New Developments in Project Management

Although APM offers a lot of promise, it must be adopted with all the necessary managerial support for it to succeed. This cannot be ignored especially if one considers the demerits of APM highlighted above. It will be folly to believe that APM alone can solve all project management problems because just like TPM it is not a solution but a tool to enhance project implementation. This is also true in view of Aguanno (2004)’s balanced evaluation of APM methodologies which presented their shortcomings and possible misrepresentations and also concluded that no single method can address all situations. This is also in agreement with other scholars (Brooks, 1987; Shore and Warden; 2008) who state that there is no ‘silver bullet’ in selecting a project management methodology.

The existence of varying degrees of literature advocating for APM (Weinstein, 2009) and the various arguments put forward against it (Chin, 2004; Harrison, 2003) makes it imperative for one to further explore these approaches with the recognition that bias can play a pivotal role in the selection process (Jiang and Eberlein, 2008). Many scholars agree that TPM performs better that APM in some situations and vice-versa. However, this tendency by scholars and practitioners to prefer one more than the other may not be beneficial due to selection error. Given such circumstances, Jiang and Eberlein (2008) postulate that it is possible to combine the two in order to benefit from both but this possibility is still a subject of investigation. Nevertheless, what is clear from this review is that organisations tend to benefit more if APM is correctly applied than in the TPM case. However, the varying nature of projects, size (complexity), anticipated uncertainties and the associated dynamic changes (if any) pose a threat to organisation’s decision making process on the project management approach to follow. Consulting firms are also facing these challenging scenarios (Geraldi, 2008) and in most cases managers tend to prefer what they know best (Kerzner, 2003) and hence the need to also avail information on the possibility of applying agile concepts in these organisations.

In view of the above dilemma researchers and academics are continuously searching for other project management methodologies with different schools of thought. One interesting view (which also encompasses APM) to crop from these efforts is that a project does not necessarily need to be there for project management to exist but rather it is the application of ‘project management’ to an endeavour that creates a project (Weaver, 2007). In addition to the theory of complexity (on which APM is anchored) discussed above, another idea stemming from this view is that of Projects as ‘Temporary Knowledge Organisations (TKOs)’as suggested by Lundin and Söderholm (1995). According to Weaver (2007) this approach is centred on project teams as fundamental assets for project management. Moreover, in stark contrast with TPM and just like APM it emphasises on the unpredictability of projects. These two concepts are more closer to reality and seem to offer promise for the future of project management because they tend to embrace the underlying principle that projects are as a result of people’s actions and not an attempt to control the future through schedules and plans. It can be deduced from these assertions by Weaver (2007) that future project management approaches (APM and TKOs) will be a force to reckon with because of their consideration of uncertainty, unpredictability of projects, inability to control the future as well as their emphasis for communicating with, guiding and influencing stakeholders during the development of the project. Nevertheless TPM may continue to play a leading role because it can be seen as a complete formal procedure that covers all areas of project management unlike APM and the other new development approaches that are sometimes seen as incomplete (Fitsilis, 2008).

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