Project management approaches for dynamic environments Essay

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Available online at International Journal of Project Management 27 (2009) 355–364 Project management approaches for dynamic environments Simon Collyer a,*, Clive M.J. Warren b a School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, The University of Queensland, Australia b UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Australia Received 9 July 2007; received in revised form 19 April 2008; accepted 22 April 2008 Abstract This paper investigates the properties of projects conducted in rapidly changing environments. These projects are challenged by the rapid introduction of new unknowns as they progress. One might say they are more akin to stacking worms than stacking …show more content…

Pich, Loch and De Meyer [12] describe a type of project that encounters unknown unknowns and how it is best suited to what they called a ‘learning’ strategy which involves scanning, problem solving and flexibility. They argue that this is distinct from projects conducted in well understood environments which are suited to ‘instructionism’, and distinct from ‘selectionism’ where the most fruitful initiative is chosen after a pool of trials. Turner and Cochran [13] espouse the ‘goals and methods matrix’ that describes four different types of project according to how well defined the methods and goals are. Projects can have poorly defined goals (‘fire’) or poorly defined methods (‘water’), or both (‘air’). Shenhar and Wideman [14] describe a type of project that involves high levels of uncertainty, using technologies together for the first time. They call these ‘high tech’ [14]. They also describe a type of project that actually creates new technologies, called ‘super high tech’. Shenhar [15] describes how ‘low technology’ projects are typically performed in construction, production and utilities, and high technology projects in the computer, aerospace and electronics industries. He offers building and bridge construction as examples of low technology projects. The key

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