the opportunity, to investigate IGRs eectively.
The maturity survey results were not strongly conclu-
sive, but did provide some support for the intuitively
obvious link between how well an organisation is set
up (its maturity) and the amount of internally generated
risk it faces. If this inverse relationship is correct, work-
ing to remove the sources of internally generated risk
also means working to increase project management
maturity. This is an exciting prospect, since it oers a
way of using risk analysis to support the development
of organisational capability, without the current reliance
on benchmarking [14]. Since it is inherently context sen-
sitive, the risk analysis of internally generated risks may
be able to drive rapid organisational responses to
changes in the environment.
6. Implications for risk management as a discipline
The research outcomes raise questions for profes-
sional risk managers and for those who manage stan-
dards such as AS/NZS 4360. The nine projects all had
risk registers and reported their risks through formal
systems. All had conducted some degree of risk assess-
ment as part of their project management process. De-
spite these measures being in place, the risk data are
very clear the projects were experiencing signicant
internally generated risk, but those risks were poorly
managed. There were even cases where extreme risks
had not been identied or were not being managed.
When attempting to draw lessons from this it is nec-
essary to dierentiate between project teams being inef-
fective in applying the risk management standard and
other possible explanations. Although not tested in this
research, it seems unlikely that all nine projects were not
capable of applying the standard risk management ap-
proach. The alternative is that the standard approach
may itself not be competent when dealing with typical
internally generated risks. In turn, this would imply that
those risk management standards should be re-examined
from rst principles in order to develop an approach
that is capable of dealing with all risks, including inter-
nally generated risks.
7. Further research
The results are based upon simple hypotheses, and
indicate that further study is appropriate. Possible areas
of interest include:
Conrmation of the results for a wider range of pro-
ject types.
Identication of the underlying reasons as to why
internally generated risks tend not to be identied
or managed.
More complete testing of the relationship between
project management maturity and the presence of
internally generated risk in projects.
Testing whether AS/NZS 4360 compliant risk man-
agement approaches can deal eectively with inter-
nally generated risks.
Testing whether project failures and disasters can be
linked to the presence of internally generated risks.
8. Conclusions
Both the arguments and the research data support a
conclusion that internally generated risks are important
in projects. Internally generated risks are common, sig-
nicant and dicult to manage. Despite their impor-
tance as a class of risk, the results imply that common
process-driven risk management approaches are inade-
quate to deal with internally generated risks. This may
be because such risks are often complex and or sensitive,
and hence can be dicult to document. They may also
be dicult to quantify and to classify. The overall con-
clusion is that internally generated risks are a key class
of risk in their own right. They are important, and
may require special attention in order for them to be
managed eectively.
The level of internally generated risk seems to relate
inversely to the level of project management maturity
in the organisation. If this proposition is true, this pre-
sents an opportunity to develop a new and exciting ap-
proach to work on project management maturity. The
identication, analysis and treatment of internally gen-
erated risks would be used to drive organisational devel-
opment [3].
The results of the research indicate that internally
generated risks are a major challenge for project manag-
ers and for risk professionals. The rst step in meeting
that challenge may prove to be the most dicult to
move outside the current way of thinking about the
management of risk, to make it possible to develop a
new and more capable risk management approach.
References
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[6] Barber RB, Burns M. A systems approach to risk management.
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[7] Jacques E. Requisite organisation. Arlington: Cason Hall & Co;
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[8] Standards Australia. Risk management AS/NZS 4360. Strath-
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[9] Conrow E. Eective risk management. Virginia: American Insti-
tute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; 2003.
[10] Morris PWG. The management of projects. London: Thomas
Telford; 1997.
[11] McLucas AC. Decision making: risk management, systems
thinking and situation awareness. Canberra: Argos Press;
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[12] Callison D. Concept mapping. School Library Media Activities
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[13] Flyvbjerg B, Bruzelius N, Rothengatter W. Megaprojects and
risk. Cambridge: University Press; 2003.
[14] Barber E. Benchmarking the management of projects: a review of
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590 R.B. Barber / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 584590
Intervening conditions on the management of project risk:
Dealing with uncertainty in information technology projects
E. Kutsch
a
, M. Hall
b,
*
a
University of Surrey, School of Management, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, United Kingdom
b
University of Bristol, Department of Management, Lewis Wing, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom
Received 18 June 2004; received in revised form 27 July 2004; accepted 10 June 2005
Abstract
A review of the outcome of many information technology (IT) projects reveals that they fail to meet the pre-specied project
objectives of scope, time and budget. Despite well-established project risk management processes, project managers perceive their
application as ineective to manage risk. This failure may well be attributed to the inadequate application of those risk management
processes. The purpose of this research was to investigate how project managers responsible for the management of risk in IT pro-
jects actually managed risk and to relate this back to established project risk management processes. In undertaking this investiga-
tion, we were seeking to understand the ways in which the project managers approaches and behaviours, when considering risk in
IT projects, diered from what might be expected. Results show that because of environment-related and decision maker-related
conditions, project managers tend to deny, avoid, ignore and delay dealing with risk, with the consequence of those actions having
an adverse inuence on their perceived eectiveness of risk management and the project outcomes. If project risk management, and
its underlying processes are not to be discredited, the behaviour of project managers when confronted by uncertainty should be con-
sidered and actions need to be taken to discourage project managers irrational actions.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Risk management; Expected utility theory; Irrationality; Stakeholder behaviour
1. Introduction
Projects may be considered to have failed when
expected scope, cost and time targets are not met,
expected benets are not realised, or a stakeholder is
dissatised with an aspect of the process or outcome.
In particular, IT projects (the provision of a service
to implement systems and solutions, including a variety
of hardware and software products [1]) have a high
rate of failure [2,3]. In one study, it was found that a
third of all software projects were terminated before
completion while more than 50% of the projects cost
approximately double the estimate [2]. According to
practitioners surveyed [2], IT project failure was most
commonly attributed to lack of top management
involvement, a weak business case and inadequate risk
management. The highest ranked factor for project
failure was risk management. The Project Management
Institute [4] dened risk management in a project envi-
ronment as the systematic process of identifying, anal-
ysing, and responding to uncertainty as project-related
events or conditions which are not denitely known
with the potential of adverse consequences on a project
objective. Despite well established and accepted project
risk management processes being available, including
PMI 2000, Prince 2 or PRAM, project managers com-
monly perceive these as not eective for managing pro-
ject uncertainties [2,5]. In the area of decision making
under uncertainty, expected utility theory (EUT) has
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.06.009
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 117 954 5699.
E-mail address: Mark.Hall@bris.ac.uk (M. Hall).
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
been the dominant normative and descriptive model.
However, research has shown that conditions in project
risk management deviate from the claims according to
this theorem. Kahneman and Tversky [6], for example,
established in their research that the procedure of
framing violates the EUT model. Elsewhere (e.g.
[8,9]) it was revealed that psychological factors play
an important part in decision making under uncer-
tainty but are not adequately captured by EUT.
Although much work has been done to date examin-
ing the response of individuals to risk in various settings,
such as in the oil industry or in education, little research
has been carried out to ascertain the impact of interven-
ing conditions on the management of risk by project
managers, their impact on the project outcome and the
perceived eectiveness of risk management systems
and processes in the context of project management.
The purpose of this research was to investigate how
intervening conditions deviated from those one might
presume under expected utility theory, how they inu-
enced actions taken by project managers and how pro-
ject managers perceptions of the eectiveness of
project risk management ultimately contribute to pro-
ject success and/or failure in the delivery of IT projects.
The goal was to better understand how, under condi-
tions of uncertainty, the application of risk management
techniques by project managers might be improved.
2. Background
The dominant paradigm underlying project risk pro-
cesses such as dened by the Project Management Insti-
tute [4] and CCTA [9] is the expected utility theorem
[10,5]. Expected utility is a weighted average of the util-
ities of all the possible outcomes that could ow from a
particular decision, where higher-probability outcomes
count more than lower-probability outcomes in calculat-
ing the average [11, p. 21]; the utility of decision-
making choices are weighted by their probabilities and
outcomes [7,12,11].
In order to understand this, one might consider the
following simplied example, as displayed in Fig. 1. A
project manager facing risk in a project has the choice
to apply project risk management to mitigate project
risk or may choose not to manage it.
According to Fig. 1, four scenarios may unfold:
1. project manager proactively executes risk mitigation
actions and risks materialise;
2. project manager proactively executes risk mitigation
actions and risks do not materialise;
3. project manager does not proactively executes risk
mitigation actions and risks materialise;
4. project manager does not proactively executes risk
mitigation actions and risks do not materialise.
The probability of avoiding risks in a project through
the execution of risk response actions is P and without
risk actions Q, with P larger than Q and 1 Q larger
than 1 P. The utility if avoiding risks (relative to the
cost of materialised risk) is A and the utility of no ac-
tions (relative to the cost of those actions) is G while
A is assumed to be greater than G. The utility of scenario
1 is the worst and, therefore, set at 0.
The utility of scenarios 1 and 3 depends on the cost of
uncertainty materialising and adversely aecting the
project outcome. In contrast, the utility of scenarios 1
and 2 depends on the cost to execute actions, the com-
mitment of scarce project resources such as time
and money. Therefore, the decision by the project man-
ager to take actions or not depends on the utility of
avoiding uncertainty (benet) while committing re-
sources (cost) and the relative magnitude of the objec-
tive or subjective probabilities.
Expected utility has been generally accepted in risk
literature as a model of rational choice for taking risky
decisions [13] and is considered to be a very robust
framework for decision making under conditions of
uncertainty [14]. Rationality can be dened as agree-
able to reason; not absurd, preposterous, extravagant,
foolish, fanciful, or the like; intelligent, sensible [15].
According to EUT, rational actions of risk actors (indi-
viduals who inuence and/or own the risk process) can
be dened as follows [13, p. 43]:
Expected Utility Theory
No risk
mitigation
action
G + (Q x A)
1
-
Q
Risk
materialises
Risk does not
materialise
Q
A + G
Risk
mitigation
action
P x A
1
-
P
Risk
materialises
Risk does not
materialise
P
A
G
O
Probability Utility Choice
Fig. 1. Expected utility theory.
592 E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599
rational actors can choose between dierent possible
actions. Actions may dier in kind and scale;
rational actors assign (objective or subjective) proba-
bilities to various outcomes;
rational actors can order possible actions according to
their preferences;
rational actors try to choose an action, which is opti-
mal according to their preferences.
An important aspect of EUT is the assumption of a
state of perfect knowledge for risk actors [13]. Complete
certainty implies [16, p.129]:
a clear and unambiguous identication of the prob-
lem, its constituent elements and its causes;
perfect information about all the relevant variables in
terms of both quantity and quality;
a well-developed model of the problem which incorpo-
rates all the variables likely to inuence the decision
outcome and a perfect understanding of the manner
and scale of interaction;
an exhaustive list of all possible solutions;
an unambiguous statement of the objectives which is
specic, quantiable and internally consistent;
perfect knowledge of the future consequences of each
possible solution and their implications for the project;
the availability of all the resources and suciency of
reliability in all the structures and systems necessary
for the successful implementation of the chosen
solution;
the presence of perfectly rational and experienced
decision-makers with unlimited analytical and cogni-
tive abilities.
For the purposes of clarity, we have assumed that the
project manager is the main risk actor. However, project
management literature suggests that various stakehold-
ers, which may include individuals and organisations,
may be directly or indirectly involved in the process of
managing risk. While recognising the involvement of
these stakeholders, the focus for our research was on
the project manager as the main risk actor, although
the contributions of other risk actors were relevant to
some aspects of the research, as will become apparent.
In the context of project risk management, the prefer-
ences of project managers should only relate to the ac-
tive mitigation of that risk with adverse consequences
on project objectives of time, cost and quality [4,9,17].
However, although this describes how managers should
make decisions when undertaking risk management, evi-
dence shows that their actions often deviate from EUT
(e.g. [18,14,19,20]. Deviation from EUT may derive
from, for example [21, p. 251]:
the uncertainty associated with taking any given action
and whether or not negative outcomes will result;
cognitive and emotional overload that results from
awareness of risk in many (of not most) behaviours;
the complex and varied dynamics associated with per-
forming any given behaviour.
3. Methodology
While EUT describes a rational approach to the
understanding and management of risk, either as threat
or opportunity [23] the concern of this paper was the
lived reality of project managers involved in IT pro-
jects and how this impacted upon the orderly pursuit
of a management of risk predicated on EUT. In this
sense, it encompassed a decision making process that
dealt with uncertainty, encompassing as it does, risk
management, but also including the broader processes
of decision making in risky and uncertain project envi-
ronments [23]. Essentially, the concern was with beha-
viour and activities that interrupted (or intervened
with) the process of risk management predicted by
EUT. Beyond this, the concern was to develop an
understanding of how and why these behaviours
occurred, what their eect tended to be, and what
implications these eects might hold.
Research has previously been conducted into behav-
iour when managing risk in disciplines such as in psy-
chology and general management [6,21,24]. However,
this paper focuses upon intervening conditions and their
eect on risk management in the context of IT projects.
As the objective was to develop an understanding of
how these conditions arose, an exploratory research ap-
proach using semi-structured interviews was adopted.
This involved an iterative process of proposing and
checking for patterns, both during the interviews and
in subsequent analysis, in order to develop insights into
behaviours and approaches adopted by IT project man-
agers in practice.
During analysis, the approach was one of seeking and
evaluating similarities and dierences between the cases
or groups of cases, each interview representing a specic
case. This entailed selecting categories, categorising each
case and looking for similarities and dierences both
within groups and between groups. In this study, catego-
ries included
the overestimation of risk compared with its
underestimation;
high-perceived risk as opposed to low-perceived risk;
success of a project compared with failure of a project.
The approach taken was to examine the ndings
and create categories. The literature was then revisited
to establish whether the issue had previously been
addressed elsewhere.
E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599 593
In total, 19 IT project managers and consultants were
interviewed from eleven separate companies (Table 1).
The interviews were semi-structured in nature, including
questions such as:
Why were risks overlooked?
Why did risks that were expected to materialise not, in
fact, materialise?
Were any project risk management stages ineective?
If so, why?
In selecting the sample, the aim was to acquire data
from a range of IT projects, large and small, complex
and less-complex. This was reected in the sample. An-
other feature of the sampling approach was to achieve
data saturation [25]. In this sense, we identied catego-
ries and themes arising from the interview, until no
new categories emerged. The project managers either
discussed projects they were currently involved with,
or ones on which they had recently been working. The
projects were of a wide variety of values and timescales.
The interviews were each of between one and two hours
duration. The interviews were then transcribed and
analysed.
4. Findings
In the analysis of the interviews, a fourfold typology
emerged, describing behaviours and activities that pro-
ject managers were either aware of, or were implied by
their comments, which intervened, or interrupted the ra-
tional and orderly management of risk during IT pro-
jects. We called these intervening conditions, drawing
on Strauss and Corbins [26, p.103] denition: Inter-
vening conditions are the broad and general conditions
bearing upon action. . . [they]. . .. either facilitate or con-
strain action. These are summarised in Table 2 and
subsequently discussed in detail, drawing on indicative
quotations from the interviews in order to illustrate par-
ticular points.
4.1. Denial of uncertainty
The rst condition that emerged related to risk as an
object of awe; an object to be feared by those in-
volved in projects. It seemed that project managers were
unwilling to expose their customers to risks because
those risks might have created anxiety and doubts
among the stakeholders about the competency of the
service provider:
We presented ourselves in such a way that we would
seem as reasonable and competent as possible. And
problems and risks dont go down so well. We wanted
to come across as people who could get the project
under way and complete it. The rst aim was to win
the tender, no matter what the cost. . . I didnt want to
be the doomsayer in the euphoric preliminary phase. . .
Problems were kept to a minimum, simply in order to
come across as a competent provider. (Interviewee 5)
The refusal to admit that risks existed, or their con-
cealment, in order to avoid exposing stakeholders to
an object perceived as a dread and, consequently,
threat to the viability of the project, was categorised as
denial of uncertainty. This can be dened as a refusal
by project managers to expose other project stakehold-
ers to negative discomforting risk related information.
The underlying condition of denial was the refusal of
project managers to believe in uncertainties with
Table 1
Characteristics of the interviewees and their projects
Interviewee ref. Organisation Position Approx. project volume (m) Duration (months)
Interviewee 1 Company A IT project manager 15 36
Interviewee 2 Company B IT consultant n.a. 18
Interviewee 3 Company C IT project manager n.a. 1
Interviewee 9 Company C IT project manager 10 2
Interviewee 4 Company D IT project manager 0.08 0.25
Interviewee 5 Company E IT project manager 18 12
Interviewee 6 Company F IT project manager 1 12
Interviewee 7 Company G IT project manager 3040 18
Interviewee 10 Company H IT project manager 3 14
Interviewee 11 Company I IT project manager n.a. 18
Interviewee 12 Company J IT project manager 10 18
Interviewee 13 Company J IT project manager 150 48
Interviewee 14 Company J IT project manager 12 1
Interviewee 15 Company J IT project manager 40 6
Interviewee 16 Company J IT project manager 100 6
Interviewee 17 Company J IT project manager 1000 120
Interviewee 18 Company J IT project manager 30 n.a.
Interviewee 19 Company K IT project manager 8 36
n.a., this information was unavailable or undisclosed.
594 E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599
possible adverse consequences on the project outcome,
rooted in the desire not to expose themselves or other
stakeholders to something that was perceived as
worrisome.
This attitude to risk has been described as one of
treating it as taboo. Taboo matters are literally what
people must not know or even inquire about. Taboos
function as guardians of purity and safety through so-
cially enforced sanctioned rules of (ir)relevance [27,
p. 8].
In another instance,
His words to me [were] Youre the project manager, a
professional project manager, you must have seen this
problem happening before now. I had no choice but to
say Yes David, I did see it happening before now, but
there were very good reasons why I chose not to escalate
to you about that at a dierent time. (Interviewee 9)
In this particular case, the risk was not actively man-
aged because it was seen that in mentioning the very
subject of risk, the customer would become aware of it
and this awareness would jeopardise the relationship be-
tween the customer and the project management team.
The relationship between the understanding of and per-
ception of risk appeared to lead to cautiousness among
project managers in developing more understanding
about specic risks and their implications for their par-
ticular projects. Another interviewee elaborated on this
issue:
The question is how specic you want to go. Pulling
out a generic risk is ne and people can see the red ag
go up but unless an absolute showstopper sat right in
my arena of operations then I would not necessarily
think it was my case to raise it. Informally I would
say it to the project risk assessor: you need to talk
to so and so because I think they have an issue.
(Interviewee 13)
In summary, it was found that, project managers
responsible for the management of risk acted to reduce
anxiety and consternation among customers and other
stakeholders by not confronting them with uncertain-
ties and risks; in other words, they concealed or denied
the presence of risk and uncertainty. This behaviour
was either purposeful (they would make a decision
not to mention specic, project-related risks) or uncon-
scious (they did not dwell on the presence of risk,
thereby not having to mention it as an issue). Schneid-
ermann [28, p. 22] hypothesised that, because of the
fear of the unknown risk actors tend to be unwilling
to manage risks. The nding here seemed to suggest
that their unwillingness related to the temptation to
give people the answers they wanted to hear; and the
answer is certainty or a safe and predictable world
[29]. Because risk actors may perceive risk (manage-
ment) to be a gloomy and negative aair [30], they
may downgrade their own perception of risk to a de-
sired external accepted level [31] that can be engaged
through risk management.
Table 2
Overview of behaviours intervening in project risk management process
Intervening condition Denition Description
Denial of uncertainty The refusal by risk actors to reveal to other
stakeholders risk related information that may
hold negative or discomforting connotations
Risk as a taboo
Denial of uncertainty in order not to expose stakeholders to
something perceived as negative
Denial of uncertainty in order not to jeopardise long-term
relationships with stakeholders
Denial of uncertainty in order not to be perceived as a
doomsayer
Denial of uncertainty in order to present the project as being
certain and certainly successful for stakeholders
Avoidance of uncertainty Lack of attention to risk related information due
to insucient trust or belief in the ecacy of that
information
Distrust in risk estimates
Avoidance of uncertainty because of mistrust between risk actors
Avoidance of uncertainty because of conicting condence levels
about risk estimates between stakeholders
Avoidance of uncertainty because of conicting perceptions of
stakeholders about the legitimacy or ability of others to manage
certain risks
Delay of uncertainty Failure to consider or resolve risk due to apathy,
lack of interest or general approach to project
management
Dierent risk management preference
Delay of uncertainty because of dierent expectations of
stakeholders about how to manage risk (active or reactive)
Ignorance of uncertainty The complete lack of awareness of risk related
information by stakeholders
Unawareness of threats
Ignorance of uncertainty because of the unwillingness to spend
(more) resources on the scanning of the environment
Ignorance of uncertainty because of the inability to scan and
interpret the environment because of factors such as complexity
and dynamics
E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599 595
4.2. Avoidance of uncertainty
The second condition eecting behaviour in project
risk management derived from conicting risk estimates.
In one case, where the customer was presented with a
risk estimate, he strongly objected to the risks being
legitimate. The project manager said:
The client did not accept the risks, or rather the risk
analysis, wherever it concerned him. So when we had
a risk that required the client to play an active role,
which would have meant investing money or resources,
he opposed the prevention of that risk. He said it
wasnt necessary, the project could run without it.
(Interviewee 1)
These conicting perceptions about the legitimacy of
risk between the provider and customer can be described
as avoidance of uncertainty and can lead to the danger of
the risks not being eectively managed. The lack of con-
sensus between perceptions of risk among those in-
volved was found elsewhere to relate to the disbelief or
lack of faith in the message (risk) or the source of the
message (person who manages the risk) [32]; it is a ques-
tion of trust. Diering perceptions of risk, inuencing
their treatment, arose elsewhere. In this case, the project
team failed to come to an unambiguous and trustworthy
estimation about risks. Hence, they chose not to manage
them.
This was a problem, though it wasnt really possible to
assess the risks. We couldnt come to any opinion.
(Interviewee 5)
However, in cases where consensuses about risk esti-
mates were found, some risks were managed and others
were avoided.
We looked for risks that were easily identiable, but
didnt actually have serious consequences for the pro-
ject. The project was not really at threat from these
risks. (Interviewee 1)
Risks were avoided in this project, because the pro-
ject manager focused on easily assessable risks in or-
der to achieve consensus within the project team.
Another interviewee noted how risks were avoided in
his project:
They were internal risks. But they should not have
been deleted. They should have been managed inter-
nally, not just excluded or even ignored. They did not
go even in the internal risk register. (Interviewee 7)
In this case, the sales department and senior manage-
ment perceived those risk estimates produced by the
project manager as something unrealistic. Therefore,
the project managers risk estimates were regarded as
being non-legitimate; that is to say they were perceived
as not worth being mitigated.
Elsewhere, dierences in perception of the legitimacy
of risk estimates occurred along the supply chain, be-
tween subcontractors and prime contractors. In some in-
stances, this led to those risks being left unmanaged.
One interviewee explained why he thought this was the
case:
[Our] partner has a much wider scope than we have.
They are looking at other issues which are much more
critical to them in the bigger picture and our issues
although they are extremely important for us are not
perceived as being important to [them]. (Interviewee 10)
It was found that lack of trust in estimates of risk was
indicative of a more general lack of trust between indi-
viduals within their own project team, with customers
and with subcontractors. One project manager even sug-
gested that the risk management process was used to
deliberately deceive other parties:
A lack of trust means that some of the risk, which
might have been identied by various parties on the pro-
ject, would not necessarily be given much weight, even if
they were raised to project management. If there is a
lack of trust then risks get tainted to peoples belief that
there are hidden agendas behind that. (Interviewee 13)
4.3. Delay of uncertainty
In some instances, it was revealed that there was a
tendency for the project managers to simply fail to ac-
tively manage certain risks, even where those risks were
not regarded as a threat or taboo and where there was
consensus on what constituted a risk and how it should
be measured. It manifested itself as an apathy to risk
management, relying instead on trouble-shooting prob-
lems if and when they arose. For example, one intervie-
wee noticed how a project culture encouraged this
approach:
In this particular environment, it was one that was
used to ying by the seat of its pants and managing
issues and crises as they arrived rather than actually tak-
ing the time and stand back and look ahead and say
What can we do to prevent that?. If their focus and cul-
ture is one of re ghting and crisis management, the
step to take pre-emptive action to prevent a risk or to
reduce a risk is never going to be at the top of their per-
sonal priority list. (Interviewee 14)
Elsewhere, the client did not regard the management
of risk to be particularly important as it felt the project
manager would simply deal with any problems that ar-
ose due to their brand exposure:
My general feeling, it does come down to the brand.
Fundamentally our name is on that piece of hardware
which is deployed on the end customers desk. They will
596 E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599
see our brand name every day so the brand name is very
important and something we want to protect so from
that point of view there is that association that we have
internally and is very strong for us. Form the customers
point of view I suspect that there, they may be aware of
this, they may be using that to a certain degree in that
way that we will be very protective, that we will always
jump in to save the situation, so there may be a certain
degree of abuse going on there. (Interviewee 9)
Thus, the customer delayed any active risk mitigation
that may have entailed costs and relied on the supplier,
who was contractually obliged to react to any occurring
problems.
The behaviour noted in these cases can be described
as delay of uncertainty by stakeholders in projects. Delay
of uncertainty occurs when decision makers choose to
wait until uncertainty resolves itself [33]. While this sug-
gests a purposeful decision to wait and see, the inter-
views illustrated that, in some cases it was not a
decision to be reactive to risk but, rather something that
could be characterised as inattention:
The manager was a techie person. He loved technol-
ogy. If it had been technology driven, then I thought
we would not have the issues that we had but because
it was a commercial project, for him, the technology
was standard and mundane. He had no interest at all
in proactive risk management. (Interviewee 9)
Elsewhere, risk management was treated as a box-
ticking exercise, suggesting that risk management was
held in low regard as an activity. Risk management
was treated as an administrative task rather than a man-
agement task:
I do not think there was a huge driver. I think this
might have been a reason why the project risk assessment
team might not have been really that well regarded. They
were interested in nding the risk, the solutions were not
really something that they were too bothered with. Their
attitude was, nd the risk, rate the risk but then feed that
back into senior management and programme board
and let them come up with a solution. (Interviewee 13)
and elsewhere:
It becomes an administrative process and as long peo-
ple feel there is a risk register somewhere and lip service
is being paid to it on a reasonably frequent basis, then
they are managing risk. (Interviewee 17)
In summary mitigating activities in response to iden-
tied risks were delayed or deferred because reactive risk
management was the preferred mode of operation or
there was a lack of interest, or an inattention, in exercis-
ing active risk management. The reasons may be politi-
cally or culturally driven: project managers may not pay
attention to active risk management and in other cases
project managers may adopt reactive risk management
as their preferred risk management method. Similarly,
it may concern an attitude to project management in
general, which treats it in a procedural manner, this
inuencing responses to risk management.
4.4. Ignorance of uncertainty
The fourth issue that emerged from the interviews can
be labelled ignorance of uncertainty. Ignorance of uncer-
tainty can be seen as a lack of awareness of risk-related
information on the part of project managers and other
stakeholders, which could include incomplete knowl-
edge. Ritchie and Marshall [16, p. 117] noted that large
uncertainties, and even ignorance, dominate areas of
risk to the extent that the very lack of knowledge is
unsuspected. From the interviews, this phenomena ap-
peared to be widespread, either being implied or overtly
mentioned by several of the interviewees. For example:
To a very great extent, with exception of the actual
business-related risks, we were able to assess all the tech-
nical risks, but were not always able to assess other,
non-technical risks. (Interviewee 4)
Because we did not even know about it. We did not
even think about it that it would be wrong and in fact
that the only reason we knew that it was there was when
they started producing their invoices. (Interviewee 15)
Explanations for ignorance of risk are varied. A num-
ber of writers (e.g. [34,35]) suggest that this ignorance
may have its cause in organisational contexts of com-
plexity and dynamism. Freudenberg [36] related igno-
rance of uncertainty to the failure of risk managers to
foresee interactions and interdependencies. In the con-
text of project management, a project manager may face
diculties in forecasting how each component of a pro-
ject task may inuence others (complexity) and the like-
lihood that it will remain stable over the time
(dynamism). One interview illustrates this point well:
. . . if one went wrong there is a geometric eect because
another piece of software that was dependent on it was
also delayed which then had a knock-on eect. We did
not get down to the level of understanding of all the inter-
actions between all those components. (Interviewee 18).
As the project progressed and components of the
project such as the amount of IT systems in the project
changed, the lack of understanding about the comple-
xity and dynamics of the project caused a sudden
disruption.
Other cases illustrated that project managers some-
times also set their own constraints and boundaries
inuenced by their comfort zone. Margolis [37, p. 35]
has argued: experts in general learn to concentrate on
what is critical in their experience with the domain at
E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599 597
hand and ignore anything else. Thus, it would appear
that ignorance of risk arises for two reasons. Firstly,
project teams are unable to predict risk because of con-
textual conditions such as complexity and dynamics.
Secondly, they are unwilling to look for risks outside
their dened scope of project management skills.
5. Conclusions
A series of behaviours and conditions were identied
during the research that tended to lead to activity and
decisions that deviated from, or intervened within, the
risk management process described using expected util-
ity theory. In pursuing risk management using the ap-
proach derived from EUT, risk managers and other
project stakeholders could expect the benets of im-
proved certainty in the outcomes of the project with
the additional benets of improved budget setting
and reductions in political and nancial tension arising
from surprises. However, they failed to avail them-
selves of these benets because other issues became
paramount what might be called barriers to preven-
tative action [21, p. 234]. These barriers have been
called intervening conditions [26] and have been found
to manifest themselves as conditions of denial, avoid-
ance, delay and ignorance of uncertainty. In some in-
stances, they were purposeful: the result of
commercial positioning or a lack of interest in certain
risky aspects of projects. In other instances, they were
unconscious behaviours rooted in approaches driven by
culture: a fear of revealing bad news or a tendency to
tick boxes and follow procedures. Freudenberg [36, p.
249] argued:
Instead, the problem is that a variety of factors that are
far more subtle unseen, unfelt, and yet unfortunate in
their consequences exert an inuence that could scar-
cely be more disturbing even if they were based on delib-
erate malice.
As can be seen from the indicative quotations from
the interviews, in many cases the project managers were
aware of the conditions (although they lacked a typol-
ogy with which to describe them). They were also aware
of the negative consequences for the projects they were
trying to deliver. In some instances, the intervening con-
ditions were beyond the control of the project managers
interviewed; they were initiated by a supplier or the cus-
tomer. In other instances, the interviewees were aware
that the condition was the consequence of their own
behaviour. They understood how risk management
should operate, even where they were unaware of EUT
as a theory of action. They were aware that rational
decision making, in the sense that rationality is under-
stood in EUT, was required and that concealing infor-
mation or ignoring risks that were uncomfortable or
boring was not rational in this sense. That said, from
some perspectives, such actions or inactions might be
considered rational. It might be rational, in some cir-
cumstance, to keep the client happy rather than allow
the client to become upset or nervous of risk if that
means the project will proceed.
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E. Kutsch, M. Hall / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 591599 599
Impact of soft logic on the probabilistic duration
of construction projects
Wei-Chih Wang
*
Department of Civil Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, 1001, Ta-Hsueh Road, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
Received 8 October 2004; received in revised form 25 February 2005; accepted 24 May 2005
Abstract
Current probabilistic scheduling models are based on a single network and assume the sequences (or links or logic) between activ-
ities to be xed. However, some links may be changeable or soft. The presence of a soft link from one activity to another indicates
that the execution of these activities has several alternative sequences. This study simulates the duration of an example project by
considering uncertain activity durations and probabilistic soft links. The simulated results are compared with those obtained by the
program evaluation and review technique (PERT) and three other simulation-based models. The comparisons reveal that the results
generated by a simulation are close to those of PERT when the simulation incorporates soft logic. Practical lessons learned by acti-
vating soft logic also are discussed.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Time; Soft logic; Risk; Simulation
1. Introduction
Construction projects are full of uncertainties, includ-
ing weather, labor skills, site conditions, and manage-
ment quality. Therefore, many probabilistic scheduling
models, including program evaluation and review tech-
nique (PERT) and Monte-Carlo simulation, have been
proposed to treat the durations of activities in a con-
struction project as uncertain [17]. Such models assume
that the precedence relationships (sequences, links or lo-
gic) between activities are xed or hard. However, in
practice, some of the links may in fact be changeable
or soft. That is, activities may be executed in various or-
ders [8,9]. When an initial or as-planned schedule is
developed, the decision to select one sequence over the
others is frequently based on the consideration of the
availability of resources (such as working space, laborers
and equipment) and management experience, rather
than physical constraints (such as spatial restricted,
weather protected and gravity supported by) be-
tween activities [10]. A schedule network with assumed
hard links simply species one of several possible plans
of how the activities should be undertaken.
An example of a soft link is presented as follows.
Suppose that the excavation of zones A and B (called
activities A and B, respectively) can be scheduled to be
simultaneous or one after the other (A !B or
B !A). Only one excavator is available at the current
planning time, so the sequence of A !B is included in
the as-planned schedule. As the project proceeds, man-
agement may acquire additional excavators, allowing
activities A and B to be performed simultaneously. Also,
zone A may not be available for excavation at the orig-
inally scheduled time. Hence, B !A may be followed,
instead. Such a selection of an alternative sequence to
a soft link is probabilistic until the activities are
executed.
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.05.008
*
Tel.: +886 3 5712121x54952; fax: +886 3 5716257.
E-mail address: weichih@mail.nctu.edu.tw.
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
In practice, the as-planned schedule of a construction
project is periodically updated by revising the activity
durations and the sequences of the activities [9]. Various
researchers have considered the eect of uncertain activ-
ity durations on the project schedule, and the impact of
changing the logic on the duration of the project must be
examined further to improve schedule management.
This study presents a new model to meet this need. A
simulation language is used to implement the model.
The results of modeling an example project are com-
pared with those obtained from other four existing mod-
els. Practical lessons of the comparisons and suggestions
for future work are also provided.
2. Previous work
2.1. PERT
Among current probabilistic scheduling models, the
PERT and Monte-Carlo simulation are the most popu-
lar. PERT uses a three-point estimation method for
determining a statistical distribution of the duration of
each activity. The mean and the standard deviation of
duration for each activity i are [11]
m
i

a
i
4c
i
b
i

6
; 1
r
i

b
i
a
i
3.2
; 2
in which a
i
, b
i
and c
i
are the optimistic, pessimistic, and
most likely durations of activity i. The mean of the pro-
ject duration is the sum of the means of individual crit-
ical activities, determined by calculations made
according to the critical path method (CPM). The vari-
ance of the project duration is the sum of the variances
of the same CPM critical activities. Based on the central
limit theorem, the project duration distribution is
approximately normal. The cumulative probability dis-
tribution of the duration of the project can be read from
a table of values on the normal curve, included in most
relevant textbooks [11]. A well-known inference is that
the PERT model often leads to an optimistic estimate
of project duration because it ignores all non-critical
paths [1].
2.2. Monte-Carlo simulation
Monte-Carlo simulation can use the three-point
duration estimation approach to establish a statistical
distribution of the duration of each activity. Simulation
generates random durations according to the distribu-
tions of durations of activities, and then applies CPM
calculations to obtain the total project duration, D
Tot
[11]. This procedure is repeated many 100 times (or iter-
ations), and D
Tot
is computed each time. A cumulative
probability distribution of total project duration can
then be derived from the values of D
Tot
. This distri-
bution can be used to estimate the probability of com-
pleting a project at or within a particular time. A
Monte-Carlo simulation generally yields a more objec-
tive project duration than that computed by PERT, be-
cause its computations are not based on a single critical
path.
2.3. Simulation considering correlations between activity
durations
Several probabilistic scheduling models also have
been developed to handle correlations between the dura-
tions of construction activities [24,7]. Except for the
NETCOR model proposed by Wang and Demsetz [7],
current models that consider correlations depend on
extensive eld data to support their modeling algo-
rithms. In NETWOR, uncertainty in the distribution
of an activitys duration is divided into various factor
sub-distributions. Each factor sub-distribution is broken
down further into a family of children, each of which
corresponds to a condition of the factor. The correlation
is captured by sampling from the child distributions that
are sensitive to the same condition of a factor, in a given
iteration of the simulation. NETCOR shows that incor-
porating the correlation increases the uncertainty in
whether the project is completed by the target date.
2.4. Soft logic models
All the aforementioned scheduling models are based
on a single network that comprises only hard links be-
tween pairs of activities. However, some of the sequences
of activities are soft or changeable if particular sequencing
constraints are relaxed. The origin of the concept of soft
logic goes back to the development of the GERT(graph-
ical evaluation and review technique) in the early 1960s
[12,13]. AGERTnetwork includes a set of nodes that rep-
resent logical operations and a set of probabilistic links
between nodes. Elmaphraby [12] dened three types of
nodes AND, EXCLUSIVE-OR and INCLUSIVE.
For instance, an EXCLUSIVE-ORnode is realized when
at least one of the incoming links is realized. GERT was
designed mainly to provide unique features of research
anddevelopment projects. (For example, some intermedi-
ate activities may not be performed, and some activities
may be repeated.)
Tamimi and Diekmann [8] used the term, soft lo-
gic, to refer to the fact that CPM activities can be ar-
ranged in a range of logical sequences. They developed
a model, SOFTCPM, to handle soft logic in network
analysis. SOFTCPM updated network links when any
unexpected event arose that prevented work according
to the scheduled activity sequence. Accordingly, Echev-
erry [10,14] and many other researchers investigated
W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610 601
factors that govern the sequences of construction
activities.
El-sersy [9] considered soft links to update construc-
tion schedules realistically. He adopted some of the ter-
minology associated with GERT to develop three types
of soft links OR, EXCLUSIVE-OR and SOFT links.
The types of soft link are dened as follows [9]:
An OR link from activity A to activity B species that
activity A can precede activity B (A !B, and the link
is as planned) or both activities can be performed
simultaneously (in which case the link is ignored).
Accordingly, an OR link between two activities has
two alternative sequences to execute the activities.
An OR link is shown as a small cycle on an arrow.
See the top of Fig. 1. Notably, the OR link
(A !B) also implies that B cannot precede A (so
the link cannot be reversed).
An EXCLUSIVE-OR link from activity A to activ-
ity B implies that A can precede B (A !B, and the
link is as planned) and B can also precede A
(B !A, so the link is reversed), but the activities
cannot be scheduled simultaneously (so the link
cannot be ignored). Thus, an EXCLUSIVE-OR
link includes another alternative way to perform
the two activities. An EXCLUSIVE OR link is
shown as two small vertical lines on an arrow.
See the middle part of Fig. 1.
A SOFT link from activity A to activity B (A !B)
can be ignored (meaning that A and B can be exe-
cuted simultaneously, as is the case for the OR link)
or reversed (B !A, as is the case for the EXCLU-
SIVE-OR link). That is, a SOFT link has three alter-
native ways (A !B, B !A and executed
simultaneously) of performing the two activities. A
SOFT link is shown as a dashed arrow. See the bot-
tom of Fig. 1.
2.5. Constraint-based scheduling models
Numerous scheduling models have been proposed to
solve constrained resource problems by theoretical
optimization (such as integer programming, branch-
and-bound, dynamic programming, and the theory of
constraints) and heuristic priority rules [1522]. These
models typically handle resource constraints (limita-
tions or conicts) by eectively managing oats (or
buers or slack times) associated with activities, paths
or the entire project, to allocate resources to minimize
the project duration or improve the resource utilization
prole. These models were developed based on the
assumption that sequences between activities were
unchangeable.
3. PROSOFT model
Current simulation-based and constraint-based
scheduling models do not incorporate the eect of
uncertainties in soft logic on project duration. This
study presents a model, PROSOFT (PRObabilistic net-
work scheduling model considering SOFT logic), to
evaluate the application of soft logic to the duration of
a construction project. In PROSOFT, both the dura-
tions of activities and the occurrences of alternative se-
quences between activities are uncertain.
3.1. Modeling steps
In PROSOFT, the duration of each activity is ex-
pressed as a three-point duration estimate (Eqs. (1)
and (2)) and some of the links between the activities
are soft. Moreover, the selection of an alternative se-
quence to a given soft link is probabilistic. The left part
of Fig. 2 depicts the modeling steps of PROSOFT,
EXCLUSIVE-OR
A B
B A
A B
A
B
B
B
A
A
A
B
OR
SOFT
Fig. 1. Alternative sequences associated with the OR, EXCLUSIVE-OR and SOFT links [9].
602 W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
including conducting three-point duration estimates for
each activity in the schedule network; computing the
mean and standard deviation of duration of each activ-
ity; identifying the soft links in the network; selecting the
qualied scenarios (each with various changes in se-
quence) whose CPM durations are shorter than the con-
tractual duration; running the simulation for each
qualied scenario; combining the simulation results,
and generating the results of PROSOFT.
3.2. Identication of soft links
If the sequence of two activities is technically or phys-
ically constrained (such as when it is governed by code
regulations) [10], the link between the activities must
be xed. In contrast, if exible constraints or factors
(including resource limitations, space competition and
path interferences) determine the sequence in which
activities are executed, then the link may be soft. PRO-
SOFT requires a model user (such as a project planner
or manager) to identify soft links according to his per-
ception of whether the contributing factors are exible.
Additionally, the occurrence of these exible factors is
uncertain, and the occurrences of possible alternative se-
quences associated with a soft link are uncertain.
The soft links in the PROSOFT network oer
built-in management exibility to accommodate uncer-
tain factors that inuence the links. Such exibility al-
lows activities to be manipulated in various ways.
However, the current PROSOFT model incorporates
El-sersys denitions of the soft link to consider chiey
the exibility of the re-sequencing activities to simplify
the modeling. A soft link between two activities may
specify one (for the OR and EXCULSIVE-OR links)
or two (for the SOFT link) more available sequences
in addition to the as-planned sequence. The simple
rules for embedding a soft link into a network are
as follows:
Rule 1. Can the activities be undertaken concurrently if
the factor (constraint) that inuences the link is chan-
ged? If so, the link can be ignored and is an OR link.
Rule 2. Can the downstream activity be performed
before the upstream activity if the factor that aects
the link is changed? If so, the link can be reversed,
and is an EXCLUSIVE-OR link.
Given a schedule network
Conduct three-point duration
estimations for each activity
Compute the mean and standard
deviationof durationof each activity
Identify the soft links
in the network
Select the qualified scenarios
whose CPM project durations are
shorter than the contractual duration
Run the simulation for each
qualified scenario
Combine the simulation results
Generate the results of
PROSOFT
Conduct the PERT analysis
Conduct the Monte-Carlo
simulation analysis
Compute the CPM project
duration (contractual duration)
Consider correlations in each
qualified scenario based on
the NETCOR's algorithms
Run the simulation for each
qualified scenario
Combine the simulation results
Generate the results of
PROSOFT W/ correlation
Fig. 2. Modeling steps of PROSOFT and other models.
W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610 603
Rule 3. If a link satises rules 1 and 2, then the link is
a SOFT link.
For example, the construction of a slurry wall (activ-
ity A) should generally be completed before pile driving
(activity B) is begun. However, if the construction site
has sucient space, then piles can also be driven during
the construction of the slurry wall. Hence, the model
user can identify an OR link of A !B. Also for in-
stance, suppose too little space is available to perform
both excavation (A) and pile driving (B). The model user
identies an EXCLUSIVE-OR link of A !B because
space is limited. Therefore, either A !B or B !A must
pertain. The aforementioned example of excavating
zones A and B is an example of a SOFT link.
3.3. Assumptions
Alternative sequences of soft links are akin to the
built-in options in a probabilistic decision-tree, which
are used as the project proceeds and the project manager
making onsite adjustments continually. The manage-
ment objectives of using the exibility provided by soft
logic include reducing the project completion time;
increasing network exibility (by generating additional
oat times for dealing with uncertain activity durations),
and improving the resource utilization prole [9]. This
work focuses only on shortening the project duration.
Restated, various scenarios need to be examined in a
PROSOFT network; only those with a CPM project
duration that is shorter than the contractual duration
are considered. These considered scenarios may or
may not have the same probability of occurring, and
the number of scenarios decreases as the project pro-
ceeds (since more is known, reducing the uncertainty).
Although PROSOFT allows assigning dierent proba-
bilities to scenarios, the probabilities of occurrence of
the considered scenarios in the application project are
assumed to be equal. Also, the selection of sequences
is assumed not to aect the originally estimated dura-
tions of activities.
3.4. Extensions of the model
The PROSOFT model is extended to consider the
correlation between the durations of activities to evalu-
ate more accurately the duration of a project. NET-
CORs algorithms for eliciting this correlation,
developed by Wang and Demsetz [7], are applied herein.
The PROSOFT model has two versions, PROSOFT
(which does not consider correlations) and PROSOFT
W/correlation (which considers correlations). The right
part of Fig. 2 depicts the extended steps of PROSOFT
W/correlation. For comparison, Fig. 2 also indicates
that the CPM project duration (contractual duration)
can be obtained, and that PERT and Monte-Carlo sim-
ulation analyses can be performed after the mean and
standard deviation of each activity duration are
determined.
3.5. Comparisons with available scheduling software
Currently available scheduling software packages,
including Primavera Project Planner and Microsoft Pro-
ject, can be used for network updating. These packages
are not designed to consider simultaneously uncertain
durations and probabilistic links in evaluating the dura-
tion of a project, as is done by PROSOFT herein. Nev-
ertheless, to be practical, the soft links used in
PROSOFT are similar to the changes in the sequences
of activities in these scheduling packages. For example,
the left and right parts of Fig. 3 presents the sequence
# 1 A
# 2
# 3
# 4
# 5
B
# 6
# 7
# 8
# 9
# 10
# 1 A
# 2
# 3
# 4
# 5
B
# 6
# 7
# 8
# 9
# 10
OR
Fig. 3. Sequence changes that involve an OR link, using scheduling software and PROSOFT.
604 W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
changes before and after the link (A !B) in a small net-
work is ignored, respectively, obtained using the afore-
mentioned scheduling software. The same results are
obtained when the PROSOFT model activates the OR
link (A !B). Similarly, Fig. 4 presents the same results
obtained by reversing the EXCLUSIVE-OR link
(A !B), using the scheduling software and PROSOFT
model. Notably, when the soft link (A !B) is ignored
(Fig. 3) or reversed (Fig. 4), the original predecessors
(#1#3) and successors (#4#5) of activity A and B
do not change.
3.6. Computer implementation
The PROSOFT model is implemented in a simulation
language, Stroboscope [23]. Stroboscope has an add-on
capacity to dene a project network easily and also de-
ne probabilistic duration data concerning each activity;
it can also dynamically collect statistics about the project
and activities during simulation. The PROSOFT model
was implemented on a Pentium III PC with 256 MB of
RAMin a Windows XP environment. Analyzing 21 vari-
ables that govern the duration of the example project
considered herein 10,000 times took around 15 min.
4. Applications
An example of interior construction project is used to
demonstrate how PROSOFT evaluates the application
of soft logic to the project duration. This project in-
volves 21 activities, including placing pipes and ducts,
electrical rough-in and constructing interior partitions.
Fig. 5 gives a plan view of the project activities by the
activity numbers. Fig. 6 presents the as-planned sche-
dule network of the project. This network is modied
from El-sersys example project [9]. Additionally, Table
1 presents the number, description, predecessors as well
as the optimistic, most likely, pessimistic, mean and
standard deviation duration of each activity. The mean
and standard deviation duration of each activity are
computed using Eqs. (1) and (2), respectively. According
to the CPM calculations [11], the project contractual
duration is 45.8 days. The critical path of the as-planned
network consists of seven activities, A#1, A#7, A#2,
A#10, A#18, A#20 and A#21. The network is assumed
to include ve soft links:
a link is OR: A#9 !A#12;
two links are EXCLUSIVE-OR: A#17 !A#19, and
A#18 !A#20;
two links are SOFT: A#7 !A#2, and A#8 !A#15.
4.1. Evaluation
Considering all possible sequences provided by the
ve soft links enables 71 dierent network scenarios to
be identied, as well as the original as-planned network
scenario. The additional 71 dierent network scenarios
include the following.
Seven scenarios are generated by activating only one
soft link. Notably, an OR, EXCLUSIVE-OR and
SOFT link allows a further one, one and two
sequences, respectively. Seven further alternative
# 1 A
# 2
# 3 # 5
# 4
B
# 6
# 7 # 9
# 8
# 10 B
# 6
# 7 # 9
# 8
# 10
# 1
A
# 2
# 3 # 5
# 4
EXCLUSIVE-OR
Fig. 4. Sequence changes that involve an EXCLUSIVE-OR link, using scheduling software and PROSOFT.
# 1
# 2
# 7
# 4
# 3
# 6
# 8,17
# 20
# 15
# 18
# 5
# 19
# 9
# 14
Slab
HVAC Piping
Duct
Door
Wall
Fig. 5. Plan view of the project activities.
W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610 605
sequences are available. They are (1 OR 1 alterna-
tive) + (2 EXCLUSIVE-OR 1 alternative) + (2
SOFT 2 alternatives). The selection of each of the
seven alternatives constitutes a network scenario.
Nineteen, 25, 16 and four scenarios are generated by
selecting two, three, four and ve of the aforemen-
tioned seven alternatives, respectively. For example,
choosing any two of the seven alternatives yields 19
scenarios. Notably, only one alternative can be
selected from a SOFT link at once to establish a par-
ticular scenario, even though a SOFT link allows two
further alternative sequences in addition to the as-
planned sequence. That is, selecting six or seven alter-
natives yields no scenario.
Not every possible network scenario has a CPM pro-
ject duration (T) that is shorter than the project contrac-
tual duration (45.8 days). The purpose of using an
alternative sequence is at least to maintain the required
project duration, so only network scenarios with T val-
ues that do not exceed 45 days is used in the PROSOFT
analyses. Therefore, as well as the as-planned network
A#1
A#15
A#16 A#13 A#10
A#14 A#11 A#3
A#6
A#5
A#2
A#4
A#7 A#18
A#17 A#8
A#19
A#9 A#12
A#20
A#21
EXCLUSIVE-OR
EXCLUSIVE-OR
SOFT
SOFT
OR
Fig. 6. As-planned schedule network of the example project.
Table 1
Durations of activities in the example project (modied from [9])
Activity Description Optimistic
duration
Most likely
duration
Pessimistic
duration
Mean Standard
deviation
Predecessors
A#1 Completing structure 0 0 0 0 0
A#2 Placing pipes and ducts 8 12 17 12.2 2.8 A#7
A#3 Electrical rough-in 5 8 11 8.0 1.9 A#1
A#4 Interior partition 8 12 18 12.3 3.1 A#1
A#5 Interior door frames 3 5 8 5.2 1.6 A#1
A#6 Plumbing rough-in 2 4 6 4.0 1.3 A#1
A#7 Installing mechanical equipment 3 5 7 5.0 1.3 A#1
A#8 Interior painting 5 8 12 8.2 2.2 A#4
A#9 Plumbing xtures 2 3 6 3.3 1.3 A#6
A#10 Installing wiring for controlling mechanical equipment 4 6 10 6.3 1.9 A#2
A#11 Pulling electrical conductors and enclosing wire panel 2 4 7 4.2 1.6 A#3
A#12 Partitioning toilets 3 5 7 5.0 1.3 A#9
A#13 Energizing HVAC system 1 2 4 2.2 0.9 A#10, A#11
A#14 Installing electrical xtures 2 3 6 3.3 1.3 A#8, A#11
A#15 Suspending ceiling grid 1 2 4 2.2 0.9 A#2, A# 8
A#16 Testing HVAC, plumbing and electricity 3 5 8 5.2 1.6 A#13, A#14
A#17 Finishing 4 7 9 6.8 1.6 A#8
A#18 Acoustic tiling of ceiling 6 10 13 9.8 2.2 A#10, A#15
A#19 Installing doors and hardware 4 7 12 7.3 2.5 A#5, A#17
A#20 Tiling oors 6 10 16 10.3 3.1 A#17, A#18
A#21 Demobilizing 1 2 4 2.2 0.9 A#12, A#16,
A#19, A#20
606 W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
scenario, the PROSOFT analysis includes only 13 net-
work scenarios (T 6 45 days). Almost all of these 13 net-
work scenarios activate at least one OR link. In
PROSOFT, the 14 (13 + the as-planned) network sce-
narios are treated as being equally probable. That is,
each scenario arises around 714 (10,000/14) times during
the 10,000 iterations in the simulation.
4.2. Results
The results of the PROSOFT model are compared
with those of the other four analyses conducted using
the same three-point duration data a PERT analysis,
a Monte-Carlo simulation, the NETCOR and the PRO-
SOFT W/correlation. Table 2 compares the simulated
project duration data (including mean, standard devia-
tion, minimum duration, maximum duration and the
probability of completing by the project contractual
duration) of the ve models. Fig. 7 plots the simulated
cumulative distributions of the project duration, ob-
tained using all ve models. Overall, the probability of
completing the project by the contractual duration is
the highest in PERT analysis (50.2%); it is the lowest
in the Monte-Carlo simulation (35.4%); PROSOFT,
considering soft links, yields a probability of 46.8%;
NETCOR, considering correlation but without soft
links yields a probability of 43.8%, and PROSOFT, con-
sidering both soft links and correlation yields a proba-
bility of 53.5%.
4.2.1. PERT vs. Monte-Carlo simulation
The mean, minimum and maximum durations
obtained using PERT are approximately two days
(4.4% = (47.8 45.8)/45.8), three days (10% = (33
30)/30) and one day (1.64% = (62 61)/61) less than
those generated by the Monte-Carlo simulation. The
distribution of the Monte-Carlo simulation is shifted
to the right of the PERT distribution (Fig. 7). This right
shift implies that the Monte-Carlo simulation normally
generates a longer project. In general, the PERT
analysis is more optimistic than the Monte-Carlo simu-
lation [1,11].
4.2.2. PROSOFT vs. PERT and Monte-Carlo simulation
Interestingly, Fig. 7 indicates that the PROSOFT dis-
tribution is close to the PERT distribution. That is, the
inclusion of soft logic shifts the Monte-Carlo simulation
back to the PERT distribution. In PROSOFT, the
Table 2
Comparisons of project durations obtained using various models
Models Mean Standard
deviation
Minimum
duration
Maximum
duration
Probability of completing by
contractual duration (45.8) (%)
PERT 45.8 5.3 30 61 50.2
Monte-Carlo simulation 47.8 4.7 33 62 35.4
PROSOFT 45.9 4.9 32 65 46.8
NETCOR 46.6 7.7 26 69 43.8
PROSOFT W/correlation 44.8 7.4 21 72 53.5
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
Duration (days)
Cumulative probability
NETCOR
PROSOFT W/ correlation
Monte-Carlo simulation
PROSOFT
PERT
CPM = 45.8 days
Fig. 7. Cumulative probability distributions of duration obtained by four models.
W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610 607
probability of completing the project by the contractual
duration is around 46.8%, which is also close to that of
PERT (Table 2). Namely, the exibility provided by soft
logic can lead to a short duration. However, PROSOFT
yields a maximum project duration (65 days) that
exceeds those of PERT and Monte-Carlo simulation.
4.2.3. PROSOFT vs. NETCOR and PROSOFT
W/correlation
The expected project durations (45.9 vs. 46.6 vs. 44.8
days) obtained by PROSOFT, NETCOR and PRO-
SOFT with correlation analyses dier very little. The dif-
ferences among the standard deviations obtained using
these three models (as well as PERT and Monte-Carlo
simulation) in the example project are also small in rela-
tion to the contractual duration (45.8 days). However,
PROSOFT with correlation and NETCOR yield higher
standard deviations than PROSOFT by around 2.5 days
(51% = (7.4 4.9)/4.9) and 2.8 days (57% = (7.7 4.9)/
4.9). Additionally, the consideration of correlations
may possibly result in an unanticipated overrunning of
the schedule by approximately 26.2 days (57.2% =
(72 45.8)/45.8), or an unexpectedly early nish by
about 24.8 days (54.1% = (45.8 21)/45.8). Notably,
the eects of soft logic and correlation on the duration
(including mean and standard deviation) are more
important in a real project than in this example project.
4.3. Other practical lessons learned
This study arose many practical issues, described
below.
Activating soft logic does not guarantee the shortness
of the project. As stated earlier, of the 72 possible net-
work scenarios, only the as-planned and the other 13
network scenarios (around 19% = 14/72) have a
CPM project duration under 45.8 days. The CPM
project durations of the other 58 (72 14) scenarios
range from 46 to 63 days. Moreover, activating all
soft links does not guarantee a short project. In the
example project, four scenarios in which all ve soft
links were activated, had a CPM project duration in
excess of 45.8 days (ranging from 56 to 63 days).
Using an ignored link can reduce the project dura-
tion. A scenario with a short CPM project duration
must include at least one ignored link (an OR link
or the ignored alternative sequence of a SOFT link).
The presence of the ignored link on the critical path
(for example, A#7 !A#2) guarantees a short dura-
tion. Accordingly, performing activities simulta-
neously is a practical way to accelerate the work.
Notably, however, additional costs may be incurred
in such situations because more resources (such as
laborers and equipment) are required.
Using a reversed link may increase the duration of
the project. Activating an EXCLUSIVE-OR link typ-
ically involves new critical paths with longer dura-
tions, especially when such a link is on a critical or
near-critical path. For example, the upper and lower
parts of Fig. 8 present networks before and after acti-
vating an EXCLUSIVE-OR link (A#18 !A#20 on
the as-planned critical path), respectively. A new crit-
ical path is thus created, which includes the six activ-
ities A#1, A#4, A#8, A#17, A#20 and A#18.
A#1
A#7
A#4



A#2
A#10
A#15
A#8 A#17
SOFT

A#18
A#20
A#21
EXCLUSIVE-OR
Before reversing A#18 A#20
CPM project duration = 45.8 days
A#1
A#7
A#4



A#2
A#10
A#15
A#8 A#17
SOFT

A#18
A#20
A#21
EXCLUSIVE-OR
After reversing A#18 A#20
CPM project duration = 47.5 days
SOFT
SOFT
Fig. 8. Changes in critical path and project duration due to reversing the A#18 !A#20 link.
608 W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
Although the number of critical activities is reduced
from seven to six, the duration of this new critical
path is around 1.7 days (47.5 45.8) longer.
Activating soft links may increase the number of net-
work paths. However, the number of paths is indepen-
dent of the project duration. Fig. 1 shows that
ignoring a link creates more paths, and reversing a
link does not necessarily increase the number of
paths. In the example project, 11 paths can be identi-
ed in the as-planned network. The number of paths
in the aforementioned 13 network scenarios with a
short CPM project duration actually ranges from 11
to 21. This wide range of the number of paths also
pertains to the other aforementioned 58 scenarios
with a long CPM project duration.
Applying soft logic alters the allocation of uncertainties
along each path. For example, Fig. 9 presents a net-
work scenario when the SOFT link, A#7 !A#2, is
ignored. Comparing this new network to the as-
planned one reveals that the standard deviation
(uncertainty) in the duration of the new critical path
(A#1 !A#4 !A#8 !A#15 !A#18 !A#20 !
A#21) increases around 5.7% ((5.6 5.3)/5.3), and
the resulting CPM project duration of the new net-
work is reduced only by 1.7% ((45.8 45)/45.8). This
increase in the standard deviation of the path dura-
tion causes the PROSOFT model to produce a
CPM project duration of up to 65 days (Table 2).
Management should also be aware of the potential
increased risk of schedule overrun associated with
changing activity sequences.
5. Conclusions
This investigation shows how probabilistic alterna-
tive sequences can be practically applied in a simple
manner; the work indicates that soft logic should be ta-
ken into account because it may have unexpected eects
on the duration of a project; this study oers advice to
practitioners who manage risks associated with the sche-
dule (and that arise when the links are ignored or
reversed to accommodate uncertainty). However, the
evaluation results of a single example project herein
may not be generalizable because various construction
projects have dierent network structures (with various
numbers of activities and paths, and dierent numbers
and types of soft links) and various degrees of uncer-
tainty. Further examples are required to evaluate fully
the impact of soft logic.
Some directions for further research are also identi-
ed. First, a user-friendly computerized application
could simplify modeling. Eectively using Stroboscopes
CPM add-on algorithms may support such work [6,23].
Second, a variable that represents uncertainties associ-
ated with each soft link may help model dierent prob-
abilities of occurrence of alternative sequences. Also, an
ifthen analysis may be used to determine the occur-
rence of each alternative sequence. Third, mechanisms
for including other soft-logic exibilities (such as split-
ting activities, overlapping activities and combining
activities into a single activity [8]) should be examined.
Finally, using soft logic to meet other management
objectives (including increasing network exibility and
improving the resource utilization prole) warrants fur-
ther consideration.
Acknowledgements
The author thank the reviewers for their careful eval-
uation and thoughtful comments. Mr. Bin-Yi Lin, a
graduate student of the National Chiao Tung Univer-
sity, is also appreciated for his assistance in processing
the application data.
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A#1
A#7
A#4



A#2
A#10
A#15
A#8 A#17

A#18
A#20
A#21
EXCLUSIVE-OR
After ignoring A#7 A#2
CPM project duration = 45.0 days
SOFT
Fig. 9. Changes in critical path and project duration due to ignoring the A#7 !A#2 link.
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610 W.-C. Wang / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 600610
An evaluation of partnership development
in the construction industry
R. Beach
*
, M. Webster, K.M. Campbell
University of Bradford, School of Management, Emm Lane Bradford, BD9 4JL, United Kingdom
Received 21 December 2004; received in revised form 25 February 2005; accepted 12 April 2005
Abstract
Improving the eectiveness of projects, particularly in construction, is of interest and concern to practitioners and academics
alike. To this end, the use of partnering, now commonplace in a variety of industry sectors has been encouraged in the UK con-
struction industry. However, in many respects project environments represent the antithesis of current thinking in partnership devel-
opment and an unusual and dicult application, particularly at the lower levels in the supply chain. This paper, therefore, is
concerned with evaluating the progress the UK construction industry has made in its adoption of partnering, how it is likely to
develop in the future and what the implications might be for the industrys suppliers. The partnering experiences of Main Contrac-
tors with Main Subcontractors for structural steel products are examined and a conceptual framework of the success factors pre-
sented and discussed. Critically, clients and not suppliers were found to be major barriers to the industrys adoption of partnering.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Partnership development; Critical success factors; Main Contractors
1. Introduction
A study by Burnes and New [1] revealed many exam-
ples of the ways in which dierent industries and organ-
isations have sought to use collaborative relationships.
Examples of the benets realised include the minimisa-
tion of waste, improvements in operational eciency
and productivity, and improved supply chain co-ordina-
tion [2]. Possibly in recognition of the benets the part-
nership concept was bringing to other industries, the
United States Construction Industry Institute (CII)
established a task force, circa 1987, to evaluate the fea-
sibility of partnering as a method of doing business and
to address the challenges facing the US construction
industry [3]. In the UK a number of investigations and
government backed initiatives were also instigated,
e.g., the work completed by Sir Michael Latham in
1994 [4], the Movement for Innovation (M
0
I) and the
Construction Best Practice Programme (CBPP). Each
reected a desire to stimulate radical improvements in
the construction industry in terms of value for money,
protability and reliability. As a consequence, partner-
ing has become a common pre-tender requirement for
government funded capital building projects, particu-
larly in areas such as health, education, defence and
energy. Indeed, evidence of partnering is now a prere-
quisite of Welsh NHS hospital procurements [5]. For
many working in the construction industry, the intro-
duction of partnering represents a fundamental shift in
how business is conducted. The current decade has thus
been described as being about improving project quality
and performance through closer process integration and
supply chain management [6].
Many of the industrys Main Contractors (MCs) have
already taken steps towards applying the principles of
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.04.001
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1274 234310; fax: +44 1274
232311.
E-mail address: r.beach@bradford.ac.uk (R. Beach).
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
partnering to their suppliers Main Subcontractors
(MSCs), who are beginning to recognise its strategic
importance. However, partnering in the construction
industry is a concept that has by no means been univer-
sally accepted; this is thought to be particularly so, at
and below tier two in the supply chain (see Fig. 1).
Moreover, questions remain as to whether an envi-
ronment which is frequently characterised by one-o
contracts and short-term gain is capable of supporting
a concept which is based on mutual trust and long-term
collaboration. The objectives of this research, therefore,
are to evaluate the industrys adoption of partnering and
in so doing to (a) identify the lessons learned and the
critical factors that facilitate its successful adoption,
and; (b) to ascertain what the long-term implications
might be for the industrys suppliers.
In the following sections of this paper, we review the
partnering literature relative to other common types of
inter-organisational relationships to understand what
partnering means to the industry and consider the ben-
ets that might come about as a consequence of its
adoption. The factors that have inuenced the successful
adoption of partnering in the industry to date are also
identied and the development of a questionnaire, used
to solicit information from the industrys MCs, is de-
scribed. Finally, the critical success factors for partner-
ing in construction are presented and discussed.
2. Partnering in construction
Strategically, organisations may enter into alliances
(a form of partnership) in order to innovate, access
new markets, overcome local market restrictions, raise
entry barriers and share risk for mutual benet [7].
Operationally, factors such as the strategic importance
of a product/service and its criticality to the nal prod-
uct [8], the cost of procurement relative to its internal
manufacture, the capability of the organisation, and/or
the need to focus on core competences [9] may inuence
the decision to outsource. At this level, the nature of the
relationships that are subsequently developed can take a
number of forms, ranging from those based entirely on
market forces to those structured around common own-
ership [10] and spanning partnerships in their various
forms [11]. Brief descriptions of these relationships in
the context of the construction industry follow.
2.1. Market relationships
Market based relationships enable products to be
purchased at the lowest possible cost. However, rela-
tionships based solely on market forces are often dis-
trustful, if not antagonistic, and rooted in the fear that
the other party might engage in opportunistic behaviour
[12]. Consequentially, organisations in this type of rela-
tionship avoid sharing information, keep each other at
arms length and retain benets for themselves. Histori-
cally, this type of relationship has dominated the
construction industry with the result that it is character-
ised by defensive behaviour, adversarial relationships
and signicant costs which are incurred trying to dene
responsibilities so as to minimise risks and contain
costs, e.g., through drafting and negotiating contrac-
tual agreements, tendering, and setting-up and running
governance structures to monitor contracts and settle
Clients
Main
Contractors
(MC)
Main
Subcontractor
(MSC)
Subcontractors
Suppliers Suppliers Suppliers Suppliers Suppliers
e.g. supply & erect
structural steel
e.g. supply & fit
metal deck
flooring, precast
concrete etc.
e.g. supplying raw materials, plant hire, paints, cements, bolts, drainage pipes, site fencing etc.
Tier 0
Clients
Tier 1
Main Contractors
Tier 2
Main Subcontractors
Subcontractors
Supply Chain Level
Fig. 1. The UK construction industry supply chain.
612 R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621
disputes. However, a totally comprehensive contract
is impossible to achieve [13] as specications cannot
eliminate the possibility of unanticipated project costs
occurring [14,15] in environments characterised by
uncertainty.
2.2. Vertical integration
In an ideal market, all organisations would outsource
their products/services [16] and focus on doing those
activities internally that would provide them with com-
petitive advantage. However, an oft cited risk associated
with outsourcing is that over time suppliers can become
more powerful than the buyer as they gain advantage
from learning by doing, information asymmetry, econo-
mies of specialisation and economies of scale [17].
Organisations can also lose capabilities that may subse-
quently become critical to their operations. To counter
these potential threats, organisations have in the past
vertically integrated their activities, i.e., extended their
operational control through acquisition to their suppli-
ers and business customers. Vertical integration (VI)
provides the principal organisation with control over
strategically sensitive technology and/or capabilities
whilst facilitating the achievement of eciencies through
closer (internal) communication and the co-ordination
of activities. As a consequence, in some industries, VI
was once de rigueur, e.g., car manufacture. However,
the UK construction industry was not one of them. This
may have been because of the uctuating workloads and
because of the large capital investment required,
although the oft cited disadvantages are persuasive,
e.g., the diculties of achieving the economies of scale
that external specialist suppliers can, the risk of compla-
cency that can result from the removal of external com-
petition, the potential loss of operational exibility and
the diculties in maintaining a core competences focus
[11].
2.3. Partnering
Partnering oers the possibility of achieving the
closeness and co-ordination eciencies of VI and the
service performance and continuous improvement bene-
ts of traditional market trading. Partnering does not
require the signicant capital investment associated with
VI and avoids many of the transaction costs associated
with managing larger supplier networks. Thus partner-
ing is generally attributed with creating more value than
market transactions, albeit at the cost of an increased ef-
fort from the parties involved [18]. In contracting, its use
is now well established in the USA, UK and Australia
and a sizeable amount of the literature exists which sets
out its main principles, practices and benets [3,18,4,19
23]. There are however, many perspectives on the deni-
tion of partnering, which is a generic term for a variety
of formal and less formal arrangements [24] that em-
brace a range of practices designed to promote greater
collaboration [18] and involve diering time frames [10].
2.4. Strategic and project partnering
In construction, a distinction can be made between
long-term (strategic) partnering and short-term (project)
partnering [25]. Strategic partnerships are intended to
last for signicant periods of time, include several pro-
jects and seek gains for the long-term whilst project
partnerships are created and sustained for the life of a
specic project and focus on short-term benets
[25,22,2,26]. Both approaches are practised in the pri-
vate sector [22].
Strategic partnering has been dened as a long-term
co-operation between two or more organisations com-
mitted to achieving specic business objectives by max-
imising the eectiveness of each participants resources
[3]. This typically involves the adoption of collaborative
inter-organisational strategies in which resources are
committed to the development of a relationship. Organ-
isations that develop collaborative relationships have
been shown to achieve lower costs for as long as they
maintain trust [27], possibly because they enhance an
organisations capacity to continually improve the eec-
tiveness of its systems and operations over time [28].
Conversely, project partnering is said to be a means
of transforming contractual relationships into a cohesive
project team with a common set of goals and clear pro-
cedures for resolving disputes in a timely and eective
manner [29]. An approach applicable to both large
and small projects, project partnering is based on limited
co-operative relationships involving two or more parties
striving for short-term project related benets, which is
unlikely to extend to advanced co-ordination, collabora-
tion or substantive learning. Some doubt has been ex-
pressed about the extent to which this approach can
be used in an industry, such as construction, which is
so reliant on repeat business [30]. Nonetheless, it is
thought likely that short-term alliances will take the
leading role in promoting closer relationships in the con-
struction industry [31,32].
2.5. Benets of partnering
Whilst there is general agreement that partnering is
benecial on a number of dimensions, there appears to
be some doubt surrounding the magnitude and nature
of the benets that can be realised. For example, Egan
[33] outlined a number of tangible benets and annual
targets for continuous performance improvement for
several key areas which were supported by examples
from recognised organisations. However, whilst studies
by Black et al. [27] and Haksever et al. [21] identied
similar performance improvements achieved by leading
R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621 613
European construction clients, MCs and consultants,
they were unable to identify whether improvements in
turnover and prots had resulted from the adoption of
partnering. Furthermore, none of the studies identied
improvements in accident rates as Egan had (Table 1).
Black et al. [27], Scott [34] and Haksever et al. [21]
were able to identify a number of intangible benets
including: an increased willingness to share risk; in-
creased condence of success; reduced exposure to pro-
ject risk; enhanced transfer of practices and processes to
other projects; improved co-operation; increased under-
standing of parties/less adversarial relationships; better
team spirit; more eective communication; learning
from partnering improving overall company competi-
tiveness; increased customer satisfaction; improved em-
ployee skills and; improved motivation of employees.
Moreover, a more recent and comprehensive analysis
of industry performance, compiled by the Strategic
Forum for Construction has showed that demonstration
projects are consistently exceeding the targets set by Egan
in 1998 [33] and that for the rst time there is evidence of
an improvement in general industry performance [35].
It follows from the above that valuable experience ex-
ists within sections of the construction industry and that
an examination of their practices might be benecial. To
facilitate this process the literature was rst examined to
identify the factors that inuence the development of
partnerships. The following section describes these fac-
tors from the perspective of the construction industry.
3. Elements of successful partnering
A variety of studies on partnering [19,36,27,3,23,34,
37,38] provide a window on the developing theory and
practice in partnering and the common critical success
elements (Table 2).
For clarity, the factors identied in the above table
have been reviewed under the following four headings:
commitment, processes, tools and outcomes. These cat-
egories appeared to emerge during the examination of
the literature and have been used here to provide a struc-
ture to the discussion and for the conceptual model. A
synopsis of each category follows.
3.1. Commitment
The sampled literature strongly supports the view
that commitment is a critical element of successful part-
nering, with organisations that had experience of part-
nering rating management commitment more highly
than those without [27]. Similarly, the development of
an equitable relationship between the stakeholders has
been found to be necessary as equity promotes mutual
motivation when winwin solutions were sought rather
than the winlose solutions of traditional relationships
[3]. However, research has also shown that the benets
of partnering are not achieved quickly [19,3]. Partnering
workshops can be used to cultivate the conditions for
realising the benets of partnering by providing a forum
for open communication and the joint identication of,
and commitment to, mutual goals, e.g., early comple-
tion, no litigation and limiting cost growth. The mutual
exchange of ideas initiated by this process can lead to
the development of shared expectations, a shared vision
and a common project mission. However, organisations
must follow through on their preparation by disseminat-
ing these targets throughout all levels of their organisa-
tions in order to enthuse and motivate their sta.
Preparation should also involve educating sta to ensure
Table 1
Tangible benets of partnering
Area Outlined by Egan [33] Improvement reported by:
Black et al. [27], Scott [34]
and Haksever et al. [21]
Improvement per year Detail Detail
Capital cost 10% Reduction All costs excluding nance Lower bidding prices
Reduced costs
Fewer disputes
Reduced claims and litigation
Construction time 10% Reduction Time from client approval to practical completion Improved time-scales
Reductions in design cycle
Predictability 20% Increase Number of projects completed on time and within budget Fewer programme overruns
Defects 20% Reduction Reduction in number of defects on hand-over Improved quality
Improved design
Fewer defects
Accidents 20% Reduction Reduction in the number of reportable accidents None
Productivity 10% Increase Increase in the value added per head Reduced supervision costs
Turnover and prots 10% Increase Turnover and prots of construction rms Fewer cost overruns
Improved return on resources
Increased market share
614 R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621
they understand how the partnering relationship works
as well as reviewing their professional and social skills
to determine how well they are equipped to meet the
agreed targets.
3.2. Processes
Communication between stakeholders is essential
whenever an organisation is dealing with change and
it is equally true when introducing or managing a part-
nership as communication between parties is vital to
understanding each partys expectations, attitudes and
limitations. The study by Black et al. [27] showed that
contractors considered this a critical factor for success.
Organisations should thus give careful thought to
which information can be shared and which channels,
forums and processes of communication will be most
eective. However, improving communication in prac-
tice can conict with organisational cultures, particu-
larly in the early days of a new partnership where
cognitive or bonding levels of trust [11] have not yet
been established.
Conicts of interest will almost inevitably occur at
some stage during a project and the purpose of
any resolution process should be to permanently
resolve them as quickly as possible and at the lowest
possible level without the need for mediation or legal
processes.
An important factor for successful partnering to arise
from the analysis of the literature (Table 2) was the early
involvement of key participants as this allowed the par-
ties to use their knowledge and expertise to ensure a po-
sitive project outcome. An expert review of project plans
by the people responsible for the work provides an
opportunity to identify areas of waste and poor value
before a project is nalised. When this does not happen,
suppliers, particularly smaller rms can nd themselves
struggling to accommodate the increase in costs that
can occur between the design stage, when budgets are
set, and the procurement stage. Early involvement en-
ables suppliers to build a clearer vision of both the cli-
ents and MCs expectations enabling them to create
value by meeting client needs more eectively.
The continuous evaluation of a partnership in order
to ensure that it developed according to the expectations
of the parties involved was seen as essential, Bennett and
Jayes [19] noting that continual performance improve-
ment was necessary in order to deliver the benets of
partnering; an observation also supported by Lenard
et al. [23] whose study revealed that 96% of participants
in successful partnerships felt that this was an essential
success factor. The use of feedback to capture any
improvements or lessons learned from projects and the
use of benchmarking to stimulate the incidence of con-
tinuous improvement from project to project was also
advocated [20].
People within the partnering organisations need to be
educated in order to be prepared for the operational and
cultural change that partnering can entail. The success
of this educational process plays a signicant role in
determining employee commitment to the concept and
practice of partnering and the development of an organ-
isational culture that freely shares knowledge with exter-
nal parties.
Table 2
Elements of successful partnering
Element Baden-Hellard
[36]
Bennett
and
Jayes [19]
Black
et al.
[27]
CII 1991 Lenard
et al.
[23]
Scott [34] Sui
Pheng
[37]
Thomas
et al.
[38]
Frequency
Management commitment X X X X X X X 7
Equity X X X X X X 6
Mutual vision, goals and objectives X X X X X X 6
Trust X X X X X X 6
Continuous evaluation/improvement
of performance
X X X X X 5
Good communication X X X X 4
Conict resolution processes X X X 3
Early implementation of the partnering
arrangement/involvement of key
participants
X X X 3
Education,training and preparation X X 2
Innovation X X 2
Long-term commitment X X 2
Partnering workshop X X 2
Mutual rewards and benets X X 2
Shared risk X X 2
Integrated team X 1
Investment X 1
Learning culture/exchange of knowledge X 1
R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621 615
3.3. Tools
The use of integrated teams has also been said to be
crucial to achieving improvements in quality, productiv-
ity, health and safety and cash ow, and in reducing
project durations and risks [35]. Integrated teams can
complement the practice of early involvement by facili-
tating innovation during the design stage of the project,
thereby increasing the potential for partnering benets.
However, this means that designers, specialist subcon-
tractors and key manufactures must be allowed access
to the client during this stage of the project as once
the design is nalised many of the advantages that can
be provided by the involvement of these specialists will
have been missed; this must also be recognised by the
suppliers as an opportunity. Partnering workshops are
now common across the upper tiers of the UK construc-
tion industry.
3.4. Outcomes
Whilst the most important outcome of a partnership
must be a successful project, a fact not recognised by
any of the papers reviewed, there must also be clear ben-
ets for those participating over and above those that
could have been achieved through the more traditional
approach and these must be commensurate with the
investment and risk involved. Without such a funda-
mental outcome, the case for the partnering concept is
signicantly weakened.
Trust is also an outcome from the partnering process,
but it is also a critically enabling factor for any partner-
ship. When trust is present, partners nd it easier to
communicate, share information and accept diminished
control resulting in enhanced capabilities for the part-
nering relationship [3]. The degree of trust between par-
ties is dependent on factors such as the duration of the
relationship, whether the project benets were shared
equitably and whether the behaviour of the parties was
consistent, appropriate and timely. With this in mind
cultural change must be seen as a key outcome for
organisations that want to build successful partnerships.
As with trust, a partnering culture also takes time to
build and consolidate.
In addition, to the common perception that partner-
ing promotes organisational exibility, it is beginning to
be seen as a means of developing an environment sup-
portive of innovation and learning; the latter capability
increasingly being used as a source of competitive
advantage by those working in markets characterised
by uncertainty [25]. Strategic partnering implies the
use of double-loop learning and the generation of
knowledge through higher levels of evaluation and anal-
ysis of information which can facilitate change for mu-
tual benet [26]. Indeed, Holt et al. [28] notes that
double loop learning involves not only monitoring exist-
ing processes but also the modication of organisational
culture, policies, objectives, strategies and structure.
In the next section, we provide a brief outline of the
methodology used to collect evidence of the application
and veracity of the factors and benets identied in the
literature. The results of the data analysis are discussed
and presented in the form of a conceptual framework
for partnering.
4. Lessons from industry
4.1. Collecting the data
In order to understand how widely the factors identi-
ed in the extant literature were being applied in prac-
tice, and to identify any lessons learned to date as well
as ascertaining the longer-term implications for the
industrys supply chain, data was collected from the
industrys MCs using a survey questionnaire. This ap-
proach was chosen because the nature of the research
question required data to be collected from a large sam-
ple of organisations. Whilst the constraints placed on
the research meant that this needed to be done in the
most ecacious way possible.
The questionnaire consisted of seven sections and
covered general information about the MCs partnering
experiences with their MSCs and the nature of the ben-
ets accrued, as well as questions about the partnering
criterion and key success factors identied in the litera-
ture. Questions aimed at identifying what aspects of a
MSCs performance made them excellent partners were
also included. A 5-point Likert scale was used to mea-
sure the respondents views of the above matters while
the last section provided respondents with an opportu-
nity to express their own thoughts on a range of issues.
The questionnaire was piloted to eliminate any prob-
lems that might lead to misunderstanding by respon-
dents and subsequently result in poor response rates
[39]. A number of issues were identied as a consequence
of this process and the questionnaire was amended be-
fore being administered. In order to meet the objectives
of the research, it was necessary to collect data from
MCs who were practicing partnering. A blanket survey
was an option. However, in the interests of eciency
and expediency it was decided to target customers of
the collaborating company (Billington Structures Ltd.)
1
as those known to have an interest in, and an under-
standing of, partnering could be identied with relative
1
Billington Structures Ltd. (BSL), a 35m structural steel company
that specialises in the design, fabrication and erection of structural
steelwork for the UK construction industry. BSL operate at tier 2 of
the construction supply chain and are therefore classied as Main
Subcontractors.
616 R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621
ease. Moreover, as a result of the collaborating com-
panys stature in the market (one of the top four steel
fabricators in the UK) it was felt that the sample would
also be representative of the population of MCs in the
UK construction industry as a whole.
In keeping with Ticehurst and Veals guidelines [39],
the 80 questionnaires posted were accompanied by a
personalised letter on headed stationary and a pre-paid
return addressed reply envelope. A summary of the re-
search ndings was oered as an incentive to respon-
dents. The survey was not conducted anonymously
and consequentially, non-returned questionnaires were
followed-up resulting in 35 completed questionnaires
being returned, representing a 43.8% response rate.
4.2. Data analysis and discussion
All of the responding MCs indicated that they had
strong relationships with a number of key subcontrac-
tors who they described as partners. The majority of
these could also be described as large or very large
and whose projects involved a signicant number of
partnership based relationships. All respondents also
indicated that their decision to use partnering was not
dependent on clients specifying a partnering approach
or to gain access to UK government projects, suggesting
that MCs are committed to partnering for reasons other
than satisfying external inuences.
More than 77%
2
(score 4 or 5) of respondents indi-
cated that they had reduced the number of suppliers
they used as a result of partnering and a further 57%
had plans to reduce the total number of subcontractors
in favour of partnered subcontractors in the future.
The basis of this trend may be pragmatic, i.e., the cost
of managing a large supplier base is signicantly more
than managing a few close relationships. However, it
is also an important way of demonstrating a long-term
commitment to a supplier and the partnering concept.
As previously shown, the benets of partnering mate-
rialise over time. It was reasoned that developing a
shared understanding of expectations, a shared vision
and mutual goals would contribute to this process [23].
To this end, 97% of respondents indicated that they be-
lieved that partnered subcontractors would provide
them with a better service. Thus the concept of value
seems to be understood by the respondents, 91% indicat-
ing that value was more important to them than achiev-
ing the lowest competitive tender.
Responses to an open question on what form an
improvement in service might take indicated that in addi-
tion to the unspecic desire for promptness, responsive-
ness and preferential treatment, the most frequent
expectation was a desire to see suppliers commit more re-
sources to partnered projects the creation of dedicated
teams was specically identied. Clearly, continued reg-
ular repeat business could be the catalyst this level of fu-
ture supplier investment requires. Thus, dependency is
likely to hold increasing importance as a key element
as partnering relationships develop in the future.
Best value was also seen to be an important expecta-
tion by respondents. Best value can be drawn out of a
project by utilising the specialist knowledge and exper-
tise of suppliers. Doing so can prevent problems, reduce
programme complexity, durations and costs, and im-
prove the overall quality of the project. Similarly, a sup-
pliers technical competence, problem solving ability,
honesty when experiencing problems, their innovative
capability and competences in safety management have
a role to play in this regard and were all mentioned to
some degree by the respondents.
Responses to the question as to whether a suppliers
underlying (adversarial) culture had presented problems
to the development of partnering relationships proved to
be inconclusive. However, it was clear from the re-
sponses that the respondents thought that their suppliers
had generally committed sucient resources to changing
their organisations culture, i.e., to the eradication of
adversarial and defensive behaviour. Consequentially,
47% of the respondents had seen a fall in the number
of disputes with partnered suppliers. Nonetheless, 64%
of respondents also indicated that the elimination of
old organisational cultures were likely to become more
important in the future. In particular, the willingness
to develop open collaborative relationships based on
sharing information, e.g., anticipated costs and margins
for projects.
Respondents indicated partnering had brought about
an improvement in communication between participants
and that partnered suppliers were communicating with
them in ways they expected. Nonetheless, communica-
tion was seen as an important issue that would continue
to benet from improvement.
Despite the signicant fall in disputes reported above,
responses to the question regarding the use and eective-
ness of dispute resolution processes in partnering rela-
tionships suggested that this was an area that was
considered to be only satisfactory and likely to increase
in importance in the future; an indication that organisa-
tions had recognised the relationship between project
success and the existence of dispute procedures previ-
ously identied by Lenard et al. [23].
With regard to early involvement in projects, respon-
dents indicated that they felt that they were currently
involving their partnered suppliers in projects as early
as possible but 94% of respondents felt that this was
likely to change and that in the future, suppliers would
have to provide value inputs much earlier in the life of
individual projects.
2
Unless stated otherwise all percentages quoted refer to respondents
who scored 4 or 5 on the Likert scale.
R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621 617
Respondents views on partnered suppliers invest-
ment in training and education to develop partnering
relationships revealed doubts over the value of the
investment and that in future the MCs would expect
their suppliers to make improvements in this area in or-
der that their sta were able to meet the future expecta-
tions and demands of partnering relationships.
As previously noted in the literature, respondents
conrmed that partnering workshops had proved to be
a useful means of developing relationships and enhanc-
ing understanding between partners and that, through
this communication channel, suppliers had been able
to make a worthwhile contribution. Moreover, they felt
that the benets had been mutual. However, respon-
dents seemed less clear on the future role of partnering
workshops with only 47% of respondents agreeing that
future workshops would be made more demanding.
Integrated teams were acknowledged as a key element
in the respondents partnering strategy, 94% indicating
that they currently involved their suppliers in such teams
on partnered projects. Moreover, 88% of respondents
supported the suggestion that they were likely to devel-
op the roles of these teams. A possible driver for this
may be the view that only 53% of respondents felt that
partnered suppliers were innovative, 91% indicating that
this was an area where signicant improvement was ex-
pected. Innovation in this context is taken to imply the
provision of creative thought and specialist knowledge
to specic problems resulting in reduced costs and im-
proved performance, i.e., create value.
Analysis of the responses to an open question asking
respondents to summarise any key changes that they
had made to their organisational structure in order to
meet the demands of partnering showed that some
44% (N = 15) had changed their organisational struc-
tures in some way for this purpose. The principal form
of these changes concerned the responsibilities of sta
and the creation of strategic business functions, e.g.,
identifying particular individuals as partnering champi-
ons, establishing a strategic procurement resource,
appointing supply chain managers, and reorganising
responsibilities away from functional hierarchies.
In terms of the mutual rewards and benets that have
been achieved through partnering, respondents indicated
that out of the 14 issues questioned, 11 had showed an
overall improvement (Table 3). Of these improvements,
it is notable that the top ve benets (from the ranking
of the means), are intangible; ndings supported by
Black et al., [27], Scott [34] and Haksever et al. [21].
Interestingly, the responses also showed that only
26% had seen an increase in turnover and prots as a re-
sult of partnering, but some 91% of respondents indi-
cated a very strong belief that the benets would
increase in the future. Perhaps more importantly, the
respondents clearly showed that they understood that
these should be shared with their partners, e.g., in the
form of increased business, stability and reduced costs;
not surprisingly, there was less support for the notion
of shared benets in the form of increased margins
and payment terms.
Respondents indicated that they largely agreed that
partnered suppliers have been open in sharing knowledge
with them and believed that the parties had learnt much
from each other. However, the responses strongly sup-
ported the suggestion that as their partnerships devel-
oped they would expect suppliers to be more open with
them in order that the level of learning that is gener-
ated between organisations can be increased, providing
Table 3
Benets of partnering for MCs
Mean Median Mode Standard deviation Skewness Standard error
of skewness
Our benets from partnering will increase in the future 4.06 4.00 4 .489 .166 .403
Partnering has improved communication 3.82 4.00 4 .626 1.437 .403
Partnering has led to mutual learning 3.82 4.00 4 .521 .246 .403
Partnering has improved understanding of mutual problems 3.74 4.00 4 .751 .880 .403
Partnering has improved predictability of service 3.62 4.00 4 .817 1.643 .403
Partnering has improved project programs 3.53 4.00 4 .861 .701 .403
Partnering has reduced costs for subcontract trades 3.41 4.00 4 .892 .671 .403
Partnering has reduced number and cost of design errors/defects 3.41 4.00 4 .821 1.621 .403
Partnering has reduced the incidence of disputes 3.32 3.00 4 .945 .028 .403
Partnering has reduced our internal costs 3.09 3.00 4 .914 .188 .409
Partnering has motivated our employees 3.03 3.00 3
a
.937 .061 .403
Partnering has increased visibility of costs and margins 2.94 3.00 2
a
.919 .127 .403
Partnering has reduced the incidence of site accidents 2.94 3.00 3 .899 .124 .409
Through partnering payment terms have improved 2.94 3.00 2 .886 .119 .403
Partnering has increased our turnover and prots 2.88 3.00 3 .844 .088 .403
N = 34.
a
Multiple modes exist. The smallest value is shown.
618 R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621
support for the notion that continuous evaluation and
improvement are important success factors [19,23].
Evidence that partnering relationships become more
trusting as the partners build-up experience of positive
project outcomes was strongly supported with 91% of
respondents agreeing to the statement, providing sup-
port for the theory of developing trust [11].
4.3. A conceptual framework for partnering
The above analysis has shown that the elements of
strategic partnering identied in the literature are indeed
real management issues. Additionally, three new aspects
of successful partnering were identied: best value, ser-
vice and dependency, which when reviewed in the con-
text of the four categories of key elements, previously
identied in the literature: commitment, processes, tools
and outcomes, appeared to t into the outcome cate-
gory. The content and probable relationships between
these elements are illustrated in Fig. 2.
In this model, it can be seen that the commitment,
processes and tools criteria are considered to have the
greatest bearing on the establishment and development
of the partnering relationship. The organisational cul-
tures of both the MCs and the suppliers are also likely
to aect the development of the partnering relationship
but as the cultures are subject to internally generated
change to meet the expected new demands of the rela-
tionship, the partnering relationship itself may have as
much bearing on the cultures of the organisations as
the cultures have on the relationship.
Successful outcomes of individual projects involving
the use of partnering are likely to generate mutual re-
wards and benets and create an opportunity for the
organisations to develop and build trust, cultural change
(organisational) and achieve mutual learning from the
experiences. These outcomes act as feedback to the pro-
cess further strengthening the role of each element and
benet the relationship development process overall.
Interestingly, a signicant proportion of respondents
indicated that clients, and not suppliers, were the main
barrier to the wider adoption of the partnering concept.
Many clients it seems are still concerned with attaining
the lowest possible price for a project rather than max-
imising value and as a consequence continue to insist
that MCs use a competitive tendering process to secure
subcontractors. In the short-term, this eectively rules
out the use of the strategic partnering approach as many
of the benets remain intangible. However, should part-
nering prove to be successful in realising tangible bene-
ts from long-term relationships, e.g., lower costs and
increased margins, increasing numbers of clients may
seek to make use of it in an attempt to access some of
the benets for themselves. Thus, client commitment is
seen as a signicant exogenous factor.
5. Conclusions
This research had two principal objectives. With re-
gards to the rst of these, a conceptual framework has
been presented which is an attempt, on the part of the
authors, to organise the factors identied in the extant
literature and the ndings from the empirical data into
a logical, sense making framework. As such, this frame-
work does not represent causal relationships between
Client Commitment
Culture of MC
Organisation
Key Elements Criterion
Management Commitment
Long-term Process
Financial Investment
Preparation of staff
Mutual Vision and Objectives
Equity/Shared Risk
Commitment
P
a
r
t
n
e
r
i
n
g

R
e
l
a
t
i
o
n
s
h
i
p

Key Elements Criterion
Project Success
Trust
Cultural Change
Mutual Rewards and Benefits
Mutual Learning
Best Value
Improved Service
Dependency
Communication
Conflict Resolution
Early involvement
Continuous evaluation/
Improvement of performance
Learning Culture/Exchange
of Knowledge
Education and Training
Outcomes
Processes
Integrated Teams
Partnering Workshops
Innovation Approach
Dispute Resolution Planning
Tools
Feedback
Culture of
Supplier
Organisation
Fig. 2. Conceptual framework for partnering.
R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621 619
factors and elements that inuence the partnering pro-
cess in a statistical sense. Therefore, it should not be
seen as a prescriptive device but rather a mechanism
for understanding the broader issues surrounding the
development of partnering in the construction industry.
Within this context three new key elements were identi-
ed, best value, service and dependency. All were seen as
outcomes of the partnering process. However, for sup-
pliers that recognise that best value rather than cost
minimisation is the future basis of winning business
and seize the opportunity to dierentiate themselves
on the quality of their service, signicant competitive
advantage may follow.
With regards to the second objective, this research
identied three compelling reasons why organisations
should reappraise the nature of the relationships they
develop with their suppliers and customers: (a) the po-
tential partnership benets; (b) the trend towards sup-
ply-base reduction, and; (c) the emphasis being placed
on best value.
Although hard evidence has yet to materialise to sup-
port the notion that partnering can provide tangible
benets over traditional marketing relationships, the
intangible benets are such that organisations already
practicing partnering remain committed to the concept
and its future development. As a consequence, it is likely
that the trend, seen in other industries and uncovered in
this research, i.e., to use fewer subcontractors, will con-
tinue; 77% of respondents (score 4 or 5) indicated that
they had reduced the number of suppliers they used
while 57% (score 4 or 5) had plans to reduce the total
number of subcontractors and favour partnered sub-
contractors in the future. It follows that suppliers that
ignore this trend and fail to focus on delivering best va-
lue are likely to nd themselves increasingly isolated and
competing in a shrinking market. However, much con-
tinues to depend on the willingness of clients to accept
that best value and not cost minimisation represents a
more eective and ecient means of achieving a pro-
jects goals.
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R. Beach et al. / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 611621 621
Client versus contractor perspectives on project success criteria
David James Bryde
a,
*
, Lynne Robinson
b,1
a
School of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Liverpool JM University, John Foster Building, 98 Mount Pleasant,
Liverpool L3 5UZ, United Kingdom
b
Berrybridge Housing, Riverside Group, 46 Wavertree Road, Liverpool, L7 1PH, United Kingdom
Received 11 February 2005; received in revised form 12 April 2005; accepted 17 May 2005
Abstract
There are case studies that suggest an obstacle to eective clientcontractor working relationships is a failure to agree on mea-
sures of success and a failure by the client to consider the needs of stakeholders, though there has been little systematic research in
this area. The aim of this paper is to report the ndings of an empirical study that compares the measures of success emphasised as
important by client and contractor organisations and the extent to which dierences of emphasis is translated into project manage-
ment practice. The results show that contractors put more emphasis on minimizing project cost and duration, whilst clients put more
emphasis on satisfying the needs of other stakeholders. However, in their project management practice clients show no stronger
focus on meeting stakeholder needs than contractor organisations. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of pos-
sible barriers to eective clientcontractor working relationships.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Success and Strategy; Stakeholders
1. Introduction
A strand of project management research has been to
explore the working relationship between clients and
contractors to construction projects. Research to date
has focused on the nature, feasibility, benets and prob-
lems of establishing a relationship that has a long-term
commitment on the part of the client and contractor
organisations based upon cooperation and trust [1,2].
There have been some quantitative survey-based studies
(see [35,1,6,7]) and analysis of either single cases [812]
or comparative cases [2,13,14]. However it has been sta-
ted in the project management literature [2] that there is
still a need for systematic research in the area. This pa-
per meets this need by reporting the ndings of
an empirical study into how dierent perspectives on
project success criteria between project sta in Housing
Associations (who full the role of client on con-
struction projects) and project sta in construction
companies (who full the role of contractor) can
hinder or help the development of an eective working
relationship.
2. Perspectives on project success criteria
Research has focused on identifying the critical suc-
cess factors (CSFs) for eective working relationships
between client and contractor organisations, identifying
such diverse factors as culture [1517], commitment
[18,19], ethics [20] and communications [21]. A study
by the National Audit Oce (NAO) and the Oce of
Government Commerce (OGC) [22], which examined
performance on a number of large-scale Private Finance
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.05.003
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 (0)151 231 3353; fax: +44 (0)151
707 0423.
E-mail addresses: d.j.bryde@livjm.ac.uk (D.J. Bryde), lynne.
robinson@berrybridge.org.uk (L. Robinson).
1
Tel.: +44 (0)151 222 8027; fax: +44 (0)151 776 6030.
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
Initiative (PFI) projects (involving public/private sector
partnerships) identied a failure of clients and contrac-
tors to agree measures of success (project success crite-
ria) as a key CSF. However, the ndings of the NAO/
OGC study are based on analysis of a small number
of cases and there is need for further investigation as
to whether such a lack of agreement is a widespread
problem and, hence, a major obstacle to the develop-
ment of eective working relationships between clients
and contractors.
To meet this need for further study, we explored the
level of agreement in project clientcontractor relation-
ships as to which project success criteria ought to be
emphasised. Prior project management research has
analysed the emphasis given to project success criteria,
in terms of cost, time, and quality the iron triangle
of project management [23] and other criteria, such as
overall customer satisfaction (e.g., [2431]). Each piece
of research has added to the body of knowledge con-
cerning the topic of project success criteria, yet there
has been limited research that explicitly delineates the
roles of client and contractor when studying project suc-
cess criteria. We posit that by comparing the emphasis
placed on project success criteria between client and
contractor organisations an insight will be given into a
potential problem that organisations face in developing
new relationships. Therefore we developed the following
research question and hypothesis:
What project success criteria are given emphasis by
client and contractor organisations in project
environments?
H1: Dierences exist in the emphasis placed on project
success criteria between respondents involved in projects
as client and those involved as contractor.
The project management literature identies two
requirements for an eective clientcontractor relation-
ship. Firstly, contractor organisations must be cus-
tomer-focused, in terms of understanding and fullling
the expectations of the client [32]. This customer-focus
has been stated as a precursor to success [33]. Secondly,
client organisations must be focused on understanding
and accommodating the expectations of all stakeholders
in the supply chain, such as contractors, sub-contractors,
suppliers and other team members [1], with project
stakeholders dened as people or organisations who
have a vested interest in the environment, performance
and/or outcome of the project [34]. This focus on
other stakeholders will create win-win situations [35]
through trust, openness, teamwork and shared goals
[36].
One issue is the extent to which client and contractors
both accept these remits and translate that acceptance
into project management practice. Although the theoret-
ical benets of being customer and stakeholder-focused
have been highlighted in the literature, evidence of prior
study suggests that the requisite levels of customer and
stakeholder focus may be absent in practice, with a par-
ticular problem being an unwillingness on the part of the
client to commit to a relationship with contractors base
upon openness and trust [14,19]. A survey of client
contractor relationships attributes this failure to commit
in part due to commercial pressures to get projects com-
pleted as cheaply and quickly as possible [1]. This sug-
gests that there may be a dierence between what the
clients believes they should do and what they actually
do in practice, which has been conceptualised in the lit-
erature on stakeholder management as a lack of norma-
tive/empirical integration [37]. To analyse whether such
a lack of integration characterises current project envi-
ronments we investigated the levels of stakeholder-focus
of project management practices for clients and contrac-
tors, with an expectation being that although clients
might recognise the theoretical importance of stakehold-
ers (through the emphasis given to project success crite-
ria) this emphasis would not necessarily translate into
project management practice. Therefore we developed
a second research question and hypothesis:
How are dierences in the emphasis given to project
success criteria reected in project management
practice?
H2: A greater theoretical emphasis by clients (compared
with contractors) on satisfying stakeholders will result in
a higher level of stakeholder-focus in their project man-
agement practice.
3. Method
To investigate the two research questions we surveyed
sta involved in projects representing contractor and cli-
ent organisations in the UK. To represent contractors
we chose to survey organisations providing construction
services. To represent clients we chose to survey not-for-
prot social housing providers (housing associations).
The client group was selected for two reasons. Firstly,
one of their main services is to acquire and maintain
housing stock. Therefore, in their dealings with con-
struction companies they full the client role. Secondly,
there are external pressures on housing associations to
develop more eective clientcontractor relationships.
In 1999, The Housing Corporation, which provides cap-
ital grants to the housing associations, stated that hous-
ing associations would have to sign a Construction
Clients Charter. This requires housing associations to
commit to a program of continuous improvement.
Failure to sign would result in the withholding of fund-
ing for new-build projects. In addition, the Housing
D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629 623
Corporation, mirroring the NHS approach described
previously, decided to reduce the number of housing
associations that would qualify for capital grants for
new builds from approximately 350 to between 30 and
40 preferred suppliers; and one requirement of preferred
suppliers is the production of a ve year action plan for
improvement and evidence of progress against the plan.
One of the issues we wished to consider was the valid-
ity of making meaningful comparisons of attitudes and
experiences if respondents were providing generalised
comments that were either not specic to a particular
project or not linked to a particular stage in a projects
life. Therefore, in order to obtain contemporaneous
data, the rst part of the questionnaire asked people
to select a particular project, which could be either
ongoing or completed, and to then base their responses
solely on this project.
In designing our questionnaire, we drew from the
work of Tukel and Rom [29], in terms of developing
appropriate survey instruments for measuring project
success criteria. The rst part of the questionnaire asked
respondents to indicate their perception of the emphasis
that should be placed on the four project success criteria
of minimizing cost, satisfying customers needs, mini-
mizing project duration, and meeting the technical spec-
ication (which were used in Tukel and Roms 2001
study). We also asked respondents about an additional
high-level project success criteria, satisfying other stake-
holders needs. Participants were asked to use a 7-point
Likert scale, where 7 = strong emphasis and 1 = weak
emphasis.
In the questionnaires nal section, we sought more
detail about the focus of project management practice.
Tukel and Rom developed and validated a construct
indicating preferences towards the degree of customer,
time, cost, technical specication, and rework focus.
We adapted this framework to enable us to also measure
the degree of focus on stakeholders. A review of the lit-
erature highlighted the importance of psycho-social fac-
tors related to team members and sta, such as
opportunities to learn and develop [35] and of satisfying
all stakeholders [38] therefore we devised four state-
ments to measure the emphasis placed on stakeholders
linked to these issues. The level of focus associated with
each item was measured using a 7-point Likert scale (see
Appendix Afor extract of questionnaire). The validity of
the construct was examined using Cronbachs alpha test.
The internal consistency for the amended part of the
construct, namely the addition of stakeholder focus, is
strong (alpha value 0.72), suggesting that the construct
is a valid measure.
After piloting the questionnaire in three companies, it
was sent to a total of 1200 UK organisations. To obtain
data from people involved in project management in
housing associations, 350 members of the National
Housing Federation (NHF) were randomly selected
from NHFs Directory of Members. Only organisations
with up to 400 employees were sent the questionnaire.
Fifty-three members (15%) returned completed ques-
tionnaires. Construction companies were selected from
the Fame database of organisations. Questionnaires
were mailed to 200 organisations in the Fame database
were randomly selected from those categorised as con-
struction companies with between 200 and 400 employ-
ees. Of the 200, 38 (19%) returned their questionnaire. A
control group were chosen at random from organisa-
tions categorised as having 200400 employees and hav-
ing one of the following business codes, which were
randomly selected from the business codes listed in the
Fame database:
manufacture of food products and beverages,
manufacture of chemicals and chemical products,
electricity, gas, steam and hot water supply,
computer and related activities,
research and development,
public administration and defence, compulsory social
security,
health and social work.
Six hundred and fty questionnaires were mailed to a
random selection of organisations with these business
codes. 85 (13%) were returned completed. In total, 176
(15%) usable responses were received from the 1200
questionnaires posted.
4. Results
Thirty-eight (22%) of the respondents had the job ti-
tle of project manager. Hundred and thirty-eight (78%)
did not. However, another 81 (46%) respondents stated
they were involved in the management of projects, de-
spite not having a formal job title of project manager.
In all, 119 (68%) respondents worked in the managing
of projects. The other 57 (32%) respondents held related
project management positions, such as sponsor and pro-
ject team member. In order to test for representative bias
t-tests were used to compare the emphasis placed on
project success criteria between (a) those with the job ti-
tle of project manager (38) and the remainder of the
respondents (138) and (b) those involved in managing
a project (119) and those involved in another capacity
(57). The t-tests revealed no signicant dierence in
the emphasis placed on project success criteria (at the
5% level).
In terms of the research hypotheses, the following
was found:
H1: Dierences exist in the emphasis placed on project
success criteria between respondents involved in
projects as client and those involved as contractor.
624 D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629
The mean scores for the 5 project success criteria of
respondents working for construction companies were
compared with those working for housing associations
and those working for companies from a variety of
business sectors (control group). The One Factor
between Subjects (One Way) ANOVA test was used
to investigate whether the mean scores between the
three groups were statistically signicant. One of the
assumptions of the ANOVA test is that the values in
each sample vary about the same amount and that
the ANOVA procedure is much less sensitive to viola-
tions of this requirement when samples of equal size
are used. Therefore, the 38 respondents from construc-
tion companies and 76 respondents randomly selected
from each of the two other groups (38 from the hous-
ing associations and 38 from the control group) were
selected for analysis. The results are shown in Table 1.
For the project success criteria of satisfying the cus-
tomers needs and meeting the technical specication
the signicance (p-value) is >0.05 in each case, suggesting
that there is no dierence in the emphasis placed on these
project success criteria between those in construction
companies and those in housing associations.
For the project success criteria of minimizing project
cost, minimizing the project duration, and satisfy-
ing the needs of stakeholders (other than the customer),
the signicance (p-value) is <0.05 in each case, suggesting
that the dierence between the means is signicant.
The Duncan post hoc test has previously been used to
analyse in more detail variances between dierent sub-
ject groups [39]. Therefore having determined that dier-
ences exist between the means for the three project
success criteria the Duncan post hoc test was applied
to further determine which means diered. Table 2
shows the results.
The Duncan post hoc analysis identies homogenous
subsets that are not signicantly dierent from each
other (at the 5% signicant level). The test shows that
for the minimizing project cost and project duration,
both housing associations and construction companies
give them similar emphasis as the control group, but
construction companies give them more emphasis than
housing associations. In terms of satisfying the needs
of other stakeholders, housing associations and the con-
trol group gave this criterion similar and greater empha-
sis than the construction companies. Therefore the
Duncan post hoc analysis suggests that there is a dier-
ence in the emphasis placed on these project success
criteria between those involved in project management
in construction companies and those in housing
associations.
To investigate the remaining hypotheses, a distinction
was made between the respondents who had above aver-
age other-stakeholder-focus, and those who had an
average or below average focus. To make this distinc-
tion, the mean score for the four statements relating
to other stakeholder focus was calculated and those
from the complete sample of 176 respondents with
scores below the mean were classed as above average
and those with scores at or below the mean were classed
as average or below (after Tukel and Rom [29]). The
results were as follows:
H2: A greater theoretical emphasis by clients (compared
with contractors) on satisfying stakeholders will
result in a higher level of stakeholder-focus in their
project management practice.
The Chi Square test results shown in Fig. 1
(p = 0.489) do not support the hypothesis that those
Table 1
ANOVA Emphasis on project success criteria by the business sector
Sum of squares Degrees of freedom Mean square F-value p-value
Minimizing project cost Between groups 11.421 2 5.711 4.252 0.017
*
Within groups 149.079 111 1.343
Total 160.500 113
Satisfying the customers needs Between groups 0.860 2 0.430 0.573 0.565
Within groups 83.211 111 0.750
Total 84.070 113
Minimizing the project duration Between groups 17.053 2 8.526 5.436 0.006
*
Within groups 174.105 111 1.569
Total 191.158 113
Meeting the technical specication Between groups 4.228 2 2.114 1.859 0.161
Within groups 126.237 111 1.137
Total 130.465 113
Satisfying the needs of stakeholders
(other than the customer)
Between groups 17.965 2 8.982 4.351 0.049
*
Within groups 229.158 111 2.064
Total 247.123 113
*
p-value is <0.05 therefore the results are signicant at the 5% level.
D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629 625
working in housing associations are more likely to
be focused on stakeholders in the actual management
of a project than those working in construction
companies.
5. Discussion
To discuss the implications of the results we return to
each of our two research questions.
What project success criteria are given emphasis by
client and contractor organisations in project
environments?
The signicant ndings in relation to the emphasis
placed on project success criteria between housing asso-
ciations and construction companies are as follows.
First, construction companies put more emphasis on
the cost and time success criteria than housing associa-
tions. Second, construction companies put less emphasis
on meeting the needs of other stakeholders than do
housing associations.
In terms of the rst of these ndings, the dierence
in emphasis on cost and time probably reects the tra-
ditional project management relationship between the
housing association (as client) and the construction
company (as contractor). Cost and time are twin
imperatives to the housing associations, which are un-
der pressure to provide timely, value-for-money solu-
tions in order to ensure future funding from the
Housing Corporation, which is their primary customer
in relation to these types of project. The contractor rec-
ognize these imperatives and take responsibility for
their management, through the production of the pro-
ject budgets and project schedules at the start of the
project and the monitoring and updating of these bud-
gets and schedules as the project progresses. Indeed,
contractors would regard it as their main responsibil-
ity, along with delivering the project to specication,
in order to satisfy the client. Therefore, the dierence
in emphasis involving time and cost would merely re-
ect the natural order of things, with the contractors
perception of a key part of their role to keep the client
happy by bringing the project in within budget and on
schedule.
On a project that is progressing well and meeting its
objectives, as well as providing satisfaction to the key
stakeholders, such a dierence in emphasis on the cost
and time success criteria is clearly not an issue. How-
ever, lending weight to the ndings of prior case stud-
ies [22], the dierence in emphasis may be symptomatic
of a deeper malaise on failing projects, in which the
contractor has not been paying enough attention to
all the stakeholders with interests in the project. This
leads to the second signicant nding regarding the dif-
ference in emphasis on satisfying other stakeholders.
The fact that the contractors put signicantly less
emphasis on satisfying the needs of other stakeholders
besides the customer in comparison to both the
housing associations and the control group (which
comprised sundry manufacturers and service providers)
provides some conrmation of previous studies, such
as Zika-Viktorsson et al. [40]. The lack of emphasis on
meeting the needs of all the stakeholders to the project
may be a particular failing when cost and time objec-
tives are not being met. There may be very good rea-
sons for budget and schedule over-runs, but in these
situations the negative impact on satisfaction ratings
can be minimised, if the project manager has posi-
tioned themselves close to the client group [41]. Such
positioning requires the contractor project manager,
to understand not only the cost and time imperatives,
but also the other measures of success used by all
stakeholders. By developing a relationship with all
54.7 45.3
47.4 52.6
0% 50% 100%
Percent
Housing
Assoc.
Construction
T
y
p
e

o
f

O
r
g
a
n
i
s
a
t
i
o
n
Above Average
Average or Below
Chi Square = 0.479 1df **p=0.489 n = 176
**p-value is >0.05, so results are not significant at the 5% level
Fig. 1. Inuence of customer/supplier relationship on stakeholder-
focus.
Table 2
Duncans post hoc test for emphasis on project success criteria
Business sector N Subset for
alpha = 0.05
1 2
Minimizing project cost
Housing associations 38 5.16
Other (control group) 38 5.42 5.42
Construction 38 5.92
Sig. 0.324 0.063
Minimizing the project duration
Housing associations 38 4.68
Other (control group) 38 5.16 5.16
Construction 38 5.63
Sig. 0.102 0.102
Satisfying the needs of other stakeholders (other than the customer)
Construction 38 4.68
Housing associations 38 5.53
Other (control group) 38 5.53
Sig. 1.000 1.000
Means for groups in homogeneous subsets are displayed; uses har-
monic mean sample size = 38.
626 D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629
the stakeholders in order to better understand these
measures, the contractor will be better positioned to
minimize or overcome the negative impact of not com-
ing in within cost and time. Clearly, the lack of empha-
sis placed on meeting stakeholder needs by the
contractor might be indicative, on the problem pro-
jects, of a failure to engage in a stakeholder manage-
ment process.
How are dierences in the emphasis given to project
success criteria reected in project management
practice?
There are two explanations for the failure of housing
associations, as clients, to exhibit a higher degree of
stakeholder focus on projects than the contractors, gi-
ven that they put more theoretical emphasis on meeting
the needs of stakeholders than do contractors (as dis-
cussed above). Firstly, it conrms that, as highlighted
in the stakeholder management literature, project envi-
ronments are often characterised by a dierence between
what people think they should do and what they do in
practice [37] and additionally, that project management
processes for managing stakeholders could be poorly
understood or ignored [42]. Secondly, it may conrm
prior study that highlighted the failure on the part of cli-
ents to commit to the principles of openness and trust in
their dealings with contractors due to other pressures,
such as commercial imperatives [1]. Indeed, in the case
of housing associations, at the same time as being under
pressure to develop long-term relationships with con-
tractors, there is also pressure to make eciency savings.
Therefore the survey results may reect the pragmatism
of having to emphasis the traditional success criteria,
such as meeting time and cost, over what is perceived
to be important, but more long-term goals, of satisfying
all stakeholders.
6. Conclusions
The study reported in this paper makes two distinct
contributions to project management knowledge.
Firstly, based on establishing the theoretical emphasis
given to project success criteria by those from client
and contractor organisations, this paper establishes
that a failure to agree the priority of measures of suc-
cess is likely to be commonplace. Such a failure has
been shown in prior case study research to be a
characteristic of failed projects and hence a barrier
to eective clientcontractor working relationships
[22]. Secondly, the paper goes beyond the common ap-
proach of previous studies of project success criteria,
which have tended to be focused on establishing nor-
mative models by asking respondents how they think
projects ought to be measured, and through empirical
study explores the extent to which the theoretical
emphasis of measures of success is reected in actual
practice. This exploration shows that from the client
perspective there is a potential mismatch between the
theoretical importance given to satisfying the needs of
other stakeholders and the importance attached to this
criterion as exhibited by project management practice.
This mismatch conrms that the concept of a lack of
normative/empirical integration, which has been re-
ported in stakeholder management literature in relation
to operational environments [37], also applies to some
project environments, and it provides further evidence
of a second barrier to eective clientcontractor work-
ing relationships.
Appendix A. Extract from questionnaire the focus of project management practice
Strong
emphasis
Weak
emphasis
7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Customer-focus
Fully satisfying the customers needs takes precedence over other objectives
Measuring overall customer satisfaction
Making prompt responses to customer requests
Taking corrective action to meet customer requirements
Stakeholder-focus
Providing development opportunities for project team members
Providing organisation learning
Fully satisfying stakeholders needs (other than the customer) taking precedence
over other objectives
Measuring overall stakeholder (other than the customer) satisfaction
(continued on next page)
D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629 627
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D.J. Bryde, L. Robinson / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 622629 629
Contract strategy for design management in the
design and build system
Edwin H.W. Chan
*
, Ann T.W. Yu
Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Received 3 September 2004; received in revised form 14 January 2005; accepted 17 May 2005
Abstract
Project team members in designbuild system, including owners representatives, designbuild (D/B) contractors and architects/
engineers, have to adopt new roles in managing the design of large-scale projects. The design responsibility is transferred from the
owners organization to the D/B contractor who is responsible for the design management in the projects to be delivered by the
designbuild procurement system. However, there remains the concern of design management between the designer and the con-
structor within the D/B organization, or between the joint venture parties of a D/B project. This paper presents a study, which
reviews the issues concerning the design liability and contractual provisions for design management between the designer and D/
B contractor in the said contractual arrangements of designbuild system. It disseminates the results of a questionnaire survey
and structured interviews of three groups of project participants: owners, designers and D/B contractors. The roles and responsi-
bilities of the parties involved in design and design management are less than clear in their respective engagement contracts. In order
to improve the design management of designbuild projects, this paper recommended some strategic items to be considered in draft-
ing contracts between owners/D/B contractors, D/B contractors/designers and owners/independent checkers to address the issues.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Designbuild; Design management; Contract strategy; Liability
1. Introduction
Designbuild system (D/B) is one of the new procure-
ment systems introduced to address the problems associ-
ated with the traditional system and innovative practices
of the D/B system have been developed to cope with the
growth in both the private and the public sectors
[2,21,20]. A design and build project can be performed
by a D/B contracting organization where all services
including design and construction are provided by in-
house teams; or that it can be performed by a construc-
tor who enters into contract with a designer for carrying
out the design works (the designer may be novated to
the constructor by the owner or employed as a separate
designer); or a designer who enters into contract with a
constructor for carrying out the construction works.
The second situation represents most of the cases in
Hong Kong where most of the constructors do not have
in-house design team. Fig. 1 shows the typical contrac-
tual arrangement. The general contractor appoint exter-
nal consultants and together work as a D/B contracting
organization to carry out the design works on a project
basis [30]. It may be an interim solution for D/B system
in an immature construction industry. However, for
many economies, in particular less-developed countries,
where resourceful wholly integrated D/B contracting
companies are not yet available, constructors and
designers join up for specic D/B projects. Within the
D/B contractor organization, there remains the concern
of coordinating the design and construction. It is under
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.05.004
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2766 5800; fax: +852 2362 3979.
E-mail address: bsedchan@polyu.edu.hk (E.H.W. Chan).
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
this contractual arrangement of the D/B system that this
study aims to investigate the design management issues.
The success of D/B procurement systems does not
build on compromising design quality. If all parties
adopt best practice of design management, innovative
designs that incorporate constructability and practicality
do exist in D/B systems [7,18]. As the design and con-
struction processes are under the same umbrella of the
D/B contractor, it is the D/B contractors vested interest
to adopt an active role in the management of design pro-
cess in D/B system. Design management is to ensure that
all the information is managed and distributed sensibly
and responsibly at the right time [15,12]. Research on de-
sign management practice has been mainly focused on
information ow, scheduling and programming [24].
Chang and Ibbs [10] have explored contracting strategy
to help design management by dividing the project work
into task orders that are released to the party in phases.
The benet of exibility with independent design and
supervision in D/B systems may also be the root of the
problems with the new system. With the D/B contractor
assuming the single point of responsibility, it may have
alleviated the owners concern of identifying the party
(design consultant or constructor) to be responsible for
faults in the design and the management of design infor-
mation. The problems of design liability and the respon-
sibility for design management still exist in any project.
Although these problems may be more concerning the
designer (in-house or contracted) and the D/B contrac-
tor, the result in successfully addressing these problems
will still be the owners ultimate benet. The major di-
culty in design management is the need to collaborating
multidisciplinary personnel and issues and the process
also involves the allocation of design responsibilities
among all the project participants and appreciation of
contractual implication in the process [31,16,5,4].
In the D/B organizational structure, an owner relies
on a single source for the delivery of design and con-
struction. The contractual arrangement in D/B system
is drastically dierent to the concept in traditional pro-
curement method. A chosen organizational structure
for a project must be supported by contractual provi-
sions formulated upon a contractual strategy for specic
project objectives. Standard forms of contract for D/B
have been developed and used by reputable interna-
tional institutions, such as the FIDIC. It cannot be as-
sumed that these standard forms can be applied across
the world. Critical research is still lacking for local con-
struction industry, such as that of Hong Kong and
mainland China, where integrated resourceful D/B con-
tractors are not many. Instead of developing a standard
form of contract appropriate to local situations, many
local organizations including government departments,
are making up their D/B contracts by amendments of
or inserting annexation to the standard forms of con-
struction contract suitable for traditional procurement
methods. Compare to standard form of construction
contract, even more neglected by dedicated research is
the new legal relationship for the design consultants
with the constructor and the owner. It needs committed
research to analyze the appropriate duties/authorities of
owners, design consultants, independent checkers and
constructors in project administration and design
management.
1.1. Objectives of this paper
The research study aims to explore contract strategies
and develop a set of key parameters as a guidance of
drafting contracts between constructors/owners/design
consultants to address the design management and de-
sign liability in D/B projects. This paper presents the
data collected in the questionnaire survey and structured
interviews and analyses the performance of design man-
agement in D/B procurement systems with the following
specic objectives:
To investigate the problems associated with contrac-
tual provisions for design management in projects
using D/B systems.
To recommend a set of contractual strategies for
improvement of design management in projects using
D/B systems.
2. Contract strategy
U [28] suggested that the potential of construction
contract as a medium has not been fully explored to im-
prove construction eciency and to achieve reform.
Contract strategy is usually responding to drastic
change or emergence of specic problems requiring solu-
tion. In addition, the contractual matter of D/B system
is relatively a new issue to many local construction
industries, which have their unique problems that
Owner
Architect/
Engineer I
D/B Contractor
D/B
Subcontractors
Architect/
Engineer I or II
Independent
Checkers
(Optional)
Fig. 1. Typical contractual arrangement of D/B procurement system
in Hong Kong.
E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639 631
deserve their own contract strategies. Studies [22,29]
suggested that management structures have signicant
inuence on the quality achieved in a project. Contract
strategy has profound eect on the management struc-
ture of a project. However, there is not much critical re-
search focusing on the eect of legal issues to the
strategy of contract [28]. Barnes [3] had suggested some
specications to be considered for drafting a New Style
Contract, when the New Engineering Contract (NEC)
was considered in the United Kingdom (UK). It is
doubtful that the suggested approaches can be applied
directly to the D/B system adopted in ad hoc situations
in local construction industries of less developed coun-
tries. It is a well-established principle that project risk
should be placed on insurers where practical; otherwise,
it should be placed on whoever gains the main economic
benet of running it [1]. The form of and conditions of
contract could also contribute to the management of
project risk, including exposure to design liability [23].
The contract strategy in this study also aims to address
the risk among all project participants, including own-
ers, constructors, designers and independent checkers,
in dealing with design management in D/B systems.
3. Design duty and liability in designbuild contracts
3.1. Design liability
Although the D/B contractor is responsible for design
in D/B systems, the owner will inevitability be required
to provide some design inputs. Fredrickson [13] has sug-
gested guidelines for determining the appropriate
amount of design needed at the bidding, pricing, and
construction stages of a project using D/B system. The
extent of design information to be provided is an unset-
tled debate, which involves consideration of design
liability. There is a perception within the construction
industry that there are two distinct levels of liability:
tness for purpose and reasonable skill and care.
Gaafar and Perry [14] suggested that the legal position
has been oversimplied due to the lack of legal denition
of the term tness for purpose. The study warned that
some existing forms of contract may not achieve the de-
sired purpose in limiting liability and the contract par-
ties may be misled into a false sense of security. There
are still some unresolved legal issues associated with
D/B system [27,4]. The most important practical prob-
lem encountered in a contract for D/B system is that
the unavailability of insurance to cover design liability
for tness for purpose.
Traditionally, a general contractor, similar to a man-
ufacturer, is responsible for delivering a building t for
the purpose, as the general contractors liability is
judged by the end result. For professional service includ-
ing architectural/engineering design, the professionals
are encouraged to explore new frontier by exercising
their professional judgment with their best endeavor.
Their liabilities are judged by the process and their du-
ties are discharged with due care and skill, not guar-
antee for a result. In the UK and many common law
jurisdictions, the main role of a D/B contractor is com-
parable to that of a manufacturer and shall be responsi-
ble for delivering a building that is t for the purpose.
This type of liability was also imposed upon D/B con-
tractors in Hong Kong in the rst draft of the govern-
ments standard conditions for D/B contract. Upon
request and protest from Hong Kong general contrac-
tors, the liability was reduced to the standard of exercis-
ing reasonable skill and care as that required of
consultants.
3.2. Provisions in standard forms of contract
It cannot be assumed the general law principles will
address the complex nature of the design liability. It is
necessary to state the nature of the design duty expressly
in the contract conditions. The following paragraphs
examine the contract conditions concerning design duty
in some of the popular standard forms of construction
contract:
Clause 8(2)(a) of the Institute of Civil Engineer (ICE)
design and construct conditions of contract provides
that in carrying out all his design obligations the D/B
contractor shall exercise reasonable care and dili-
gence. In the New Engineering Contract (NEC) of
the UK, where the D/B contractor undertakes design,
the design is submitted to the project manager for
acceptance. Where a design duty does exist, a strict lia-
bility is imposed upon the D/B contractor, i.e., liable for
t for purpose [25]. For liability less than t for pur-
pose, an option clause M in the NEC may be elected
which relieve the D/B contractor from liable for defects
in the works due to his design as far as he proves that he
has used reasonable skill and care. Both in the ICE
and NEC contracts, there is no detailed denition as
to the nature of skill and care. It is suggested the skill
and care is that of a person experienced in carrying out
the design and construction of projects of a similar nat-
ure to the works. The popular standard form of contract
in the UK, the Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) 1981 with
contractors design, denes the nature of the skill and
care and implies an exclusion of strict liability. The
contract provides that the D/B contractor shall have in
respect of any defect or insuciency in design the like
liability to the employer, whether under statute or other-
wise, as would an architect or a professional designer.
However, the FIDIC DesignBuild and Turnkey Condi-
tions 1995, an international standard form of contract,
imposes a strict liability on the D/B contractor for de-
sign in Clause 5.4. In Hong Kong, the government has
its own D/B contract and the design responsibility of
632 E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639
the D/B contractor is specied in the clause 23(1), (2)
and (3) of the Government Standard Conditions for De-
sign and Build Contracts 1999 edition. The liability of
the D/B contractor is limited to exercising due care
and skill similar to that required of a professional
designer.
Moreover, under the building control system of many
jurisdictions, the legal responsibility of project partici-
pants in D/B systems is also an area of concern. For
example, with reference to the detailed requirements in
the building law in Hong Kong, the authorized person
(an architect/surveyor/engineer registered under the
buildings ordinance as a competent person to coordinate
building works) and the registered contractors share
many responsibilities together to comply with statutory
requirements [9]. The legal responsibility of the general
contractor and architect/engineer established in the
building control system is based on the contractual
arrangement of a project with the traditional procure-
ment method. One of the major roles of the authorized
person (architect/engineer), as a statutory agent under
the buildings ordinance, is to supervise the works of the
general contractor and to check or sanction the general
contractors work for compliance with the buildings
ordinance. In D/B system, the architect/engineer directly
employed by the D/B contractor may nd it dicult to
discharge his statutory duties as a statutory agent of
the buildings authority [17,6].
The above review highlights the lack of clarity or con-
sistency in international practice on the denition and
level of design liability required of the project partici-
pants. Adding to the confusion is the dierences in local
building law and insurance policy for site supervision
and design responsibility in projects using D/B system.
3.3. Research methodology
A research project was carried out in Hong Kong in
June 2002 to investigate various issues concerning design
management in designbuild contracts that are common
concerns for construction industry in many countries/
economies. The construction industry of Hong Kong
can be a good example with many large projects, such
as the new airport and Tsing Ma Bridge, completed in
recent years partly or wholly using the designbuild sys-
tem. The projects are open to international competition
involving major players of from all over the world work-
ing under the conditions and regulatory system of local
construction industry. The results of this study with
Hong Kong data may have great signicance to other
similar construction industry. Design management in
the study means eective management of design pro-
cess, proper allocation of design liability and cost eec-
tiveness in design process, etc. The present study
included a questionnaire survey to collect opinions from
a random sample size of about 250 construction profes-
sionals, including 50 owners, 150 designers (architects
and engineers), 50 D/B contractors, who are key person-
nel in rms and companies known to have experience
with D/B projects. The names of this sample were ob-
tained form HKIA directory and builder directory. Con-
sidering the size of the Hong Kong construction
industry where, as an illustration, there are only about
160 architectural rms in the territory and practically
all D/B contracts are public sector projects, D/B projects
in Hong Kong involve a relatively focused group of con-
struction practitioners. On this basis, the sample size is
signicant enough for the purposes, as long as we in-
clude most of these practitioners in our survey. The tar-
geted samples were requested to answer questions on the
problems associated with design management in D/B
projects. They were also asked to suggest contract pro-
visions to govern the design management and to allocate
design responsibilities in D/B contracts for the following
parties: D/B contractors and owners, D/B contractors
and designers, and, owners and independent checkers.
Based on the literature review, the relevant topics/
issues are included in the questionnaire. The target sam-
ples were briefed in the questionnaire of this study that
D/B projects refer to those projects that the D/B con-
tractor is responsible for the complete design and con-
struction. After collecting the questionnaire returns,
telephone calls were made to some respondents to clarify
ambiguities in their answers and the data were adjusted
accordingly. Fifteen respondents have also indicated in
their returned questionnaire willingness to be inter-
viewed. Subsequently, structured interviews were con-
ducted with the 15 project participants including
owners, designers and builders to have detailed discus-
sions on the preliminary ndings of the questionnaire
to collect qualitative data for the study. As early as
the 1950s, research approaches have combined quantita-
tive and qualitative methods [26,8]. The integrated
method is said to have reaped the best of both worlds
[11]. In the current study, qualitative data were collected
through structured interviews to support the quantita-
tive research results of the questionnaire through trian-
gulation [19]. By applying both the quantitative and
qualitative methods as a triangulating strategy, the data
of one research method (qualitative in this case) helps a
generalization of the ndings based on another research
method (quantitative in this case) for the same topic.
4. Survey results and ndings
4.1. Prole of survey respondents
There were 42 completed and valid questionnaire
sheets returned representing a response rate of 18%,
which is close to normal expectation for an opinion sur-
vey. The questionnaire data was buttressed by 15
E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639 633
follow-up interviews with individual construction pro-
fessionals who were willing to take part in the research.
As the questionnaire survey results have been adjusted
based on interview feedbacks, the following presents
the results and ndings of the survey after combining
the results of both the questionnaire survey and struc-
tured interviews. The prole of survey respondents in
that the majority of the respondents were D/B contrac-
tors (42%) while the owners and designers each ac-
counted for 29% of the respondents. Ninety percent of
the respondents are senior professionals and have over
ve years experience in D/B systems. By running Stu-
dents t-test using the SPSS software, where t = 11.981,
p = 0.000, it is statistically signicant at 1% level that
the respondents can represent the target populations
in Hong Kong.
4.2. Extent of design liability required of D/B contractor
To what extent of design liability should a D/B
contractor be responsible? From the overall result in
Fig. 2, although t for purpose was slightly higher,
the choice was not very clear. As expected, the views
of designers and constructors are opposite to each other,
with the constructor clearly preferred to restrict their de-
sign liability to due care and skill. It is important to
note their diering concerns on the matter. The owners
were indierent to any of the choices, because the single
point of responsibility for design and construct seems to
have addressed the owners concern with the extent of
design responsibility. The fact is that for most D/B pro-
jects, the D/B contracting organization is formed by
independent construction company and design consul-
tant rm to as a consortium to tackle a specic project.
The problem of design liability and design management
are still major concerns among project participants.
Study on the problems and solutions for design manage-
ment among project participants will benet the project
owner as well. Follow-up interviews found out the fact
that most of the respondents did not fully understand
or realize the dierence and their extent of liability in de-
sign. This support conclusion of Gaafar and Perry [14]
that design liability is not well understood by the project
participants. They had to be explained during interview
and Fig. 2 reects the statistics with adjustments made
to the survey data after interviews.
4.3. Contractual provisions in the contracts between D/B
contractor and owner
Looking at the overall results in Fig. 3, most of the
respondents (61% for overall), with great enthusiasm
from the D/B contractors (77%), welcomed the provi-
sions that enable the D/B contractors to oer better de-
sign and detailing after the award of contracts with some
compensation as an incentive. The owner was found the
best party to verify whether the D/B contractor has sub-
mitted better design concept and detailing. Forty-seven
percent of the participants, with owners predominantly
supporting the idea, were in favor of using two-envelops
tender evaluation. This tender practice requires the
tenderers to submit two separate envelops, with one
containing the technical proposal and the other one con-
taining the corresponding tender sum. Only the best
two/three technical proposals will be considered for ten-
der price comparison/competitiveness.
Fig. 2. Extent of design liability of D/B contractor.
634 E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639
On the issues of quality and site supervision, 45% of
the designers and 46% of the owners suggested including
provisions, which require stringent control on the mate-
rial/workmanship standards and supervision of works
during construction period in the D/B contract. They
were the parties who worried about the quality of work
delivered by the D/B contractor, even though the de-
signer was working under the D/B contractor. Although
independence of the designer (architect/engineer) carry-
ing the role of a statutory agent was a concern under
the Hong Kong building control system, only 30% of
the participants suggested including provisions, which
require an independent authorized person (AP) to carry
out regular site inspections for compliance with build-
ings ordinance. This result comes to a surprise in view
of the fact that in many countries such as the USA, it
is a common practice to engage independent third party
checker for D/B projects. In the structured interviews,
those in favor of having an independent checker sug-
gested that the owners should, through a separate
engagement contract, directly employ the independent
AP for the D/B projects.
4.4. Contractual concerns between D/B contractor and
designer
From the results in Fig. 4, designers were concerned
about the adequacy of current contract provisions in
dening their design responsibility. Eighty-two percent
of the designers would like to have a standard form of
design consultant agreement specically developed for
the local construction industry to appoint architects/
engineers by the D/B contractor. The owners group is
more concerned about the extent of site inspection pro-
vided by the architect/engineer. The extent of site inspec-
tion required of an architect/engineer under a D/B
contract could be dierent from discharging their statu-
tory duties as the authorized person under the buildings
ordinance. The owners requested site inspection respon-
sibility of the designer to be clearly indicated in their
appointment agreement with the D/B contractor.
Who should be responsible for design management?
From the results of Fig. 5, more than 40% of the
respondents suggested that the party to be responsible
for the overall design management of the project
should be specied in the D/B contract. Thirteen out
of 15 interviewees agreed that the D/B contractor
was the best party to be responsible for the overall
design management process. It is because from the
risk point of view, the D/B contractor has the respon-
sibility and incentive for the overall coordinate of the
construction process. He knows when the information
is required to suit his construction schedule and he
has the best knowledge of material and labor cost.
This new role of design management poses the biggest
challenge to D/B contractors, as most of the construc-
tors were not trained to design or to manage the
design process. This problem was acknowledged in
the interviews with D/B contractors in Hong Kong
who generally do not have training in the design
process or adequate experience in design management,
but they believe that given the responsibility,
experience would be accumulated after managing a
few D/B projects.
Fig. 3. Contractual provisions to be included in the contracts between D/B contractor and owner to improve design management process in the D/B
projects.
E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639 635
4.5. Contractual provisions in the contracts between owner
and independent checker
In Fig. 6, more than 60% of all the respondents, with
the majority from the owner group, agreed that the inde-
pendent checkers should be liable for his comments/
instructions given to the designers. Forty-six percent of
the D/B contractors group viewed that the independent
checker should share the design responsibility with the
project architect/engineer. Seventy-two percent of the
designer group and 47% of the D/B contractors group
suggested the independent checker should be an inde-
pendent authorized person/registered structural engineer
in the role of a statutory agent to ensure compliance
with the building law. The two groups with their respec-
tive responsibilities under building laws worried about
the conict in their roles under the commercial contract
and duties required by statute. Generally, the issue on
the fee of independent checkers was not a matter of ma-
jor concern for all groups.
5. Recommendations
The following summarizes the key recommendations
derived from the ndings of the survey and interviews.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Overall Client Designer Contractor
Group
Percentage
Architect
Contractor
Client's PM
Fig. 5. Who is the best party to be responsible for overall design management process?
Fig. 4. The contractual concerns in the agreement between D/B contractor and designer.
636 E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639
The recommendations encapsulate the contract strategy
and key parameters to be adopted in drafting various
contracts between project participants to address design
management in D/B projects.
5.1. Appropriate contract to address design liability of all
project participants
In D/B contracts, the project participants have to
adopt the changed roles and responsibilities. Site
supervision and statutory responsibilities among
project participants are the grey areas that need clar-
ication for each local construction industry. The pro-
ject participants should have a better understanding
on their legal exposure in design liability, but have
to concede that it is a dicult topic to master. The
study results emphasize that the roles and responsibil-
ities of the parties involved in design and design
management should be clearly specied in the respec-
tive contracts between project participants to avoid
misunderstanding and dispute. Although international
standard forms of contract, such as the NEC and
FIDIC, are available, they only provide the overall
framework and general provisions to address the
issues and is mainly between the owner and the D/B
contractor. Models of liability with appropriately
drafted clauses, which reect the local practice and
prevailing legal and insurance contexts, should be
provided for the local standard forms of construction
contracts and consultants appointment agreements.
5.2. Contract between owner and D/B contractor
5.2.1. Use two-envelops tender evaluation
The major drawback of D/B procurement system is
that many D/B contractors heavy resources are wasted
in tender stage to prepare a contractors proposal. The
owner also has to spend on evaluating the tenders sub-
mitted by the list of D/B contractors. It is recommended
that two-envelops tender evaluation should always be
used, where only the best two/three design proposals will
be considered for further tendering on price comparison/
competitiveness. The two-envelopes process is that each
tenderer submit a technical proposal (rst envelope) and
a nancial bid (second envelope) simultaneously. Only
those companies who are assessed as technically compe-
tent will then be considered on the nancial bids. Tender
award decision is based on the overall score from the
technical and nancial bids, each bearing dierent
weighting according to the project nature.
5.3. Agreement between D/B contractor and architect/
engineer
5.3.1. New standard design consultant agreement
It is not acceptable to modify a traditional architect/
engineer standard appointment agreement for D/B
contractors to appoint an architect/engineer. For each
local construction industry, a new standard consultant
agreement for the appointment of architects/engineers
in D/B projects should be developed, with due reference
to the international standard forms such as the NEC
Fig. 6. Contractual provisions to be included in the contracts between owner and independent checker to improve design management process in
D/B project.
E.H.W. Chan, A.T.W. Yu / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 630639 637
and FIDIC, but with specic considerations given to re-
ect the prevailing concept of design liability, local
building controls, and the local legal and insurance
contexts.
5.3.2. Party responsible for overall design management
Traditionally, the lead designer (architect/engineer)
manages the design process. In D/B systems, the D/B
contractor is responsible to the owner for the overall
delivery of design and construction. The management
of design process aects the design responsibility among
participants and inuences the project success. It is nec-
essary for D/B contractors to acquire design manage-
ment skills in order to communicate eectively with his
design consultants. The study concluded that the D/B
contractor is the best party for the leading role in the de-
sign management of D/B projects. This is not because
the D/B contractor is better qualied but it reects the
reality of risk allocation in the minds of project partici-
pants. The D/B contractor is nancially at stake to deli-
ver the project successfully and has the most resource in
terms of manpower, cost and equipment to manage the
construction process. He knows when the information is
required to suit his construction schedule and he has the
best knowledge of material and labor cost. With such
risk and responsibility, it is imperative that D/B contrac-
tor should invest on training personnel to be competent
on design management. Contractually, no matter who is
responsible for the overall design management, the
responsible person, be it the project manager, the de-
signer or constructor of the project, should be specied
in the D/B contract and the corresponding consultant
appointment agreements to ensure that those managing
the process are liable for their instructions.
5.4. Contract between owner and independent checkers
5.4.1. Liability for comment/instruction on design
The independent checkers shall be liable for their com-
ments/instructions given to the designers. Independent
checkers should share the design responsibility with the
designers and constructors. The extent of his design lia-
bility should be summed up in a warranty to the owner
with the fee commensurate to his liability. As for the con-
tract between owner and independent checker, it was sug-
gested that the independent checkers fee shall be allowed
in the contract sum and the independent checker is paid
only upon the owners satisfaction/instruction.
5.4.2. Independent checker to address statutory
compliance
The role and design liability of an independent checker
vary according to the terms in the D/B contracts and the
owners appointment agreement, which dene his design
liability under the contract and building codes. The role
of a designer (architect/engineer) on site inspection is also
ambiguous in D/B projects. His site supervision role un-
der the consultant appointment agreement and the D/B
contract may have a conict with his duty to comply with
statutory requirements under the local building control
law. In viewof such complication, it is recommended that
the independent checker should be directly employed by
the owner instead of by the D/Bcontractor as an indepen-
dent agent to ensure compliance with all the requirements
under the local building law, including design standards
and site inspection. The share and demarcation of design
responsibilities between independent checkers and
designers shall be properly addressed in their respective
appointment agreements with the owners. In fact, the
appointment of an independent third party is a com-
mon practice in D/B projects in the USA. Each local con-
struction industry may have dierent sets of building
law and control framework. It is a matter of giving due
reference to similar international practice but clearly ad-
dress the local building control to avoid ambiguity and
misunderstanding.
6. Conclusions
There may be literature about contractual analysis of
D/B project procurement, but study focusing on the
contractual issues of design management is very limited.
This paper presents the part of a study, which investi-
gates all the issues relating to design management in
D/B systems. Although the line of design liability be-
tween the owner and the D/B contractor is straightfor-
ward, the issues of design management and liability
are more complicated and are matters of concern for
many other project participants. The study has reviewed
the contractual issues in literature and identied the
appropriate contractual strategies, which have then been
veried through statistical analyses of survey and quali-
tative analyses of structural interviews. In view of the lo-
cal dierences with regard to legal and insurance
contexts for design liability, a set of key parameters
are recommended as guidance for preparing a well coor-
dinated set of construction contracts and corresponding
consultant appointment agreements to address design
management in D/B systems.
Acknowledgement
This paper is supported by a research grant provided
by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
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The role of project management in university computing
resource departments
David Wierschem
*
, Chuck Johnston
1
Midwestern State University, 3410 Taft Blvd., Wichita Falls, TX 76308-2099, United States
Received 25 January 2005; received in revised form 12 April 2005; accepted 17 May 2005
Abstract
Todays businesses have learned the value of incorporating formal project management practices and tools. However, the drivers
that have pushed businesses to adopt them have not had as large an impact on institutions of higher education. This paper inves-
tigates the acceptance and usage of formal project management techniques by university information technology departments.
Results of a mail survey determined that current university IT departments lag behind their business peers in the adoption and usage
of project management practices and tools. Additionally, it was discovered that the most utilized project management function by
the academic institutions was project planning.
2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Information technology; Environmental; Value
1. Introduction
Project management (PM) as a discipline is well
established. Acknowledged to have conceptually begun
with the World War II Manhattan Project to develop
the atomic bomb [1], its evolution and acceptance has
continued to expand. Structured around the ever-
present concerns related to scheduling project tasks,
Gantt charts have become its most commonly recog-
nized communication tool. Manually constructed time-
scaled bar charts were rst developed by Henry Gantt
in 1917 to solve the problem of scheduling troops during
World War I. As military and industry projects became
more complex, methods such as the critical path method
(CPM) and program evaluation and review technique
(PERT) were developed to include the precedence rela-
tionships between tasks [2]. As projects increased in size
and complexity, computerization became necessary to
eciently and eectively manage them. Currently, there
are many PC compatible project management applica-
tions available, such as Microsofts Project.
The acceptance of PM by industry, specically the
construction and manufacturing sectors, is well docu-
mented by the many case studies and trade journal
articles that discuss it. However, the facilitating power
of PM tools and techniques has only recently begun to
be applied to Information Technology (IT) projects.
While business acceptance of PM for IT projects is
growing, the same may not be said of academic institu-
tions. Somewhat removed from mainstream business
practices, academia has historically lagged behind in
the adoption of new developments and this is especially
true in the area of IT. This paper explores the current
status of acceptance and utilization of PM tools and
techniques within university IT departments.
0263-7863/$30.00 2005 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2005.05.005
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 940 397 6260; fax: +1 940 397 4280.
E-mail addresses: David.Wierschem@MWSU.edu (D. Wierschem),
Chuck.Johnston@MWSU.edu (C. Johnston).
1
Tel.: +1 940 397 4361; fax: +1 940 397 4280.
www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
2. Drivers of IT project management
The need for organizations to gain better control of
their IT projects was increasingly being discussed by
the 1980s. It was generally recognized that many infor-
mation technology projects failed. By the mid 1990s,
more than $250 billion was being spent each year on
approximately 175,000 IT application development pro-
jects. Many of these projects were delivered late and
over budget, or not delivered at all. These statistics were
included in a study published in 1995 by The Standish
Group in which 365 US IT executive managers were sur-
veyed to assess the success rate of over 8000 projects
(success being dened as projects completed on-time,
within the budget, and having all initially specied fea-
tures and functions). After determining the success rate
to be only 16.2%, the study was titled CHAOS, to re-
ect the then current state of IT projects in the US. In
addition to the dismal success rate, over 31% of the pro-
jects were cancelled before being completed, or $81 bil-
lion of the aggregate $250 billion IT project
investment for the year. Given that the average cost of
a development project for a large company was $2.3 mil-
lion, for a medium company $1.3 million, and for a
small company $434,000, the organizational risk of fail-
ure associated with IT projects was not insignicant.
One conclusion of the study was the need to improve
project management practices in the IT industry [3].
In 1997, a study by KPMG surveyed 1450 Canadian
institutions (public and private) to determine the reasons
for unsuccessful IT project development. 61% of the
responding companies reported having a failed project.
The top three reasons were poor project planning, a
weak business case, and lack of top management
involvement and support [4]. Project planning is one
of the cornerstones of proper PM practices.
The assertions of the Standish report and other re-
search resulted in an increased focus on IT project man-
agement. The Standish Group published follow up
studies in 1998 [5] and 2001 [6]. The reported success
rates of IT projects increased to 26% and 28%, respec-
tively, while cost overruns and failures declined. Much
of the improvement was attributed to better project
management practices in the IT industry. Part of the
emphasis on project management during the period
leading up to January 1, 2000 can be attributed to the
number of projects and the urgency associated with
the Y2K problem.
During this same period, another event occurred that
had a signicant impact on the IT industry. The bursting
of the e-commerce bubble resulted in the loss of thou-
sands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment.
Despite the misconceptions by many that business-
to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce was dead and traditional
brick-and-mortar companies would no longer invest in
e-business, the projections for growth in 2001 were for
a 10-fold growth in B2C e-commerce during the next
four years and a 25% increase in investment for e-
business technology during the next year [7].
With the convergence of the Standish reports on pro-
ject success and the continuing need to develop e-
business capabilities, business management began to
take a closer look at how they invested their IT dollars
and the resulting management of the projects. New pro-
jects have come under increased scrutiny. Because of the
ease of measurement and historical usage nancial anal-
ysis has become the norm for selecting and prioritizing
IT projects. Some of the techniques utilized include re-
turn on investment, payback period, and other forms
of future protability analysis. Financial accountability
during development requires monitoring all aspects of
the project, while tracking the progress of tasks towards
schedule milestones, makes the adoption and implemen-
tation of formal PM techniques necessary.
The recent emphasis on PM certications and train-
ing are also evidence of the dramatic increase of the
employment of formalized PM principles. The Project
Management Institute (PMI) is the primary professional
society for project managers. It oers certication as a
Project Management Professional (PMP) for those pass-
ing an exam, agreeing to follow a code of ethics, and
having sucient experience to qualify. While statistics
breaking out the certications of IT project managers
are not available, overall PMP certications have grown
to over 75,000 today [8].
There are also many other project management certi-
cation and training accreditation programs currently
being oered. In the United Kingdom, Craneld Uni-
versity and the University of Manchester support ad-
vanced degrees in project management, while the APM
Group maintains a list of accredited project manage-
ment training organizations. Throughout the world in
other countries such as Denmark, Canada, France,
and the United States, universities have established pro-
ject management courses in undergraduate and graduate
programs, as well as formal degree designations in pro-
ject management at both levels.
3. IT project management in business
PM has become a staple of the business community
becoming a standard part of most organizational plan-
ning processes. White and Fortune [9] performed a sur-
vey to identify the current practices of project
management in business. Their survey covered both pri-
vate and public sector project managers. They identied
6 groups of PM tools: methods, tools, decision tech-
niques, risk assessment tools, computer models, data-
base, etc., and simulations. Only 2% of the
respondents did not use any formal PM methodology.
The most popular methodologies used, at 54%, were
D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649 641
those developed in house. Over 95% of respondents used
some type of PM tool with the most popular tool being
o-the-shelf PM software.
In a study of project management software use direc-
ted at the construction industry, Liberatore et al. [10]
surveyed 688 project managers. The complexity of pro-
jects was found to be the most inuential factor aecting
software use. The study also found that 97% of the con-
struction industry respondents used some type of PM
software with 83% having used it for control as well as
for planning.
Within the IT business environment, utilizing PM
techniques has taken on increased importance, espe-
cially with the high costs of IT investment. It has been
stated that part of the reason for IT project failure is
the subjective nature of project status reporting [11].
In terms of project management, it is the lack of formal
PM planning and tracking that permits the coloring of
factual data. That is to say, without standardized formal
processes, negative project monitoring results can be
skewed, if not completely hidden.
Aladwani [12] evaluated the mediating eects of pro-
ject planning with project size, project diversity and
technical complexity as they relate to IT project success
in Kuwait. The results of his analysis conrmed that
project planning is a major contributor to IT project
success. Improved project planning is an outcome of
applying formal PM techniques.
According to Pulk [13], another contributor to the
need for PM in the IT eld is that the complexity of soft-
ware is resulting in an increase in development costs. To
reverse this trend he supports the increased use of PM
techniques to improve leadership, planning, and control
skills of software project managers.
However, given the increased attention being paid to
PM needs, the supply of trained and qualied individu-
als who can apply project management power to IT
projects is limited. Clark [14] identied a gap existing be-
tween the perceptions of organizational administrators
and technology practitioners. Carole McPherson, the
lead author of the Meta Groups report on Best
Practices in Project Estimation and Performance Man-
agement says, Nearly 80% of the CIOs we interviewed
said the lack of project management skills was going to
rear up and bite them, but the project managers say,
No, were cool. Additionally, in a survey of 219 IT
executives performed by Meta Group, Inc., 75% of
respondents indicated a lack of in house PM skills, but
few of their organizations oer any formal project man-
agement training [15].
4. Project management in academia
The forces that have driven the business environment
to adopt formal PM techniques have not had the same
eect within the academic environment. While the Stan-
dish Groups conclusions with regard to the need for im-
proved IT project management practices are likely just
as applicable to the academic environment as to the
business environment, the lack of marketplace forces re-
duces the impetus to implement them.
A growing amount of literature on the advantages
and eciencies that can be achieved through the use
of formal PM techniques within the academic environ-
ment is beginning to surface. Bickers [16] discusses the
use of informal PM techniques in the operations of
admissions programs. His analysis of a ctional admis-
sions process provides the basis for illustrating how an
informal development process can be mapped to a more
formal PM structure. He also states that applying such
formal structure to the development process can lead
to improved eciencies and success.
Others have provided anecdotal evidence in support
of PM practices in academia providing measurable
improvements. Murphy [17] presents an argument
for the application of formal PM techniques to the de-
sign and development of instructional materials. Con-
way [18] discusses the impact of using formal PM
techniques on the success of developing a client/server
fundraising system. Henry [19] shows that the use of
formal PM techniques can help contain costs in school
district construction projects. The use of formal PM
techniques supported the implementation of a new
campus wide information system at Lafayette College
[20].
The majority of the literature addressing academias
involvement with project management has been anec-
dotal or application based. However, there is evidence
of a growing realization that PM techniques need to
be adopted for IT projects as well. As part of approval
and funding requirements for IT projects, several states
have legislation that requires public funded universities
to use some formal PM analysis and tracking processes
[21,22].
While business and academia appear to have taken
dierent paths to adoption of PM techniques, they are
both traveling to the same destination. The business
environment has shifted into high gear and is rapidly
implementing the PM techniques that will allow them
to react to the driving forces they face. Academia has
only recently begun to move down their path.
5. Research objective
As the funding situations at most public universities
continue to tighten, increased accountability measures
are being imposed. IT projects vary in size from small
to those large enough to warrant substantial cost and
schedule monitoring. Utilizing PM tools and techniques
for IT projects is one way of addressing this concern.
642 D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the current status
of project management adoption and utilization within
the university IT environment. Based on the results of
this initial evaluation, recommendations can be made
for further research in specic areas of potential benet
to university IT departments.
6. Methodology
To evaluate the acceptance and usage of formal
project management techniques in academic institu-
tions, an anonymous survey was distributed to 500
randomly selected US university information technol-
ogy departments. The sample was obtained from the
university population as dened by the Higher Educa-
tion Directory and consisted of the following Carnegie
classications: Doctoral/Research Universities Exten-
sive and Intensive; Masters Colleges and Universities
I and II; Baccalaureate Colleges Liberal Arts and
General, and Baccalaureate/Associates Colleges. The
total population set included 1469 universities.
The survey instrument contained 13 questions printed
on the front and back of a single sheet of paper. Demo-
graphic information collected consisted of the number
of employees in the IT department, number of students
enrolled at the university, and whether the institution
was public or private. Other questions looked at factors
aecting the priority of IT projects, the importance of
organizational sponsors for IT projects, and designating
someone as a project manager on new development ef-
forts. The remainder of the survey focused on the uni-
versity IT departments identifying themselves as using
formal PM tools and techniques. All questions are ex-
plained in more detail when presented with the survey
results.
A pilot test of the survey instrument was conducted
to evaluate the usability of the survey instrument. Based
upon feedback from the pilot test, modications to the
instrument were made. The updated survey was then
distributed to the sample set of 500 universities. The sur-
veys were addressed to the Director of IT services at
each university. Four weeks later a second mailing of
the survey was made. Because the survey was anony-
mous, a second complete mailing of the sample set
was delivered. It requested that if the recipient had al-
ready completed the survey previously they were not
to respond to the second mailing.
A total of 101 usable surveys were returned for a re-
sponse rate of 20%. Figs. 1 and 2 describe the overall
demographics of the sample respondents universities.
Figs. 3 and 4 describe the individual descriptive statistics
for the sub-categories of public and private universities.
As previously noted, the study population consisted
of 1469 institutions listed in the Higher Education
Directory. Of those universities listed, 36% (530) were
public and 64% (939) private. The sample set consisted
of 500 randomly selected institutions from the popula-
tion set. Of the sample universities, 42% (210) were
Fig. 1. Survey respondents demographics - students.
Fig. 2. Survey respondents demographics IT departments.
Fig. 3. Descriptive statistics students public versus private.
D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649 643
public and 58% (290) private. The respondent set of 101
institutions consisted of 41% (41) public and 59% (60)
private.
The validity of the sampling was tested using stan-
dard condence interval analysis. The proportion of
public versus private university participation in the sur-
vey for the representative sample was within the 95%
condence interval relative to the population set. The
proportion of public versus private university responses
to the survey was within the 95% condence interval rel-
ative to the sample set but not to the population set. See
Table 1 for the condence intervals (CIs).
7. Results
Some project management techniques are utilized
whenever a project is identied. This is true regardless
of the scope or complexity of the project, or the organi-
zation responsible for it. The issue under study how-
ever, is the identication and application of formal
project management tools/techniques in university IT
departments.
The continued development of technology advances
and new technology-based products results in a never
ending string of projects for university IT departments.
Whether it is upgrades, extensions to existing infrastruc-
ture, development of new systems or processes to meet
regulatory mandates such as the Patriot Act, there are
always more projects to do than there are resources to
develop them.
With this in mind, three questions were asked of all
respondents relative to their utilization of project man-
agement concepts, irrespective of whether they were for-
mal or informal. IT directors were given a list of factors
that aect the priority of projects in their departments
and asked to rank their top ve (5) from most to least
important. These factors were identied through a care-
ful search of current project management texts. The fac-
tors listed were, in no particular order: regulatory
requirement, administrative request, resource availabil-
ity, ROI justication, competitive necessity, operational
necessity, and strategic objective. Table 2 provides the
resulting descriptive data.
Operational necessity was the most important inu-
encing factor for project priority with 77 respondents,
or 76%, ranking it as either rst or second. Another
way to interpret the results is to evaluate the strength
of each inuence based on the overall number of times
it was selected, regardless of its assigned rank. This
serves to further identify a factor as having an inuence,
even if it may not be the most inuential. Based on this
analysis, operational necessity was identied as having
the most important inuence with all but one respon-
dent identifying it as a top ve factor. It was closely fol-
lowed by strategic objective with 95 respondents, or
94%, selecting it in their top ve ranking.
Of special interest is the observation that ROI justi-
cation ranked last with only 29% of the respondents
identifying it as a top ve factor aecting project prior-
ity. This can perhaps be explained by the non-prot
nature of academia. However, this bodes the question
of whether private institutions, which rely solely on tui-
tion and are therefore more subject to marketplace inu-
ences as well as nancial pressures, rank the inuences
dierently than their public sector counterparts. Table 3
provides public university versus private university
comparisons.
An analysis of public versus private universities re-
sults shows that both identify operational necessity as
the most important inuencing factor in terms of both
total number of responses and top two ranking. It is also
closely followed for both by strategic objective. Addi-
tionally, both public and private institutions ranked
ROI justication as having the least impact on IT pro-
ject priority.
A Wilcoxon rank sum test identied no statistical dif-
ference between the rankings of the public institutions
and the private institutions. This indicates that there ex-
ists a general mindset relative to the criteria used to pri-
oritize projects in the academic IT environment.
Fig. 4. Descriptive statistics IT departments public versus private.
Table 1
Public and private population, sample, and respondent set CIs
Public universities Private universities
Population, n = 1496 36% (530) 64% (939)
Sample set, n = 500 42% (210) 58% (290)
Sample set 95% CI 50.131.4% 4868%
Respondent set, n = 101 41% (41) 59% (60)
Respondent set 95% CI 46.337.7% 4969%
644 D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649
Survey respondents were then asked the importance
of a project having an organizational sponsor relative
to project selection and ultimate completion. The
response utilized a Likert scale ranging from 1 (abso-
lutely necessary) to 5 (not at all necessary). The average
response was 2.33 with a standard deviation of 1.1. This
indicates that in academia opinions vary widely as to the
importance of IT project sponsorship for projects to be
selected and completed.
Analysis performed on the public and private univer-
sity data separately yielded similar results. Public
institutions had an average score of 2.24 with a standard
deviation of .99 and private institutions had an average
score of 2.38 with a standard deviation of 1.17. Perform-
ing a KruskalWallis and a Wilcoxon comparison of
means yielded no statistically signicant dierence
between them.
Next, respondents were asked if they designate a
project manager for new projects. Of the 101 respon-
dents, 88% said they did. 93% of public universities
assigned project managers while 83% of private univer-
sities did. The reason private universities may not utilize
designated project managers to the same extent as public
universities is that the IT stas of private universities are
not as large, and therefore they have developed special-
ists that assume the duties of project management.
IT directors were then asked specically if their
departments utilized formal project management
tools/techniques. Of the 101 respondents, 75% said they
did utilize formal project management tools/techniques,
resulting in 25% indicating they did not. However, based
on the previous questions, it is obvious that many of
those IT departments not acknowledging formal usage
do in fact practice some project management techniques.
The remainder of the survey was completed by only
those IT directors who indicated they did utilize formal
project management tools/techniques. This resulted in a
total of 76 remaining respondent data sets.
These respondents were rst asked to rank in order of
importance, from most important to least important, up
to 10 formal project management tools/techniques used
by their departments. The list of tools/techniques from
which to choose was developed by a careful analysis
of various project management texts. The list consisted
of:
work breakdown structure;
cost analysis for project selection;
formal organization PM methodology;
Gantt charts for scheduling;
PERT diagrams;
project plan;
risk monitoring/management;
critical path analysis;
resource loading/allocation;
resource leveling;
project monitoring;
status/budget reporting;
review meetings with stakeholders;
scope/other change control system.
Summary statistics are provided in Table 4.
Table 3
Project priority factors public versus private universities
Priority inuence
factors
Public universities Private universities
Total count % of Responses
(n = 41)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 41)
Total
count
% of Responses
(n = 60)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 60)
Regulatory requirement 28 68 14 34 32 53 17 28
Administrative request 31 76 7 17 51 85 11 18
Resource availability 26 63 5 12 39 65 11 18
ROI Justication 10 24 1 2 19 32 3 5
Competitive necessity 28 68 2 5 44 73 6 10
Operational necessity 41 100 31 76 59 98 46 77
Strategic objective 39 95 22 54 56 93 26 43
Table 2
Project priority factors
Project priority
inuence factors
Total count % of Responses
(n = 101)
Count identied as
1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 101)
Regulatory requirement 60 59 31 31
Administrative request 82 81 18 18
Resource availability 65 64 16 16
ROI Justication 29 29 4 4
Competitive necessity 72 71 8 8
Operational necessity 100 99 77 76
Strategic objective 95 94 48 48
D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649 645
It is clear to see that the most used tool or technique
is project planning with 64% of the respondents identify-
ing it as either their rst or second most important tool.
It was ranked in the top 10 by 87% of the respondents.
While project monitoring, status/budget reporting and
reviews with stakeholders were also ranked high by the
number of respondents who identied them as a top
10 tool (79%, 74% and 72%, respectively), the number
who identied them as a top one or two were signi-
cantly less (20%, 11% and 22%, respectively).
The results for comparing public and private sectors
are provided in Table 5.
The response patterns for the public and private uni-
versities generally reected those of the whole. However,
while the overall percentage of public universities rank-
ing project planning in their top 10 (82%) is less than pri-
vate universities (91%), the percentages are essentially
the same for 1st or 2nd in importance (64% and 65%,
respectively). This may be a reection of the increased
scrutiny that public institutions are under from their
governing bodies. By utilizing formal project planning
tools, they provide a higher degree of condence to their
nancial overseers.
Another observation is that public institutions in-
cluded project monitoring (82%) in their top 10 lists as
much as project planning (82%), but only ranked it 1st
or 2nd in importance 18% of the time. One explanation
for this may be legislative accountability. Utilizing for-
mal project monitoring tools allows the institutions to
primarily meet regulatory mandates for accountability.
Beyond that purpose, monitoring the project is not con-
sidered more important than a number of other PM
tools/techniques.
The KruskalWallis test identied risk monitoring/
management and resource leveling as having statistically
signicant deviations at the 10% level (p = .0621 and
Table 4
Formal PM tools/techniques
Formal PM tools/techniques used Total count % of Responses
(n = 76)
Count identied
as 1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 76)
Work breakdown structure 32 42 9 12
Cost analysis for project selection 31 41 12 16
Formal organization PM methodology 30 39 15 20
Gantt charts for scheduling 33 43 7 9
PERT diagrams 5 7 0 0
Project plan 66 87 49 64
Risk monitoring/management 33 43 2 3
Critical path analysis 21 28 1 1
Resource loading/allocation 33 43 3 4
Resource leveling 14 18 0 0
Project monitoring 60 79 15 20
Status/budget reporting 56 74 8 11
Review meetings with stakeholders 55 72 17 22
Scope/other change control system 39 51 5 7
Table 5
Formal PM tools/techniques public versus private universities
Formal PM
tools/techniques used
Public universities Private universities
Total
count
% of
Responses
(n = 33)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of
Responses
(n = 33)
Total
count
% of
Responses
(n = 43)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of
Responses
(n = 43)
Work breakdown structure 18 55 6 18 14 33 3 7
Cost analysis for project selection 16 49 5 15 15 35 7 16
Formal organization PM methodology 16 49 7 21 14 33 8 19
Gantt charts for scheduling 15 46 3 9 18 42 4 9
PERT diagrams 2 6 0 0 3 7 0 0
Project plan 27 82 21 64 39 91 28 65
Risk monitoring/management 19 58 1 3 14 33 1 2
Critical path analysis 9 27 1 3 12 28 0 0
Resource loading/allocation 13 39 0 0 20 47 3 7
Resource leveling 3 9 0 0 11 26 0 0
Project monitoring 27 82 6 18 33 77 9 21
Status/budget reporting 26 79 3 9 30 70 5 12
Review meetings with stakeholders 24 73 6 18 31 72 11 26
Scope/other change control system 14 42 1 3 25 58 4 9
646 D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649
p = .0585, respectively). Public universities appear to be
more aware of IT project risks (perhaps also due to
nancial accountability concerns) than private universi-
ties, and private universities place Resource Leveling in
their top 10 list signicantly more often than public
universities.
Several respondents identied other tools outside of
the specied list. These included change orders, organi-
zational structure, process mapping and the use of a
project charter. Of these, the use of the project charter
and process mapping were identied as a top one or
two priority.
A signicant amount of IT activity does not rate pro-
ject status. Resetting of passwords, re-imaging labs, and
isolated code maintenance are a few such activities.
However, formal PM techniques can be utilized at vari-
ous levels of activity scope. We therefore asked the
respondents to rank in order of importance (1 being
the most important and 5 being the least important)
up to ve project characteristics utilized to identify when
a proposed project will require the application of formal
project management tools/techniques. 12, or 16%, re-
sponded that all projects are treated the same regardless
of these characteristics. Of the 12, 2 are public institu-
tions and the other 10 are private. The characteristics
listed were, in no particular order: project duration, pro-
ject cost, project scope, number of people involved, and
regulatory requirement. Table 6 provides the resulting
descriptive data.
Project scope was identied as the most important
driver for using project management techniques by
64% of the respondents. Project scope was followed by
project cost and then project duration as the top three
drivers for PM. This question permitted respondents
to answer less than the total number of responses. Of
the responses, the majority of respondents ranked at
most three criteria with only 25 ranking all ve. The
responses of the public and private universities were in
line with the overall statistics and each other. The Krus-
kalWallis test identied no signicant dierences. The
results for comparing public and private sectors are
provided in Table 7.
Several other project characteristics were also pre-
sented by respondents as drivers for the use of formal
PM tools/techniques on their IT projects. These in-
cluded the number of departments involved, the experi-
ence of the assigned project manager, and political
aspects such as visibility, risk level, strategic value and
executive oversight. Of these, the political aspects of
strategic value, risk level and executive oversight were
identied as most important.
While Regulatory Requirements was the project
characteristic least ranked, it was nonetheless identied
as one of the drivers for use of formal PM tools/tech-
niques by 25 of the respondents. Of those, 10 respon-
dents indicated that sometimes regulatory mandates
dictate the PM techniques and tools used. As would
perhaps be expected, 8 of the 10 came from public insti-
tutions and only 2 from private. Regulatory mandates
included the GrahamLeachBliley Act at the federal
level, but most of them were attributable to state man-
dates. For example, one respondent identied that the
Virginia IT Agency (VITA) requires formal reporting
and approval for projects that cost $1 M or more. Pro-
jects costing $100,000 to $1 M require internal docu-
mentation which can be audited.
Of the tools utilized by the responding institutions, by
far the most popular is Microsoft Project. Only four of the
Table 6
PM drivers all survey respondents
Formal PM drivers Total
count
% of Responses
(n = 64)
Count Identied
as 1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 64)
Project duration 52 81 25 39
Project cost 52 81 32 50
Project scope 55 86 41 64
Number of people involved 46 72 14 22
Regulatory requirement 25 39 3 5
Table 7
PM drivers public versus private universities
Formal PM drivers Public universities Private universities
Total
count
% of Responses
(n = 31)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 31)
Total
count
% of Responses
(n = 33)
Count as
1st or 2nd
% of Responses
(n = 33)
Project duration 25 81 12 39 27 82 13 39
Project cost 26 84 16 52 26 79 16 49
Project scope 28 90 20 65 27 82 21 64
Number of people involved 21 68 7 23 25 76 7 21
Regulatory requirement 12 39 2 7 13 39 1 3
D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649 647
76 respondents used no form of PM tool. Forty one
institutions relied on only one tool, with MS Project being
that tool for 38 of them. The other tools used were Micro-
soft Access, Microsoft Excel and Primavera. Fig. 5 shows
all the tools utilized by the respondents.
When asked for comments about the current eec-
tiveness or improvement of the PM practices of their
departments, many respondents indicated they have
seen improvements. Several stated they had just recently
started implementing formal PM techniques. This is an
indication of the acknowledgement of the advantages
that PM techniques can oer to university IT
departments.
Other comments included the implementation of ERP
systems, which necessarily require PM. Several admitted
there was room for improvement in their implementation
of existing PM processes. For example, one respondent
stated, Project planning is critical to staying on-time
with projects, but I stress that one should not spend more
time planning/managing than doing the actual project.
Balance is required with a small sta.
Another theme that permeated the comments was that
of communication. The need for a common framework
and PM training, such as that oered by the Project
Management Institute and its associated certication,
was cited. One respondent talking about the importance
of training stated, Conducting in-house and outside
vendor provided training on project start up, cost esti-
mating, use of MS Project, IT project management,
specialized PM training in methodology. All of this in
an eort to improve PM for new and seasoned PMs.
8. Conclusions and recommendations for further research
The role of IT in the university environment has re-
ceived much attention. Whether it is integrated into
teaching, or course materials, or as part of the opera-
tional infrastructure, university IT departments are
being called upon to do more with less. Industry IT
departments which are facing the same demands are
increasingly adopting project management tools and
techniques to better plan, monitor and control their IT
activities. Similarly, university IT departments are
beginning to realize the value that PM provides.
The purpose of this study was to identify the degree
to which project management practices are being uti-
lized in university IT departments, and if so, which ones.
Several aspects of the utilization of project management
techniques and tools by United States university IT
departments were identied. The study results provide
a glimpse of how US academic IT departments currently
practice project management and suggest directions for
meaningful additional research. While the following dis-
cussion must necessarily be recognized as being based on
survey results within the United States, it would cer-
tainly be benecial to generally extend the research to
university IT departments around the world.
In general, university IT departments are far removed
from their industry counterparts. While they may utilize
many of the same tools and technologies, their adoption
of PM tools/techniques and justication for their use,
are limited at this time. Academic IT departments are
primarily driven by operational issues and not cost cut-
ting eciencies or strategic initiatives. Therefore, they
have not been under the same competitive pressures to
adopt improved PM practices as their business
counterparts.
Study results veried operational necessity as by far
the most inuential factor aecting project priority with
strategic objective not too far behind. Regulatory
requirement nishing in third place may indicate an
increasingly important inuence in the university envi-
ronment. Ongoing research could certainly explore the
relative importance of these factors and then track
changes for trends and the emergence of new factors
aecting project priority in university IT departments.
The need for top management support has been con-
sistently found to be a critical factor in IT project suc-
cess. The results of this study indicated a wide
variance of opinion as to its importance for university
IT projects. This nding denitely warrants further
investigation. Establishing the relationship between this
factor and others, such as those determining the use of
formal PM tools/techniques (Project Duration, Project
Cost, Project Scope, Number of People Involved, Regu-
latory Requirement), could provide valuable insights
into how to execute particular university IT projects
successfully.
The fact that most public (93%) and private (83%)
universities designate a project manager for new IT
projects begs for a clarication of what the title project
manager means in terms of what they do in university IT
Fig. 5. Respondents PM tools usage.
648 D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649
departments, just as in the IT business sector. Further
research to evaluate the level of sophistication of PM
practices within university IT departments would help
to put the results of this study in perspective.
The importance of project planning is recognized by
university IT departments. The use of a Project Plan
was ranked rst or second in importance approximately
three times as often as use of a formal organization PM
methodology, project monitoring, and review meetings
with stakeholders. However, further research is neces-
sary to establish the true nature of the relative impor-
tance of these factors in the university IT department
environment. It would also be valuable to explore the
consistency of the denition of a project plan among
university IT departments. Additional issues worth fu-
ture eorts were also mentioned in Section 7 with respect
to project monitoring, risk monitoring/management and
resource leveling.
Not unexpectedly, project scope and project cost
were cited most frequently as the rst or second most
important factors determining whether or not formal
PM tools/techniques would be employed on a project.
Determining the relationship between these factors and
the important tools/techniques actually used (as identi-
ed above) would be very worthwhile as well.
Noticeably absent from the identied important tools
utilized by academic institutions for IT project manage-
ment were many of the control tools. In essence, it ap-
pears that university IT departments currently utilize
PM techniques primarily to justify and document the
development of their projects. This is further supported
by the fact that project scope was the principal project
characteristic determining whether PM tools would be
used or not. Project management practices in university
IT departments do indeed appear to be generally limited
at this time.
The study also compared the responses between pub-
lic and private universities. Private institutions, it could
be argued, are more susceptible to market forces due to
their lack of, or signicantly decreased, governmental
support. However, with the exception of the use of risk
monitoring/management and resource leveling tech-
niques, no statistical signicance between them was
identied. Being able to treat them the same in future
research eorts is a valuable, simplifying result of this
study.
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D. Wierschem, C. Johnston / International Journal of Project Management 23 (2005) 640649 649
Index to Volume 23: 2005
Author
Ackermann, Fran see Eden, Colin
Ahola, Tuomas see Kujala, Jaakko
Akintoye, A see Bing, Li
Al-Reshaid, Khaled and Kartam, Nabil De-
signbuild pre-qualication and tendering
approach for public projects 309
Alderman, Neil, Ivory, Chris, McLoughlin,
Ian and Vaughan, Roger Sense-making as a
process within complex service-led projects
380
Alreshaid, Khaled see Mahdi, Ibrahim M
Artto, Karlos A and Wikstrom, Kim What is
project business? 343
Ballal, T M A see Elhag, T M S
Barber, Richard B Understanding internally
generated risks in projects 584
Beach, R, Webster, M and Campbell, K M
An evaluation of partnership development in
the construction industry 611
Bing, Li, Akintoye, A, Edwards, P J and
Hardcastle, C The allocation of risk in PPP/
PFI construction projects in the UK 25
Blichfeldt, Bodil Stilling see Eskerod, Pernille
Boussabaine, A H see Elhag, T M S
Bower, D A see Xu, T
Bowers, John A see Yu, Angus G
Brady, Tim, Davies, Andrew and Gann, David
M Creating value by delivering integrated
solutions 360
Brand, Michael C see Uher, Thomas E
Brent, Alan C see Labuschagne, Carin
Bryde, David James and Robinson, Lynne
Client versus contractor perspectives on
project success criteria 622
Calderini, Sergio Ricardo see De Reyck, Bert
Caloghirou, Yannis see Mavrotas, George
Campbell, K M see Beach, R
Chan, Edwin H W and Yu, Ann T W Con-
tract strategy for design management in the
design and build system 630
Chang, Chi-Yi see Yang, I-Tung
Cheah, Charles Y J and Ting, Seng Kiong
Appraisal of value engineering in construc-
tion in Southeast Asia 151
Chen, Hong Long and Chen, Wei Tong
Clarifying the behavioral patterns of con-
tractor supply chain payment conditions
463
Chen, Wei Tong see Chen, Hong Long
Cheng, Wen-lon see Wu, Chao-hui
Chong, Adrian Fook Weng see Teo, Evelyn
Ai Lin
Chou, Huey-Wen see Wang, Eric
Cio, Denis F A tool for managing projects:
an analytic parameterization of the S-curve
215
Cova, Bernard and Salle, Robert Six key
points to merge project marketing into pro-
ject management 354
Crawford, Lynn Senior management per-
ceptions of project management competence
7
Cross, Benjamin J see Shore, Barry
Danilovic, Mike and Sandkull, Bengt The use
of dependence structure matrix and domain
mapping matrix in managing uncertainty in
multiple project situations 193
Davies, Andrew see Brady, Tim
Deakins, Eric and Dillon, Stuart A helical
model for managing innovative product and
service initiatives in volatile commercial en-
vironments 65
De Reyck, Bert, Grushka-Cockayne, Yael,
Lockett, Martin, Calderini, Sergio Ricardo,
Moura, Marcio and Sloper, Andrew The im-
pact of project portfolio management on
information technology projects 524
Diallo, Amadou and Thuillier, Denis The
success of international development pro-
jects, trust and communication: an African
perspective 237
Dietrich, Perttu and Lehtonen, Paivi Suc-
cessful management of strategic intentions
through multiple projects Reections from
empirical study 386
Dillibabu, R and Krishnaiah, K Cost estima-
tion of a software product using COCOMO
II.2000 model a case study 297
Dillon, Stuart see Deakins, Eric
Dvir, Dov Transferring projects to their nal
users: The eect of planning and prepara-
tions for commissioning on project success
257
Dzeng, Ren-Jye and Wen, Kuo-Sheng Eval-
uating project teaming strategies for con-
struction of Taipei 101 using resource-based
theory 483
Eden, Colin, Williams, Terry and Ackermann,
Fran Analysing project cost overruns: com-
paring the measured mile analysis and
system dynamics modelling 135
Edwards, P J see Bing, Li
Elhag, T M S, Boussabaine, A H and Ballal,
T M A Critical determinants of construction
tendering costs: Quantity surveyors stand-
point 538
Eskerod, Pernille and Blichfeldt, Bodil
Stilling Managing team entrees and with-
drawals during the project life cycle 495
Eskerod, Pernille and Jepsen, Anna Lund
Stang renewal projects by voluntary en-
rolment 445
Fischer, Martin see Garcia, Ana Cristina
Bicharra
Flett, Peter D see Yu, Angus G
Friedman, Donna Haig see Gutierrez, Oscar
Fung, Ivan W H, Tam, C M, Tung, Karen C F
and Man, Ada S KSafety cultural divergences
among management, supervisory and worker
groups in Hong Kong construction industry
504
Gann, David M see Brady, Tim
Garcia, Ana Cristina Bicharra, Kunz, John
and Fischer, Martin Voting on the agenda:
the key to social ecient meetings 17
Gemunden, Hans Georg, Salomo, Soren and
Krieger, Axel The inuence of project
autonomy on project success 366
Globerson, Shlomo see Zwikael, Ofer
Grushka-Cockayne, Yael see De Reyck Bert
Gutierrez, Oscar and Friedman, Donna Haig
Managing project expectations in human
services information systems implementa-
tions: The case of homeless management
information systems 513
Hall, M see Kutsch, E
Hardcastle, C see Bing, Li
Hellstrom, Magnus and Wikstrom, Kim
Project business concepts based on mod-
ularity improved manoeuvrability through
unstable structures 392
Hsieh, Ting-ya see Wu, Chao-hui
Ivory, Chris see Alderman, Neil
Iyer, K C and Jha, K N Factors aecting cost
performance: evidence from Indian con-
struction projects 283
Jepsen, Anna Lund see Eskerod, Pernille
Jha, K N see Iyer, K C
Jiang, James see Wang, Eric
Johnston, Chuck see Wierschem, David
Kartam, Nabil see Al-Reshaid, Khaled
Kelsey, John see Winch, Graham M
Koune, Jacques see Mavrotas, George
Krieger, Axel see Gemu nden, Hans Georg
Krishnaiah, K see Dillibabu, R
Kujala, Jaakko and Ahola, Tuomas The
value of customer satisfaction surveys for
project-based organizations: symbolic,
technical, or none 404
Kunz, John see Garcia, Ana Cristina
Bicharra
Kutsch, E and Hall, M Intervening
conditions on the management of project
risk: Dealing with uncertainty in informa-
tion technology projects 591
Labuschagne, Carin and Brent, Alan C
Sustainable Project Life Cycle Management:
the need to integrate life cycles in the
manufacturing sector 159
Landin, Anne see Olander, Stefan
Lehtonen, Paivi see Dietrich, Perttu
Li, Heng see Shi, Jonathan Jingsheng
PI I : S0263- 7863( 05) 00116- X I
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
Linderoth, Henrik C J and Pellegrino,
Giuseppina Frames and inscriptions: tracing
a way to understand IT-dependent change
projects 415
Ling, Florence Yean Yng see Teo, Evelyn Ai
Lin
Liu, Jang-Jeng see Wang, Wei-Chih
Lockett, Martin see De Reyck, Bert
Mahdi, Ibrahim M and Alreshaid, Khaled
Decision support system for selecting the
proper project delivery method using analy-
tical hierarchy process (AHP) 564
Maheswari, J Uma and Varghese, Koshy
Project Scheduling using Dependency
Structure Matrix 223
Man, Ada S K see Fung, Ivan W H
Manning, Stephan Managing project net-
works as dynamic organizational forms:
Learning from the TV movie industry 410
Mavrotas, George, Caloghirou, Yannis and
Koune, Jacques A model on cash ow fore-
casting and early warning for multi-project
programmes: application to the Operational
Programme for the Information Society in
Greece 121
McLoughlin, Ian see Alderman, Neil
Milosevic, Dragan and Patanakul, Peerasit
Standardized project management may
increase development projects success 181
Moura, Marcio see De Reyck, Bert
Muller, Ralf and Turner, J Rodney The
impact of principalagent relationship and
contract type on communication between
project owner and manager 398
Olander, Stefan and Landin, Anne
Evaluation of stakeholder inuence in the
implementation of construction projects 321
Parker, Stephen K and Skitmore, Martin
Project management turnover: causes and
eects on project performance 205
Partington, David, Pellegrinelli, Sergio and
Young, Malcolm Attributes and levels of
programme management competence: an
interpretive study 87
Patanakul, Peerasit see Milosevic, Dragan
Pellegrinelli, Sergio see Partington, David
Pellegrino, Giuseppina see Linderoth, Henrik
C J
Riezebos, Jan see van Donk, Dirk Pieter
Robinson, Lynne see Bryde, David James
Ruuska, Inkeri and Vartiainen, Matti
Characteristics of knowledge sharing
communities in project organizations 374
Salle, Robert see Cova, Bernard
Salomo, Soren see Gemu nden, Hans Georg
Sandkull, Bengt see Danilovic, Mike
Shi, Jonathan Jingsheng, Li, Heng and Zhang,
Hong Two resource dispatching rules for
modeling human decisions in simulation 97
Shimizu, Kazuo see Zwikael, Ofer
Shore, Barry and Cross, Benjamin J
Exploring the role of national culture in the
management of large-scale international
science projects 55
Singh, D and Tiong, Robert L K
Development of life cycle costing framework
for highway bridges in Myanmar 37
Skitmore, Martin see Parker, Stephen K
Sloper, Andrew see De Reyck, Bert
Smith, N J see Xu, T
Tam, C M see Fung, Ivan W H
Taylor, Hazel Congruence between risk
management theory and practice in Hong
Kong vendor-driven IT projects 437
Teo, Evelyn Ai Lin, Ling, Florence Yean Yng
and Chong, Adrian Fook Weng Framework
for project managers to manage construction
safety 329
Thuillier, Denis see Diallo, Amadou
Ting, Seng Kiong see Cheah, Charles Y J
Tiong, Robert L K see Singh, D
Trietsch, Dan The eect of systemic errors
on optimal project buers 267
Tung, Karen C F see Fung, Ivan W H
Turner, J Rodney see Mu ller, Ralf
Turner, J Rodney Editorial 1, 573
Uher, Thomas E and Brand, Michael C
Analysis of adjudication determinations
made under security of payment legislation
in New South Wales 474
van Donk, Dirk Pieter and Riezebos, Jan
Exploring the knowledge inventory in pro-
ject-based organisations: a case study 75
Varghese, Koshy see Maheswari, J Uma
Vartiainen, Matti see Ruuska, Inkeri
Vaughan, Roger see Alderman, Neil
Wadeson, Nigel Projects as search processes
421
Wang, Eric, Chou, Huey-Wen and Jiang,
James The impacts of charismatic leadership
style on team cohesiveness and overall per-
formance during ERP implementation 173
Wang, Wei-Chih Impact of soft logic on the
probabilistic duration of construction pro-
jects 600
Wang, Wei-Chih and Liu, Jang-Jeng Factor-
based path analysis to support sub-
contractor management 109
Webster, M see Beach, R
Wen, Kuo-Sheng see Dzeng, Ren-Jye
Whitty, Stephen Jonathan A memetic para-
digm of project management 575
Wierschem, David and Johnston, Chuck The
role of project management in university
computing resource departments 640
Wikstrom, Kim see Artto, Karlos A
Wikstrom, Kim see Hellstro m, Magnus
Williams, Terry see Eden, Colin
Willoughby, Keith A Process improvement in
project expediting: there must be a better
way 231
Winch, Graham M and Kelsey, John What
do construction project planners do? 141
Wu, Chao-hui, Hsieh, Ting-ya and Cheng,
Wen-lon Statistical analysis of causes for
design change in highway construction on
Taiwan 554
Xu, T, Bower, D A and Smith, N J Types of
collaboration between foreign contractors
and their Chinese partners 45
Yang, I-T Simulation-based estimation for
correlated cost elements 275
Yang, I-Tung and Chang, Chi-Yi Stochastic
resource-constrained scheduling for re-
petitive construction projects with uncertain
supply of resources and funding 546
Young, Malcolm see Partington, David
Yu, Angus G, Flett, Peter D and Bowers,
John A Developing a value-centred proposal
for assessing project success 428
Yu, Ann T W see Chan, Edwin H W
Zhang, Hong see Shi, Jonathan Jingsheng
Zwikael, Ofer, Shimizu, Kazuo and
Globerson, Shlomo Cultural dierences in
project management capabilities: A eld study
454
Title
A helical model for managing innovative
product and service initiatives in volatile
commercial environments Eric Deakins and
Stuart Dillon 65
A memetic paradigm of project management
Stephen Jonathan Whitty 575
A model on cash ow forecasting and early
warning for multi-project programmes: ap-
plication to the Operational Programme for
the Information Society in Greece George
Mavrotas, Yannis Caloghirou and Jacques
Koune 121
A tool for managing projects: an analytic
parameterization of the S-curve Denis F
Cio 215
An evaluation of partnership development in
the construction industry R Beach, M
Webster and K M Campbell 611
Analysing project cost overruns: comparing
the measured mile analysis and system
dynamics modelling Colin Eden, Terry
Williams and Fran Ackermann 135
Analysis of adjudication determinations
made under security of payment legislation
in New South Wales Thomas E Uher and
Michael C Brand 474
Appraisal of value engineering in construc-
tion in Southeast Asia Charles Y J Cheah
and Seng Kiong Ting 151
Attributes and levels of programme man-
agement competence: an interpretive study
David Partington, Sergio Pellegrinelli and
Malcolm Young 87
Characteristics of knowledge sharing com-
munities in project organizations Inkeri
Ruuska and Matti Vartiainen 374
Clarifying the behavioral patterns of
contractor supply chain payment conditions
Hong Long Chen and Wei Tong Chen 463
Client versus contractor perspectives on
project success criteria David James Bryde
and Lynne Robinson 622
Congruence between risk management the-
ory and practice in Hong Kong vendor-dri-
ven IT projects Hazel Taylor 437
Contract strategy for design management in
the design and build system Edwin H W
Chan and Ann T W Yu 630
Cost estimation of a software product using
COCOMO II.2000 model a case study R
Dillibabu and K Krishnaiah 297
Creating value by delivering integrated so-
lutions Tim Brady, Andrew Davies and David
M Gann 360
Critical determinants of construction ten-
dering costs: Quantity surveyors standpoint
T M S Elhag, A H Boussabaine and T M A
Ballal 538
Cultural dierences in project management
capabilities: A eld study Ofer Zwikael,
Kazuo Shimizu and Shlomo Globerson
454
II
Decision support system for selecting the
proper project delivery method using analy-
tical hierarchy process (AHP) Ibrahim M
Mahdi and Khaled Alreshaid 564
Designbuild pre-qualication and tendering
approach for public projects Khaled
Al-Reshaid and Nabil Kartam 309
Developing a value-centred proposal for as-
sessing project success Angus G Yu, Peter D
Flett and John A Bowers 428
Development of life cycle costing framework
for highway bridges in Myanmar D Singh
and Robert L K Tiong 37
Editorial J Rodney Turner 1, 573
Evaluating project teaming strategies for
construction of Taipei 101 using resource-
based theory Ren-Jye Dzeng and Kuo-Sheng
Wen 483
Evaluation of stakeholder inuence in the
implementation of construction projects
Stefan Olander and Anne Landin 321
Exploring the knowledge inventory in pro-
ject-based organisations: a case study Dirk
Pieter van Donk and Jan Riezebos 75
Exploring the role of national culture in the
management of large-scale international
science projects Barry Shore and Benjamin J
Cross 55
Factor-based path analysis to support sub-
contractor management Wei-Chih Wang and
Jang-Jeng Liu 109
Factors aecting cost performance: evidence
from Indian construction projects K C Iyer
and K N Jha 283
Frames and inscriptions: tracing a way to
understand IT-dependent change projects
Henrik C J Linderoth and Giuseppina Pelle-
grino 415
Framework for project managers to manage
construction safety Evelyn Ai Lin Teo, Flor-
ence Yean Yng Ling and Adrian Fook Weng
Chong 329
Impact of soft logic on the probabilistic
duration of construction projects Wei-Chih
Wang 600
Intervening conditions on the management
of project risk: Dealing with uncertainty in
information technology projects E Kutsch
and M Hall 591
Managing project expectations in human
services information systems implementa-
tions: The case of homeless management
information systems Oscar Gutierrez and
Donna Haig Friedman 513
Managing project networks as dynamic or-
ganizational forms: Learning from the TV
movie industry Stephan Manning 410
Managing team entrees and withdrawals
during the project life cycle Pernille Eskerod
and Bodil Stilling Blichfeldt 495
Process improvement in project expediting:
there must be a better way Keith A
Willoughby 231
Project business concepts based on mod-
ularity improved manoeuvrability through
unstable structures Magnus Hellstrom and
Kim Wikstrom 392
Project management turnover: causes and
eects on project performance Stephen K
Parker and Martin Skitmore 205
Project Scheduling using Dependency
Structure Matrix J Uma Maheswari and
Koshy Varghese 223
Projects as search processes Nigel Wadeson
421
Safety cultural divergences among manage-
ment, supervisory and worker groups in
Hong Kong construction industry Ivan W H
Fung, C M Tam, Karen C F Tung and
Ada S K Man 504
Senior management perceptions of project
management competence Lynn Crawford 7
Sense-making as a process within complex
service-led projects Neil Alderman, Chris
Ivory, Ian McLoughlin and Roger Vaughan
380
Simulation-based estimation for correlated
cost elements I-T Yang 275
Six key points to merge project marketing
into project management Bernard Cova and
Robert Salle 354
Stang renewal projects by voluntary
enrolment Pernille Eskerod and Anna Lund
Jepsen 445
Standardized project management may
increase development projects success
Dragan Milosevic and Peerasit Patanakul
181
Statistical analysis of causes for design
change in highway construction on Taiwan
Chao-hui Wu, Ting-ya Hsieh and Wen-lon
Cheng 554
Stochastic resource-constrained scheduling
for repetitive construction projects with
uncertain supply of resources and funding
I-Tung Yang and Chi-Yi Chang 546
Successful management of strategic inten-
tions through multiple projects Reections
from empirical study Perttu Dietrich and
Paivi Lehtonen 386
Sustainable Project Life Cycle Management:
the need to integrate life cycles in the
manufacturing sector Carin Labuschagne
and Alan C Brent 159
The allocation of risk in PPP/PFI construc-
tion projects in the UK Li Bing, A Akintoye,
P J Edwards and C Hardcastle 25
The eect of systemic errors on optimal
project buers Dan Trietsch 267
The impact of principalagent relationship
and contract type on communication
between project owner and manager Ralf
Muller and J Rodney Turner 398
The impact of project portfolio management
on information technology projects Bert De
Reyck, Yael Grushka-Cockayne,
Martin Lockett, Sergio Ricardo Calderini,
Marcio Moura and Andrew Sloper
524
The impacts of charismatic leadership style
on team cohesiveness and overall perfor-
mance during ERP implementation
Eric Wang, Huey-Wen Chou and James
Jiang 173
The inuence of project autonomy on pro-
ject success Hans Georg Gemunden, Soren
Salomo and Axel Krieger 366
The role of project management in university
computing resource departments David
Wierschem and Chuck Johnston 640
The success of international development
projects, trust and communication: an Afri-
can perspective Amadou Diallo and
Denis Thuillier 237
The use of dependence structure matrix and
domain mapping matrix in managing un-
certainty in multiple project situations Mike
Danilovic and Bengt Sandkull 193
The value of customer satisfaction surveys
for project-based organizations: symbolic,
technical, or none Jaakko Kujala and
Tuomas Ahola 404
Transferring projects to their nal users: The
eect of planning and preparations for
commissioning on project success Dov Dvir
257
Two resource dispatching rules for modeling
human decisions in simulation Jonathan
Jingsheng Shi, Heng Li and Hong Zhang
97
Types of collaboration between foreign
contractors and their Chinese partners T Xu,
D A Bower and N J Smith 45
Understanding internally generated risks in
projects Richard B Barber 584
Voting on the agenda: the key to social e-
cient meetings Ana Cristina Bicharra Garcia,
John Kunz and Martin Fischer 17
What do construction project planners do?
Graham M Winch and John Kelsey 141
What is project business? Karlos A Artto and
Kim Wikstrom 343
Book Reviews
Advanced Project Management A Struc-
tured Approach Garth G.F. Ward (Frederick
Harrison and Dennis Lock) 169
International Journal of Project Manage-
ment C.N. Bredillet (Russell D. Archibald)
86
Managing Web Projects. The Management
of Large Projects and Programmes for Web-
space Delivery Ralf Muller (Rodney Turner)
85
Modern Construction Project Management
J.F. Woodward (Ahmen Tank and Wong
Poon) 492
Project Management for Business and
Engineering Dennis Lock (John M. Nicho-
las) 254
Sun Tzu and the Project Battleground D.
Zuchi (D.E. Hawking and S. Rajagopal) 493
The Project Management AZ: A Compen-
dium of Project Management Techniques
and How to Use Them Dennis Lock (Alan
Wren and Aldershot Gower) 253
The Project Managers Guide to Handling
Risk Steve Simister (Aldershot Gower) 172
III