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Same Planet, Different Worlds: Why Projects Continue to Fail. A Generalist Review of Project Management with Special Reference to Electronic Research Administration
ARTICLE

PPPHE Volume 10, Number 4, ISSN 1360-3108

Abstract

Implementation of IT "solutions" in the context of changes to business processes and efficiency is a common trigger for using formalised project management techniques. The trigger may include topical activities such as job evaluation schemes or quality assurance accreditation. This has led to a blurring of the boundary between projects and operational management, as has the increasing trend towards generalist administrators at all levels of seniority managing and being involved in project management alongside their "day jobs". This paper is concerned with projects where formal project management methodologies are applied in a strategic context, for example, large in scale and involving both generalist and specialist administrators. The underlying issue is that the application of what is apparently a comprehensive methodology does not appear to have much impact on rates of failure. This is particularly troubling in the context of a large and growing body of literature analysing the causes of project failure. In this paper, it is argued that the cause and resolution of project failure lies not within the traditional approach of continuous review and improvement of the project methodologies, but in the interpretation of the methodologies and how projects are integrated into the organisation. The focus is therefore primarily on the application of formal project management methodologies from the perspective of the organisation, placing successful project management into the broader field of organisational or "cultural learning." The theory and practice of project management is explored from an organisational perspective in general terms and then with special reference to electronic research administration (ERA) software which provides a topical and particularly challenging project management environment in the context of implementing full economic costing (fEC) requirements. Ten practical recommendations for connecting ERA projects are presented. (Contains 3 figures.)

Citation

McCormick, I. (2006). Same Planet, Different Worlds: Why Projects Continue to Fail. A Generalist Review of Project Management with Special Reference to Electronic Research Administration. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 10(4), 102-108. Retrieved October 16, 2021 from .

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