ابهامات اساسی در پروژه ها و حوزه مدیریت پروژه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3066||2006||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8490 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 24, Issue 8, November 2006, Pages 687–698
This paper builds on discussions that took place over a series of meetings in the UK of the Rethinking Project Management Network. The management of uncertainty is seen as a necessary condition for effective project management. Sources of uncertainty are wide ranging and have a fundamental effect on projects and project management. These sources are not confined to potential events, and include lack of information, ambiguity, characteristics of project parties, tradeoffs between trust and control mechanisms, and varying agendas in different stages of the project life cycle. Common project management practice does not address many fundamental sources of uncertainty, particularly in ‘soft’ projects where flexibility and tolerance of vagueness are necessary. More sophisticated efforts to recognise and manage important sources of uncertainty are needed. Such efforts need to encompass organisational capabilities, including some aspects of organisation culture and learning.
This paper is concerned with the kinds of uncertainty present in projects, and what might be done to manage them. The paper builds on discussions that took place during meetings of the UK EPSRC funded Network on Rethinking Project Management over the period 2004–2006. Early on views about uncertainty in projects were summarised in a series of learning propositions to orientate further discussions. In developing this paper, previous work of the authors was an initial base, but perspectives and issues that emerged from the network presentations including case studies and discussions, extended this base. Follow up discussions after presentations largely supported the validity and usefulness of the authors’ work, in many instances providing further related insights and questions. Throughout network meetings the presence of uncertainty in a variety of forms was constantly recognised as a central issue. Initial deliberations about uncertainty focused on appreciating the variety of sources of uncertainty requiring management attention and that go well beyond a set of possible events that might impair project performance. This has implications for the development of formalised approaches to project risk management. These approaches need to recognise the full range of sources of significant uncertainty associated with any given project. Subsequent network discussion reflected on the reasons why project management to date seemed to be lacking in attending to all this uncertainty. One explanation is that conventional project management is too focused on operational planning and control. This prompted reflection on how projects with particularly problematic sources of uncertainty might be characterised, and what implications this has for modifying or extending a conventional planning and control perspective on project management. In particular, there is a need to recognise that many project contexts are characterised by very high, difficult to quantify, levels of uncertainty where management flexibility and tolerance of vagueness are necessary. Following this line of thought, network discussions concluded that more attention needs to be given to understanding and developing less tangible, but more generic management processes associated with building trust, sense-making, organisation learning, and building an appropriate organisational culture better suited to operating with high levels of uncertainty. The structure of this paper follows the sequence outlined above. Section 2 considers some key areas of uncertainty that warrant serious management attention in most projects. This has implications for the desirable scope of common project risk management processes that augment project management. Section 3 suggests that one obstacle to effective management of uncertainty is that conventional project management does not pay enough attention to conception and end stages of the project life cycle, or to strategic aspects of projects. Section 4 describes a ‘hard’/’soft’ typology of projects that highlights major sources of ambiguity and vagueness that may be problematic using convention plan and control project management. Section 5 briefly considers some implications of ‘softness’ for the scope of project management processes, including the role of trust. Section 6 identifies the importance of organisation infrastructure and in particular the importance of organisational culture and capacity for organisational learning.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Discussions of the UK EPSRC funded Network on Rethinking Project Management raised many issues with implications for the fundamental uncertainties of projects and the scope of project management. The network proposed rethinking of the traditional view of projects as having a linear life cycle involving a set of apolitical processes undertaken to achieve an objective or goal ‘given’ at the start, to reflect the actuality of projects as social processes requiring ongoing construction of the appearance of certainty and clarity in the midst of complex uncertainty and ambiguity . Some but not all aspects of uncertainty can be categorised and treated as risks, and risk, generally considered as a threat to achievement of project objectives, receives far more overt attention than the broader concept of uncertainty in the traditional view of projects and their management. An inescapable conclusion from the network meetings was that management of uncertainty is a necessary condition for effective project management, but that management of uncertainty needs to be given more attention and be rather more sophisticated than current common practice. This paper has outlined directions for development of project uncertainty management. Sources of uncertainty are wide ranging and have a fundamental effect on projects and project management. These sources are not confined to potential events, and include lack of information, ambiguity, characteristics of project parties, tradeoffs between trust and control mechanisms, and varying agendas in different stages of the project life cycle. Risk management processes that focus on identifying potential events as threats (or opportunities) will not address many important sources of uncertainty. Further, common practice project management tends not to address many fundamental sources of uncertainty, particularly in the conception and post delivery stages of the project life cycle, or in ‘soft’ projects where flexibility and tolerance of vagueness are necessary. More sophisticated efforts to recognise and manage important sources of residual uncertainty are needed. Such efforts within a given organisation require some attention to organisational culture, capabilities, and the development of appropriate infrastructure  and . At a basic level, there is a need to understand stakeholder tolerance or intolerance of uncertainty in processes and outcomes. Why is uncertainty tolerated? By whom? Inexperienced project owners may be inappropriately intolerant of uncertainty, particularly if they hope to transfer risk and responsibility for managing uncertainty to agents, and projects exhibit a significant degree of ‘softness’. This intolerance of uncertainty may induce project management behaviours such as cautious/safe ways of working and missed opportunities, the mindless/uncritical/mechanical application of project management principles and techniques, and actions designed to avoid apportionment of blame when things do not turn out as hoped. Conversely contractors may be inappropriately tolerant of uncertainty because of optimism, the felt need to accept risk and associated uncertainty in order to win work, or because of ignorance about the scope of uncertainty present. Replacing ambiguity with vagueness is one possible method of reducing uncertainty. Managing stakeholder expectations is a further method of bringing uncertainty into project discussions. While this might mean that some stakeholders are mildly disappointed at the end of a project, this is preferable to having stakeholders being surprised by the final outcome of a project. Managing expectations transfers the uncertainty of surprise into possible disappointment, thus not eliminating the problem, but transferring the nature of the problem to a different more manageable form. Uncertainty is created in part by the quality and completeness of information, diversity of interests and susceptibility to external influences in a project; all of which makes us vulnerable to the action of others. The most economic method of compensating for gaps in information is through trust, of which there are many types and levels, each requiring different coping strategies. However, complex projects require the controls of governance. The outcome is for a balance of trust and control, with an acceptance that trust will be ultimately overarching due to the lack of a guarantee of controls. For the practitioner, the link and dynamics between uncertainty, control and trust could be improved if the factors of trust were included in uncertainty management processes.