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Commonalities & Differences In Project Management Around the World. A Survey of Project Categories and Life Cycles Russell D. Archibald & Vladimir Voropaev. Purpose of This Survey. To encourage global agreement on:

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Commonalities & Differences In Project Management Around the World

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Commonalities differences in project management around the world

Commonalities & Differences In Project Management Around the World

A Survey of Project Categories and Life Cycles

Russell D. Archibald

& Vladimir Voropaev

Purpose of this survey

Purpose of This Survey

  • To encourage global agreement on:

    • Definition of basic project categories & sub-categories in common use for essentially all types of projects

    • Identification & definition of life cycles in use for each project category

  • To identify differences in these areas so that these can be understood and minimized

Presentation outline

Presentation Outline

  • A Global Vision: PM Practices

  • Systematic Model of Project Management

  • Proposed Project Categories/Sub-Categories

  • Life Cycles for Various Categories

  • Survey Questionnaire and Conduct

  • Next Steps

1 a vision of global project management practices

1. A Vision of Global Project Management Practices

  • Widely used set of concepts, methods, systems and tools

  • High degree of uniformity and understanding across economic, cultural & political boundaries

  • Enabling broad collaboration with minimum conflict

  • Interchangeable managers & specialists

2 systematic model of project management

2. Systematic Model of Project Management

The following figure is from Voropaev et al, “Systematic Model of Project Management,” presented at the 17th IPMA World Congress 2003 in Moscow

This survey focuses on

This Survey Focuses On:

  • Managed Objects: Projects and Programs

  • Life cycle phases of projects



  • Are the common denominator for all aspects of project management

  • Exist in many sizes & types

  • Produce many different products & results

Required analytical framework

Required Analytical Framework

  • Systematic grouping into defined categories and sub-categories

  • Many possible classification schemes

  • Most practical scheme reflects the products of the projects at the first levels of classification

3 proposed major categories of projects


Business & Organizational Change Projects

Communication Systems Projects

Event Projects

Facilities Projects

Information Systems

International Development

Media & Entertainment

Product/Service Development

Research & Dev.

3. Proposed Major Categories of Projects

Other major categories may be required

Other Major Categories May Be Required

  • See Table 1 in the paper

  • Survey will determine how practical and complete these recommended categories are

  • Further breakdown is obviously required

  • A few examples follow

Commonalities differences in project management around the world

Project Categories:

Each having similar life cycle phases and a unique project management process


1. Aerospace/Defense Projects

1.1 Defense systems

1.2 Space

1.3 Military operations

New weapon system; major system upgrade.

Satellite development/launch; space station mod.

Task force invasion

2. Business & Organization Change Projects

2.1 Acquisition/Merger

2.2 Management process improvement

2.3 New business venture

2.4 Organization re-structuring

2.5 Legal proceeding

Acquire and integrate competing company.

Major improvement in project management.

Form and launch new company.

Consolidate divisions and downsize company.

Major litigation case.

3. Communication Systems Projects

3.1 Network communications systems

3.2 Switching communications systems

Microwave communications network.

3rd generation wireless communication system.

4. Event Projects

4.1 International events

4.2 National events

2004 Summer Olympics; 2006 World Cup Match.

2005 U. S. Super Bowl; 2004 Political Conventions.

5. Facilities Projects

5.1 Facility decommissioning

5.2 Facility demolition

5.3 Facility maintenance and modification

5.4 Facility design/procurement/construction




High rise





Closure of nuclear power station.

Demolition of high rise building.

Process plant maintenance turnaround.

Conversion of plant for new products/markets.

Flood control dam; highway interchange.

New gas-fired power generation plant; pipeline.

Chemical waste cleanup.

40 story office building.

New manufacturing plant.

New shopping center; office building.

New housing sub-division.

New tanker, container, or passenger ship

6. Information Systems (Software) Projects

New project management information system. (Information system hardware is considered to be in the product development category.)

7. International Development Projects

7.1 Agriculture/rural development

7.2 Education

7.3 Health

7.4 Nutrition

7.5 Population

7.6 Small-scale enterprise

7.7 Infrastructure: energy (oil, gas, coal, power generation and distribution), industrial, telecommunications, transportation, urbanization, water supply and sewage, irrigation)

People and process intensive projects

in developing countries funded by The World Bank, regional development banks, US AID, UNIDO, other UN, and government agencies; and

Capital/civil works intensive projects—

often somewhat different from 5. Facility Projects as they may include, as part of the project, creating an organizational entity to operate and maintain the facility, and lending agencies impose their project life cycle and reporting requirements.

8. Media & Entertainment Projects

8.1 Motion picture

8.2 TV segment

8.2 Live play or music event

New motion picture (film or digital).

New TV episode.

New opera premiere.

9. Product and Service Development Projects

9.1 Information technology hardware

9.2 Industrial product/process

9.3 Consumer product/process

9.4 Pharmaceutical product/process

9.5 Service (financial, other)

New desk-top computer.

New earth-moving machine.

New automobile, new food product.

New cholesterol-lowering drug.

New life insurance/annuity offering.

10. Research and Development Projects

10.1 Environmental

10.2 Industrial

10.3 Economic development

10.4 Medical

10.5 Scientific

Measure changes in the ozone layer.

How to reduce pollutant emission.

Determine best crop for sub-Sahara Africa.

Test new treatment for breast cancer.

Determine the possibility of life on Mars.

11. Other Categories?

Sub categories are required

Sub-Categories Are Required

One example:

  • Business & Organization Change Projects:

    • Acquisition/merger

    • Management process improvement

    • New business venture

    • Organization re-structuring

    • Legal proceeding

    • Other: ?

Example category 5 facilities projects

Example:Category 5. Facilities Projects


  • Facility decommissioning

  • Facility demolition

  • Facility maintenance & modification

  • Facility design/procure/construct1.Civil 2.Energy 3.Environmental 4.Industrial 5.Commercial 6.Residential 7.Ships 8.Other:

  • Other: ?

Categories are not mutually exclusive

Categories AreNot Mutually Exclusive

  • Programs and large projects usually involve more than one category or sub-category

  • These projects are placed in their predominate category

  • Must “Mega” projects be treated separately? Probably: yes

Classifying within categories sub categories

Classifying Within Categories & Sub-Categories

  • Project size

  • Project complexity

  • External or internal customer

  • Degree of customer involvement

  • Levels of risk

  • Other:

Classifying within categories cont d

Classifying Within Categories (Cont’d)

  • Major & minor projects

  • Mega projects: not categorizable

  • Stand-alone versus create supporting infrastructure

  • Standard versus transitional

  • Other: ?

Commonalities differences a framework for analysis

Commonalities & Differences: A Framework for Analysis

  • Define appropriate project categories and sub-categories

  • Identify life cycles within each of these

  • Identify PM practices & tools in use by life cycle phase within various regions or countries

4 life cycles searching for common processes

4. Life Cycles: Searching for Common Processes

  • Life cycle definition enables:

    • All involved persons to understand the processes to be used

    • Capture of best experience

    • Assignment of responsibilities

    • Repetition of success

  • Important starting point in our search for common processes

Generic life cycle phases

Generic Life Cycle Phases

  • General agreement on four generic life cycle phases:

    • Concept

    • Definition

    • Execution

    • Closeout

      However these are too broad for our purposes

Designing life cycles phases and decision points

Designing Life Cycles:Phases and Decision Points

  • Three basic design parameters:

    • Number and definitions of phases/sub-phases

    • Whether sequential or overlapping, once-through or re-cycling, predictive or adaptive

    • Number and placement of decision points (approvals, go/kill, go/hold, go back)

Basic life cycle model types

Basic Life Cycle Model Types

  • Predictive

    • Most common

    • Generic, waterfall, other

  • Adaptive/heuristic

    • Incremental build

    • Short-term cycles

    • Evolutionary

Life cycle models differ by category

Life Cycle ModelsDiffer by Category

  • Different project categories (and sub-categories) often require very different life cycle designs

  • Incomplete literature search produced list shown in Table 2 of our paper

Examples of predictive life cycles

Examples of Predictive Life Cycles

  • Generic/Standard:

    • Concept, definition, execution, closeout

  • Waterfall:

    • Generic with overlapping, more detailed phases

  • Cyclical (when number is known)

  • Spiral

Examples of adaptive life cycle models

Examples of Adaptive Life Cycle Models

  • Adaptive Software Development/ASD:

    • Component based, iterative time-boxed cycles, risk-driven, change tolerant

  • Extreme Programming/XP:

    • Programming in pairs, teams include managers & users, each team codes & tests, fluid cost & schedule

  • SCRUM:

    • Iterative 30 day sprints, short daily meetings (scrums), several small teams

      Source: Desaulniers & Anderson 2002

Extreme programming xp

Extreme Programming/XP

  • “A cooperative style of software development promises to deliver better applications — on time and on budget.”

    PC Magazine, Feb. 25, 2003 p. 68

  • For helpful links, see “Extreme Programming Resources” at

Nasa process based mission assurance program life cycle

NASA “Process Based Mission Assurance Program Life Cycle”

  • Program Management

  • Concept Development

  • Acquisition

  • Hardware Design

  • Software Design

  • Manufacturing

  • Pre-Operations Integration & Test

  • Operations

Information systems life cycle examples

Information Systems Life Cycle Examples

  • Desaulniers & Anderson 2002:

    • Predictive (waterfall, prototyping, rapid application development/RAD, incremental build)

    • Adaptive (ASD, XP, SCRUM)

  • Whitten 1995:

    • Code and fix, waterfall, incremental, interative

Product service development life cycle examples

Product & Service Development Life Cycle Examples

  • Cooper & Kleinschmidt 1993:

    • Stage-Gate Process Model

  • Thamhain 2000:

    • Phase-Gate Model

  • Murphy 1989:

    • Pharmaceutical Model

Stage gate model

Stage-Gate Model

5 global survey project categories sub categories

5. Global Survey: Project Categories & Sub-Categories

  • Purpose: To determine:

    • If such a concept is used & if so how common it is around the world

    • Whether the recommended categories are used or useful

    • What additions or changes are needed

    • What are the common practices in further classification within sub-categories

Global survey project life cycles within categories

Global Survey: ProjectLife Cycles Within Categories

  • Purpose: To determine for each category/sub-category within each country:

    • Which of the listed life cycles are in use

    • Whether other life cycles are used, & if so their names and references

    • How the life cycle models are used and the benefits they produce

Conducting the survey

Conducting the Survey

  • The questionnaire is available on-line at

  • Completed questionnaires are to be completed on-line prior to November 1st, 2003

Project categories survey

Project Categories Survey

Enter These Codes for Each Item in Table 1:

U – Universally accepted and used

W – Widely accepted and used

A – Accepted and used by some

R – Rarely accepted and used

N – Never accepted or used

ALT – Alternative term used as noted

Project categories survey cont d

Project Categories Survey (Cont’d)


  • Useful to have an agreed list of project categories? Why?

  • What other classification systems are in use?

  • What subordinate classifications are used?

Project life cycle survey codes each category

SEQ – Sequential

WF – Waterfall Model

PAR – Parallel

CYC – Cyclical

Spir – Spiral

INCR - Incremental

ITER – Iterative

ADAP – Adaptive

GATE – Stage-Gate

CFIX – Code and fix

Spec – Special (describe)

Project Life Cycle Survey Codes – Each Category

Project life cycle survey other information

Project Life Cycle Survey - Other Information

  • Number of life cycle phases

  • Number of decision points

  • Additional comments

    ….for each project category listed in Table 2 plus any that have been added by the respondent

Project life cycle survey

Project Life Cycle Survey


  • Useful to have an agreed list of project life cycle types? Why?

  • List any other life cycle models or type that you know are in use, with descriptions or references.

  • Any other comments or suggestions

Promoting the survey

Promoting the Survey

  • ISGI Workshop participants are invited to respond — and encourage their colleagues to do the same

  • The survey is being publicized through appropriate PM associations around the world — primarily using the Internet and Web

Inducements to complete the survey

Inducements To Complete the Survey

  • Respondents will receive a complete copy of the survey report

  • Their names will be listed in the report (if desired)

  • They will have the satisfaction of having contributed to the advancement of the project management profession

6 next steps

6. Next Steps

  • Survey conduct: June — October

  • Compilation of results and preparation of the survey report: Sept.— December

  • Release of final report:

    December 31, 2003

  • Presentation of results at the 18th IPMA World Congress in Budapest June 2004

Download this paper complete the on line survey questionnaire at

Download this paper & complete the on-linesurvey questionnaire at:

The site, paper & questionnaire are available in English & Spanish

Volunteers welcome

Volunteers Welcome!

  • We would like to have a survey leader within each country to promote the widest possible participation

  • Please contact us:

    Russ Archibald:

    Vladimir Voropaev:

Your feedback is requested

Your Feedback Is Requested!

  • Thank you for listening

  • Please complete the on-line survey questionnaire prior to November 1st

  • Please give us your comments or suggestions on the survey

  • Is this worth all the effort?

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