Systems Thinking in Innovation Project Management @ EURAM 2010: Systems Thinking In Innovation Project Management Track

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  • 1. Systems Thinking in Innovation Project Management: a match that works SIG: PROJECT ORGANIZING TRACK 19: Project Futures - in Research and Practice
    Dr Maria Kapsali
  • 2. Outline
    Research Questions
    1. Theory 2. Evidence 3. Recommendations
    1. Why are conventional PM methods not effective to manage innovation projects? 2. What can we improve?
    3. How can we apply Systems Thinking concepts? Which are the obstacles to do this? Which is the way to do this?
  • 3. Theory
    1. Why are conventional PM methods not effective to manage innovation projects?
    Conventional project management methodologies are not adequate tools to manage the serendipitous, evolutionary and experimental nature of innovation projects
    Overemphasis on operational control and lack of flexibility to manage relations and operational change not suitable for non-linear processes
    Conventional methodologies result in a closed systems mentality where the influences from the environment are locked in due to the hard boundaries of the system
    Conventional methodologies were designed to manage linear activities in engineering and construction projects
  • 4. Evidence
    12 Multiple Embedded Case studies
    12 embedded multiple case studies (3 EARSS and 9 eTEN projects). 9
    Within and cross-case comparative analysis.
  • 5. Evidence
    12 Multiple Embedded Case studies
    Focus of analysis:
    Project Management Tasks – as planning, communicating and task control-coordination
    The results of the projects (outcomes like the rate of deployment and operationalization of the technology)
    Changes and change management(Nature of changes in the plans and activities, Dealing with change issues , Priority of project performance objectives)
    The link between tasks- change management- results (Elements to be developed in their projects – flexibility-dependability- relations-other)
  • 6. Evidence
    12 Multiple Embedded Case studies
    • Systemic Project Management
    • 7. Manage relationships to satisfy stakeholders and achieve as many of the objectives as possible – compromise - calibrate
    • 8. Flexibility to make decisions according to circumstances
    • Normative Project Management
    • 9. Manage the process in order to satisfy the main stakeholder at the expense of the project goals
    • 10. Limits the project manager as a leader
    Outcome over Process
    Process over Outcome
  • 11. Evidence
    2. What can we improve?
    When project practices (plan, communications and control activities) are built upon Systems Thinking constructs the projects achieve goals better
    Evidence from the case studies reveal that the when the constructs of causal connectedness to manage external relations and equifinality to manage operational change are the most successful to be embedded in managerial practice
  • 12. Recommendations
    3. How can we apply these Systems Thinking concepts?
    Causal connectedness has to be studied through the dynamic interactions and boundary management embedded in the relations between systemic actors
    Equifinality can be studied through flexibility - the slack given to activities in terms of resources and action to change in an agile way
  • 13. Recommendations
    3. Which are the obstacles to do this?
    Systems Thinking constructs are difficult to be built in project practices-activities because of their over generalized nature that makes them difficult to operationalize and measure
    Reasons for that are the insufficient definition and analysis of the issues of holism, flexibility and causality that are the basis of Systems constructs like causal connectedness and equifinality.
  • 14. Recommendations
    3. Which are the obstacles to do this?
    The application of open Systems Thinking constructs in empirical studies is inhibited by the lack of metrics that are easily operationalisable and measurable.
    Different perspectives suffer from lack of consensus on measures, factors of success and research analysis units.
  • 15. Recommendations
    3. Which is the way to do this?
    Study holism, flexibility and causality as they are applied in operational activities and relations in projects
    Project boundary relations and operational activities should be the target of new research projects
    Conventional methodologies should be infused with ST constractsto achieve more flexible and responsive operations to alter practices
  • 16. © Imperial College Business School
    Thank you for your attention