Project Management Journal Has An Increasing Impact!

Project Management Journal® Has an Increasing Impact!


Photo credit: Markus Bullick

The new impact factor metrics from Thompson Reuters are out. Project Management Journal® received a two-year impact factor of 2.714 and a five-year impact factor of 2.487, respectively. Last year the two-year impact factor was 1.765 and the year before it was 1.14, just passing the 1.0 threshold; in the years before, it was below 1.0. In addition, the number of submissions has increased to approximately 600 per year, which means that we have quadrupled the impact factor and number of submissions since we started our turn-around with a new editorial team in 2013. Our strategy is to contribute to the development of project management research and, specifically, to shape the themes and quality of this research and increase its dissemination.

Overall, this is a great success for our journal. I want to thank all our readers, authors, reviewers, my editorial team, and my team members at PMI—from Academic Resources and Publications—who have made this success story possible.

This issue highlights three themes: (1) The PMI awards presented at the International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) conference in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and the European Academy of Management (EURAM) meeting in Paris, France; (2) A Call-for-Papers for a new special issue on “Exploratory Projects”; and (3) the new articles in this issue.

At the biennial conference of the International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) in Boston, Professor Dr. Svetlana Cicmil, the University of the West of England, Bristol; Professor Dr. Damian Hodgson, the University of Manchester; Professor Dr. Monica Lindgren, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology; and Professor Dr. Johann Packendorff, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology received the very prestigious PMI Research Achievement Award. They were given the award for founding the Making Projects Critical (MPC) network and workshops, as well as for the ongoing research that opens up project management and project-based organizations to critical examination. The four researchers belong to the group, “Making Projects Critical!” founded by Svetlana Cicmil and transformed it into an impactful movement. Damian Hodgson and Svetlana Cicmil were both members of the influential “Rethinking PM Network,” which received considerable funding in the United Kingdom and published impactful articles, including “Rethinking Project Management” (Cicmil, Williams, Thomas, & Hodgson, 2006) and “Directions for Future Research in Project Management” (Winter, Smith, Morris, & Cicmil, 2006). Svetlana Cicmil and Damian Hodgson formed a separate, but overlapping research group along with Monica Lindgren and Johann Packendorff; they hosted their first workshop meeting in Bristol in 2003, involving a range of academics with an interest in project management. This group takes a more social science perspective on project management than has existed in traditional project management research groups. Their group's ideas and thoughts have been highly influential and the book, Making Projects Critical, by Damian Hodgson and Svetlana Cicmil (2006) is considered a classic text that explores the lived reality of project management team members. In 2006, the eighth conference on making projects critical took place. Johann Packendorff and Monica Lindgren have written influential articles on leadership, for example, “Leadership, Not Leaders” (Crevani, Lindgren, & Packendorff, 2010); “Shared Leadership: A Post-Heroic Perspective” (Crevani, Lindgren, & Packendorff, 2007); and “Project Leadership in Becoming (Packendorff, Crevani, & Lindgren, 2014). A very insightful analysis of the impacts of the works of the Making-Projects-Critical group, the Rethinking Projects Group, and the Scandinavian group of project management researchers was presented by Walker and Lloyd-Walker (2016).

Professor Dr. Raymond Levitt from Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, received the PMI Scholar-Practitioner Award during the Engineering Project Organization Society Conference (EPOC) and the Megaprojects Workshop in Lake Tahoe, California. This is an important award for PMI and its work to establish closer links between research and practice. This award recognizes an individual who has contributed significantly both to scholarship in project management and project management practice and, particularly, in establishing better linkages between these two domains.

Raymond Levitt has authored very influential articles and books on project management and is known for his simulation studies on projects building a formalized theory of project teams, for example, Levitt et al. (1999), “Simulating Project Work Processes and Organizations”; Jin and Levitt (1996), “The Virtual Design Team: A Computational Model of Project Organizations”; and Taylor and Levitt (2007), “Innovation Alignment and Project Network Dynamics.” Levitt also analyzed trust and conflicts in longitudinal studies of major global projects, using institutional theories as a framework. His book, coauthored with Malek and Morgan, Executing Your Strategy (2008) shows how to use project portfolio management and project management to overcome the implementation gap in strategy. His article “Organizing in the Context of Global Project-Based Firm” (2013), coauthored with Turkulainen, Kujala, and Artto describes how to coordinate the sales–operations interface.

This year, two articles tied for the 2017 Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award. The award-winning articles were identified in a two-stage process. During the first stage, all editors of Project Management Journal® assessed a specific number of articles, including all articles published in Project Management Journal®. Then, a short list of candidates was identified; these short-listed articles were then ranked by all editors independently. The two articles with the most first-place rankings won. The assessment criteria during both rounds were: (1) scientific contribution, (2) practical relevance, and (3) methodological rigor.

Professor Dr. Anders Fogh Jensen from Copenhagen University, Professor Dr. Christian Thuesen, and Professor Dr. Joana Geraldi from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby near Copenhagen received the 2017 Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award for their article, “The Projectification of Everything: Projects as a Human Condition” (volume 47, issue 3, pp. 21–34). Their article describes an alternative understanding of projects beyond organizational practices. That is, projects as a human condition, which means that we are defined by the projects we work on. Hereby the human condition emerges through a shift from a merely disciplinary to a merely project society. Four philosophical concepts are used to explain this change: activity, time, space, and relations. The changes in these principles provide a variety of worldviews and explain a number of issues and phenomena observed in recent times. The first author of this article, Anders Fogh Jensen, is a Danish philosopher who is well-known in Denmark for his books. I recommend his short and entertaining book, The Project Society (2012).

Professor Dr. Sylvain Lenfle from the University of Cergy-Pontoise in France received the 2017 Project Management Journal® Paper of the Year Award for his article “Floating in Space? On the Strangeness of Exploratory Projects” (volume 47, issue 2, pp. 47–61). When innovation is strongly radical, the exploration dimension of the project becomes dominant. Can project management concepts be useful in such a domain? Sylvain Lenfle answers this question positively and provides support for structuring such exploratory projects. When compared with traditional projects, the project explored through this in-depth case study in the space industry is said to appear as “strange” or “floating.” Relying on advances in design theory, Sylvain Lenfle proposes that this “strangeness” is not a symptom of mismanagement but rather that it follows a specific “expansion logic” adapted to the discovery situation. By detailing the management practices in a rich case example, he reveals how success was achieved through monitoring knowledge expansion in multiple unknown dimensions of the project while retaining the ability to flexibly respond to change and evolve over time. The use of a project management structure, albeit not a traditional approach, provided specific benefits—in particular in fostering communication, collaboration, and coordination among a “community” of actors spread across different disciplines. Importantly, this article reaffirms extant research (Lenfle, 2008; Lenfle & Loch, 2010) showing that managers need to recognize the type of project at the start, resist institutional pressure to adopt traditional “rational” approaches to all projects, and apply an appropriate approach—one that is tailored for the project type.

Professor Dr. Vijay Kanabar of Boston University received the inaugural PMI Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes and honors an individual faculty member for excellence in teaching project management, and to his or her strong commitment to improving and enhancing project management curricula in higher education. Over the years, Dr. Kanabar has designed, developed, and delivered market-leading project management courses and programs at the graduate level, both on-campus and online, has led Project Management Professional (PMP)® boot camps for hundreds of Boston University project management students, and was the chief faculty advisor of the current initiative by PMI to make available standard curriculum guidelines for the teaching of project management programs at the undergraduate level.

In addition to the annual academic awards that PMI confers, it also recognizes the work of scholars who present their research findings at the biennial meeting of the International Research Network on Organizing by Projects (IRNOP) and in the Project Organizing Track at the annual meetings of the European Academy of Management (EURAM). These paper prizes have been jointly awarded by IPMA and PMI as part of a collaborative effort that began six years ago. This year the prizes were conferred on the following authors:

IPMA-PMI Best Paper Prize at IRNOP 2017

“Projects as Preconditions: Creating the Preconditions for Routine Operations in Use” by Professor Dr. Hedley Smyth (University College London)

IPMA-PMI Best Student Paper Prize at IRNOP 2017

“The Governance of Major Public Infrastructure Projects” by Maude Brunet, Université du Québec à Montréal

IPMA-PMI Best Paper Prize at EURAM 2017

“Mechanisms of Isomorphism in Project-Based Organizations” by Dr. Maxim Miterev, Professor Dr. Mats Engwall, and Professor Dr. Anna Jerbrant of KTH Royal Institute of Technology

IPMA-PMI Best Student Paper Prize at EURAM 2017

“The Governance of Major Public Infrastructure Projects: The Process of Translation” by Maude Brunet and Professor Dr. Monique Aubry of Université du Québec à Montréal

Congratulations to all award winners!

2. Articles in this Issue

The first article from Ming-Chuan Yu on “Customer Participation and Project Performance: A Moderated-Mediation Examination” proposes a theoretical model to understanding how and why customer participation can promote project performance. The findings confirm the central hypothesis that knowledge integration mediates the positive relationship between customer participation and project performance: It is indeed knowledge integration that transmits the effects of customer participation to project performance. This effect increases with increasing project complexity, which acts as a moderator variable. These findings are highly relevant for customer-centric process models, such as Scrum.

The second article from Per Erik Eriksson, Roine Leiringer, and Henrik Szentes on “The Role of Co-creation in Enhancing Explorative and Exploitative Learning in Project-Based Settings” investigates how co-creation practices influence explorative and exploitative learning in five collaborative construction projects with partnering arrangements. Drawing on a longitudinal case study, their findings reveal two different types of explorative learning processes (i.e., adaptation and radical development) and three different exploitative learning processes (i.e., incremental development, knowledge sharing, and innovation diffusion). Furthermore, co-creation practices enhance adaptation, radical development, and incremental development, which are typical intra-project learning processes. Co-creation practices do not, however, enhance knowledge sharing and innovation diffusion across projects. These findings concur with previous insights that the temporary and one-off nature of projects makes inter-project learning problematic.

Asghar Afshar Jahanshahi and Alexander Brem answer the question: “Does Real Options Reasoning Support or Oppose Project Performance? Empirical Evidence from Electronic Commerce Projects.” There is a consensus among scholars that real options reasoning is crucial for improving project performance but there has been little empirical support thus far; hence, the authors explore how real options reasoning may influence project timeliness, efficiency, and effectiveness. Their longitudinal analysis of 110 electronic commerce projects, drawn from new technology ventures, indicates the differential effects of real options reasoning on project performance. The authors find that higher uncertainty does not always lead to a greater use of real options reasoning. Although perceived environmental state uncertainty is positively linked to real options, perceived environmental effect is not and response uncertainty shows a negative effect. The impact of real options on project performance is also of mixed nature: effectiveness and efficiency of a project are significantly increased, but time overruns are also significantly increasing. The reasons for these findings are explained in the model and its underlying hypotheses. The kind of uncertainty matters, and the kind of performance effects matter too. Understanding the antecedents and impacts of real options reasoning requires a differentiated view, such as the one presented in this study.

Terry Williams addresses the “The Nature of Risk in Complex Projects.” Risk analysis is important for complex projects; however, systemicity makes evaluating risk in real projects difficult. Looking at the causal structure of risks is a start, but causal chains need to include management actions, the motivations of project actors, and sociopolitical project complexities as well as intra-connectedness and feedback. Common practice based upon decomposition-type methods is often shown to point to the wrong risks. A complexity structure is used to identify systemicity and draws lessons about key risks. Terry Williams describe how to analyze the systemic nature of risk and how the contractor and client can understand the ramifications of their actions.

The world faces enormous challenges in limiting global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius in accordance with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Most of the transformation of global economic activity to achieve zero carbon dioxide emission will need to be accomplished in the next 30 years in order to achieve this outcome (Figueres et al., 2017). This will not only trigger a vast number of large renewable energy projects but also a redesign of many other forms of infrastructure to make them more energy efficient. This implies an unprecedented level of project activity to build new infrastructure and also adapt the existing infrastructure. The study of green building projects in Singapore by Bon-Gang Hwang, Lei Zhu, Yinglin Wang, and Xinyi Cheong, “Green Building Construction Projects in Singapore: Cost Premiums and Cost Performance” shows that this task will also be demanding for project managers. Using a large sample comparing 121 green building projects with 242 traditional projects, they show that the cost premiums for these projects is in the range of 5% to 10%, and these projects tend to exceed budget by a similar amount. The results also indicate that the green cost premiums range from 5% to 10% and that project type and size are significant factors affecting cost premiums. What is noticeable about these data is the level of innovation that is embedded in these projects in the forms of new designs, technology, and materials. Other recent articles (Davies, Macaulay, DeBarro, & Thurston, 2015) are starting to show how construction projects can be managed to successfully incorporate innovation; we will continue to see these practices become more common as the low carbon emission transformation of the economy continues, as it must.

The last two articles in this issue deal with project success in public-private partnerships (PPP) but in very different perspectives. The topic is more than welcome, as many governments are in search of means to increasing the success rates of their projects (Davies, Dodgson, & Gann, 2016; Flyvbjerg, 2017; Williams, 2016). A PPP strategy of engaging the private sector seems to be a promising approach. Both articles make significant contributions to calling attention to some specific success criteria and success factors. In a global contingency perspective, Robert Osei-Kyei and Albert P. Chan in their article, “Comparative Analysis of the Success Criteria for Public–Private Partnership Projects in Ghana and Hong Kong” suggest that success criteria will differ depending on different contexts, that is in developing versus developed countries. For example, findings show that in Ghana, higher importance is given to disputes minimization, social, and economic developments associated with PPP projects, whereas in Hong Kong they directly relate to efficiency in the cost and service delivery of PPP projects.

The article by Khalid Almarri and Halim Boussabaine, “The Influence of Critical Success Factors on Value for Money Viability Analysis in Public–Private Partnership Projects” aims to rehabilitate the potential of PPP based on value for money viability analysis in the context of the United Kingdom. In a quantitative methodology, they formalize the construct of value for money in three components: economical, financial, and commercial. While the findings show complexity in interaction between variables, the authors identified five key critical success factors: government guarantees, macroeconomic conditions, shared authority between the public and private sectors, social support, and transparent procurement process.

3. Calls-for-Papers Special Issue: “Exploratory Projects”

Special issue editors: Sylvain Lenfle, Christophe Midler, and Markus Hällgren

Deadline for paper submission: February 2018

The strategic roles of innovation and exploration in today's competitive environment have given birth to a research stream in the management of exploration projects for which neither the goals nor the means to attaining them are clearly defined from the outset. This work bridges the project, innovation, entrepreneurship, and discovery management literature and has led to a new approach to projects as experimental learning processes for which new management principles, such as selectionism and sequential learning, have been defined. From the same perspective, this literature underlines the need to differentiate between the management processes for exploratory projects, since the traditional stage-gate approach generally leads to failure, and to design new evaluation methods adapted to their “expansive” nature. We are only at the beginning of the research; thus, the goal of this special issue is to continue to develop the research on exploratory projects. More precisely, we welcome contributions in the following areas:

1. Research that sheds new light on the actor's practices in exploratory projects.

2. The validity of the management principles proposed in the literature.

3. The functions and roles of the actors in teams involved in exploratory projects.

4. The relationship between the project and its parent organization.

5. The role of exploratory projects in creation of the ecosystem.

6. The types of cognitive processes used during these types of projects.


Cicmil, S., Williams, T., Thomas, J., & Hodgson, D. (2006). Rethinking project management: Researching the actuality of projects. International Journal of Project Management, 24(8), 675–686.

Crevani, L., Lindgren, M., & Packendorff, J. (2007). Shared leadership: A post-heroic perspective on leadership as a collective construction. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 3(1), 40–67.

Crevani, L., Lindgren, M., & Packendorff, J. (2010). Leadership, not leaders: On the study of leadership as practices and interactions. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 26(8), 77–86.

Davies, A., Dodgson, M., & Gann, D. (2016). Dynamic capabilities in complex projects: The case of London Heathrow Terminal 5. Project Management Journal, 47(2), 26–46. doi:10.1002/pmj.21574.

Davies, A., Macaulay, S., DeBarro, & Thurston, M (2015). Making innovation happen in a megaproject: London's Crossrail suburban railway system. Project Management Journal, 45(6), 25–37.

Figueres, C., Schellnhuber, H., Whiteman, G., Rockstrom, J., Hobley, A., & Rahmstrof, S. (2017). Three years to safeguard our climate. Nature, 546, 593–595.

Flyvbjerg, B. (Ed.) (2017). The Oxford handbook of megaproject management. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Hodgson, D., & Cicmil, S. (2006). Making projects critical. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Jin, Y., & Levitt, R. E. (1996). The virtual design team: A computational model of project organizations. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory, 2(3), 171–195.

Jensen, A. F. (2012). The project society. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press.

Jensen, A. F., Tuesen, C., & Geraldi, J. (2016). The projectification of everything: Projects as a human condition. Project Management Journal, 47(3), 21–34.

Lenfle, S. (2008). Exploration and project management. International Journal of Project Management, 26(5), 469–478.

Lenfle, S., & Loch, C. (2010). Lost roots: How project management came to emphasize control over flexibility and novelty. California Management Review, 53(1), 32–55.

Lenfle, S. (2016). Floating in space? On the strangeness of exploratory projects. Project Management Journal, 47(2), 47–61.

Levitt, R. E. Thomsen, J., Christiansen, T.R., Kunz, J.C., Jin, Y., & Nass, C. (1999). Simulating project work processes and organizations: Toward a micro-contingency theory of organizational design. Management Science, 45(11), 1479–1495.

Morgan, M., Malek, W. A., & Levitt, R. E. (2008). Executing your strategy. Brighton, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Packendorff, J., Crevani, L., & Lindgren, M. (2014). Project leadership in becoming: A process study of an organizational change project. Project Management Journal, 45(3), 5–20.

Taylor, J. E., & Levitt, R. E. (2007). Innovation alignment and project network dynamics: An integrative model for change. Project Management Journal, 38(3), 22–35.

Turkulainen, V., Kujala, J., Artto, K., & Levitt, R.E. (2013). Organizing in the context of global project-based firm—The case of sales–operations interface. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(2), 223–233.

Walker, D., & Lloyd-Walker B. (2016). Rethinking project management: Its influence on papers published in the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(4), 716–743.

Williams, T. (2016). Identifying success factors in construction projects: A case study. Project Management Journal, 47(1), 97–112.

Winter, M., Smith, C., Morris, P., & Cicmil, S. (2006). Directions for future research in project management: The main findings of a UK government-funded research network, International Journal of Project Management, 24, (8), 638–649.

Project Management Journal, Vol. 48, No. 4, 3–7
© 2017 by the Project Management Institute
Published online at

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.



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