Project management application companies research

Abstract

A research poll was done throughout the region of Silesia of companies to ascertain the importance of project management to these companies. The results show that project management is known and recognised by certain companies in the region of Silesia, although the scope of application differs. The results are presented and discussed in this presentation.

Introduction

Project management is well known and recognised in increasing number of companies worldwide, but during the recent years this concept of Management is also becoming better known in Polish companies. This knowledge came to them through contacts with companies which already applied project management in their businesses and through its popularisation by the Project Management Institute (PMI®)its Warsaw Polish Chapter) and the other local organisations and Universities.

During the years of the transformation of the Polish economy, companies in Poland were forced to search for new methods of management which could support their efficiency in doing business on the free market. But not only Polish companies are more and more interested in the application of project management in their day to day activities. According to J.D. Frame (1995, p.2) in the last few years, project management has become a more valuable way of management and it is seen as the key for survival in the current global marketplace reality.

Companies Research

A research poll was done throughout the region of Silesia of companies to ascertain the importance of project management to these companies. The region of Silesia is located in the south of Poland and the “density” of companies is pretty high in this area. The population of this region is nearly 4 million people, about 10% of the whole Polish population.

The main goal of the research was to find out what is the knowledge of project management in chosen companies and what kind of project characteristics or events occur in implementing these projects.

Based on the preliminary literature research, the author's experience and anecdotal information gathered at project management related conferences, 49 project characteristics or events – called factors – identified as possibly occurring during the project life-cycle. The objective of the study was to recognise which of these factors were and which were not present in the successful and unsuccessful projects. All factors were grouped as follows:

  • - project scope,
  • - project integration,
  • - project communication,
  • - staff fluctuation,
  • - project budget,
  • - project resources,
  • - monitoring the project,
  • - resistance to the project,
  • - project context.

The research was in paper form with additional metrics regarding:

  • - basic company information (11 questions),
  • - basic information (size, duration, goal etc.) about successful and unsuccessful projects.

The survey method

The questionnaire was sent to 40 different business profile companies. A total of 17 questionnaires were filled in and sent back by the companies, which equals a 42% return rate. As the result of the research poll the quantified numbers of the occurrence factors in the successful and unsuccessful projects were obtained.

To categorise the results the following method of data workout was assumed (steps):

1. The absolute numbers for:

  • - Successful projects:
    • - number of factor occurrences.
  • - Unsuccessful projects:
    • - number of factor occurrences.

2. Quantified results in the range of 0% - 100% for:

  • - Successful projects:
    • - number of factor occurrences.
  • - Unsuccessful projects:
    • - number of factor occurrences.

3. Classification all factors regarding the number of its occurrences in successful projects.

4. Classification all factors regarding the number of its occurrences in unsuccessful projects.

5. Determination of the differences in the occurrences of the factors in the unsuccessful and successful projects.

6. Assumption of the criterion 1 – frequency. The frequency of the factor occurrence in project should be a minimum of 80%.

7. Assumption of the criterion 2 – difference. The difference of the factor occurrence in successful projects and unsuccessful projects should be a minimum of 30%.

8. Identification of the factors meeting criterion 1.

9. Identification of the factors meeting criterion 2.

10. Identification of the factors meeting both criterion 1 and criterion 2.

Results presentation

The companies which were studied as the basis of this research were doing different types of business. Mainly production (88%) and services (59%), although trading was significant at 41%. The companies were active in the following branches of business heavy industry (35%), light industry (24%), energy (24%), food (6%), information technology (12%), and construction (12%). They employed, for the most part, (81%) over 250 employees. They were oriented both on processes (51%) and projects (49%).

In the majority of companies (64%), the functional organisational structure was implemented. Weak matrix structures (12%) and balanced structures (12%) were equally implemented. There was no strong matrix or project structure implemented in companies which were the subject of this research (Exhibit 1).

Companies Organizational Structures

Exhibit 1 – Companies Organizational Structures

Most of the companies were Polish owned (81%), although 19% were owned partly by foreign companies. 13% were branches of foreign companies, whilst 67 % of companies cooperated with foreign companies. The projects were of different types (Exhibit 2), size (Exhibit 3) and duration (Exhibit 4).

Type of successful projects

Exhibit 2 – Type of successful projects

Size of successful projects

Exhibit 3 – Size of successful projects

Average duration of successful projects in months

Exhibit 4 – Average duration of successful projects in months

According to the assumed method of the data analysis, the group of factors meeting criterion 1 was determined for the successful projects (Exhibit 5).

The following factors occurred in all (100%) successful projects:

  • - project manager was formally established,
  • - project team was formally established,
  • - competent project manager,
  • - competent staff in the project team,
  • - top management support for the project,
  • - clearly and measurable defined goal of the project,
  • -     the resources accurately planned for the project implementation phase,
  • -

The following factors occurred in 94% of successful projects:

  • - appropriate management style of project manager,
  • - experienced project manager,
  • - defined periodical meetings of the project team,
  • - the financing of the project accurately determined,
  • - resources planned and secured for the project realisation phase,
  • - experienced project team,
  • - recognised and defined client's requirements,
  • - efficient communication procedures,
  • - project manager's high authority,
  • -     planned monitoring progress tools and techniques for project implementation phase,
  • -

According to the assumed method of the data analysis, the group of factors meeting the criterion 1 was determined for the unsuccessful projects.

None of the factors occurred in all projects.

The following factors occurred in 91% of successful projects:

  • - project manager was formally established,
  • - project goal was imposed (but not clearly defined) by the top management,
  • - no risk management (especially risk quantification) was applied,

According to the assumed method of the data workout the group of the factors meeting the criterion 2 (Exhibit 6).

The following factor was in 71% of difference of occurrences in successful projects vs. unsuccessful projects:

  • - clearly recognised and defined client's requirements,

The following factor was in 40%-44% of difference of occurrences in successful projects vs. unsuccessful projects:

  • - appropriate management style of project manager,
  • -     no risk management (especially: no risk reaction plans).Exhibit 5. Factors meeting criterion 1 - the frequency of the factor occurrence in project minimum in 80%
  • -
Factors meeting criterion 1 – the frequency of the factor occurrence in project minimum in 80%

Exhibit 5. Factors meeting criterion 1 – the frequency of the factor occurrence in project minimum in 80%

Factors meeting criterion 2 - the difference of the factor occurrence in successful projects and unsuccessful projects - minimum 30%

Exhibit 6. Factors meeting criterion 2 - the difference of the factor occurrence in successful projects and
unsuccessful projects - minimum 30%

Summary

The results show that project management is known and recognised by certain companies in the Silesia region although its scope of application differs.

According to research results survey companies:

  • - formally establish project manager – in 100% of the successful projects, in 98% of the unsuccessful projects,
  • - formally establish project team – in 100% of the successful projects, in 83% of the unsuccessful projects,
  • -     try to support the project by top management - – in 100% of the successful projects, in 83% of the
    unsuccessful projects.
  • -

In the projects realised by the companies the following factors occur with significant difference in successful projects vs. unsuccessful projects:

  • - clearly recognised and defined client's requirements,
  • - clearly and measurable defined goal of the project,
  • - the financing of the project accurately determined,
  • - application of risk management,
  • - experienced and competent staff in project team.

References

Frame D. (1995) Managing Projects in Organizations. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, Polish translation Zarządzanie projektami w organizacjach, (2001) p. 2, WIG-press, Warszawa.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

© Serewyn Spalek
Originally published as part of 2004 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Prague, Czech Republci

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