Improving Project Management performance in the UAE through
Effective Interdependency Management
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Background information
A key aspect of project management is that of managing the resources availed for the project to ensure effective completion of the project. The one challenge that various project managers are faced with is that of interdependencies and the impact that this has on the completion of a given project. This is especially in considering cases where complex project ecologies are observed. This realization is the main basis of this study. The impact of these interdependencies which can either be pooled, reciprocal or sequential is studied in the paper with particular emphasis being on how pooled interdependencies impacts key projects in the healthcare sector (Harrison & Lock 2004, 49). This study will be used in developing solutions to mitigate the challenges that have been observed and thereby create more effective project management models and procedures for firms in the United Arab Emirates. Consequently, this paper is geared towards improvement of project management to deliver the most effective, value, and benefit with project outcomes and results in the UAE through implementation of the best practices in interdependency management.
Project interdependency is a relationship between two or more projects in such a manner due to sharing of resources, budget, deliverables, objectives, outcomes, or vision (Martinelli, Waddell, & Rahschulte, 2014). Project interdependencies are very important in project management because they allow for quantification of program benefits since they link several projects to the program objectives in organizations (Letavec, Rollins, & Altwies, 2007).
1.2 Statement of the research problem
The growth of business firms is largely driven by the projects that they undertake, hence organizations require project management skills to achieve good resource management capacities and competitiveness, which result to growth (Brady & Davies 2004). Project management knowledge extends to the management of specific operational and strategic goals that the company wishes to achieve. More and more firms choose project management as a responsive and reliable framework for their products development (Schindler &Eppler 2003). Effective project management involves good understanding and management of project interdependencies in PPM contexts (Dietrich &Lehtonen 2005). However, research has repeatedly shown that many project managers lack the competency to manage more than one project at a time or maximize project outcomes where many projects, managed together or separately, are linked(Patanakul& Milosevic 2009).In their study on application of system dynamics approaches in the UAE, interdependency management has been identified as one of the key challenges for project managers. In a mainstay study by Ameemi (2011), the scholar reports that a significant proportion of project managers in the UAE fail in planning and organization of integrated projects. In essence, in the UAE, project interdependencies in PPM contexts are a key challenge for project management. This problem warrants research aimed at providing recommendations on how to optimize project management through good management. Notably, the problem of project interdependency being a challenge to project management is more complex in the UAE than in other nations due to the culture differences that exists in the nation which has a larger working population of expatriates than the native population in the workforce (Ameemi, 2011). This study is geared towards providing recommendations to this challenge in the UAE after exhaustively discussing the problem in the light of previous research on the topic.
1.3 Research objectives and questions
The overarching goal of this study is to critically investigate the concept of project interdependencies and how it is a challenge in project management and hence provides recommendations on how to improve project management in the UAE. The specific objectives in this study are:
- To investigate the concept of project interdependencies and explore how it affects project management.
- To analyze the problem of poor project interdependency management as a challenge of project management in the UAE, the challenges facing portfolio and programme management to effectively manage interdependencies between projects
- To compare project interdependency management in the UAE to the ideal or standard approaches to management in PPM contexts and provide recommendations on how PPM can develop positive relationships between PM that would enable the effective management of shared projects.
To fulfill the above objectives, this study will answer the following research questions.
- How do project interdependencies affect project management in the PPM context
- How competent are project managers in the UAE in regard to project interdependency management What are the factors that make project interdependencies a challenge in project management in the nation
- What are the best project interdependency management practices What improvements should be made to project interdependency management in the UAE in order to improve project management
This study will contribute significantly to the project management literature and provide insight into the improvement of project management practices in the UAE. Project management is a vital element of organizational management that contributes directly to organizational performance. This study is henceforth very important because it highlights and provides insight on issues that can affect the success of many organizations in the UAE.
Chapter 2: Review of Literatures
2.1 Project management: Definitions
In every discussion of project management, a definition of the term suffices. Likewise, in this paper, it is very important to develop an operational definition of the term before exploring the topic in depth. Project management is a heavily studied topic and has been defined differently by different scholars and academicians. A good way of understanding project management and comprehending how it is implemented in business and what it entails, it is important to view the term as a sort of portmanteau formed by the words ‘project’ and ‘management’. Defining both words separately can offer a good insight to understand project management. The word ‘project’ is best defined as “a unique process, consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements, including constraints of time, cost and resources” (Lester 2014, 1). In essence, a project is an undertaking aimed at the achievement of measurable goals using pre-determined resources and time.
Management, on the other hand, is defined as the process of getting things done. One of the most popular definitions of management was put forward by the legendary Frederick W. Taylor, who defined the term as “the art of knowing what you want to do and then seeing that it is done in the best and cheapest way”(Taylor cited in Havinal, 2009, p. 3). This definition is the anchor of management decisions that simplify the concept as just the process of influencing others to do the things that one wants done. Koontz and O’Donnell (1974, p. 3) define management as “the direction and maintenance of an internal environment in an enterprise where individuals working in groups can perform efficiently and effectively towards the attainment of group goals”. This is perhaps the best definition of management because it creates a better picture of management as an internal organizational process through which people are led towards achievement of organizational interests.
From the above definitions of project and management, we can conjure up a definition of project management as the maintenance of direction and oversight to ensure the achievement of the set objectives in an organizational project. Lester (2014, p. 7) provides a comprehensive definition of project management by describing it as “the planning, monitoring, and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all those involved in it in order to achieve the project objectives within agreed criteria of time, cost, and performance” (Lester, 2014). This definition includes the important ingredients that should be included in a proper definition of project definition. Project management, like all other forms of management, requires application of all the functions of the management process that include planning, organizing, staffing, motivating, directing, and controlling (Talloo, 2007). The understanding of project management allows us to delve into project interdependencies and comprehend their impact on the PPM, and overall project management process.
2.2 The concept of project interdependency
Project interdependency is a term in project management studies used to denote the relationship between different projects in a PPM context. Simply put, project interdependency occurs where a project is dependent on another project or other several projects in the same organization (Moersidik, Arifin, Soesilo, Hartono, & Latief, 2015). Project interdependency can occur through numerous ways. The first is the situation in which several projects share resources. For example, two projects conducted by one team of employees are dependent on each other because they share human resources. In addition, interdependency can occur in situations where a project uses the end result or findings of another project. For example, an innovation project to create a new product will need to use results of research projects conducted by the research department in a firm. Another way through which project interdependency may occur is in which one project cannot be started until another one is started or until one deliverable or output from the other project is released. For example, the painting project of cars in a motor vehicle manufacturing plant cannot be started until the assembling projects are over. These examples suggest that project interdependency is a common occurrence in organizations because specialization and division of labor creates different departments and teams that are highly interrelated and integrated. In such multi-department and consequently PPM organizational settings, it is quite important to implement good management approaches to optimize project success (Moersidik et al. 2015).
Project interdependencies are classified into three classes through different classification systems. Griffin and Moorhead (2010) classify interdependencies as pooled interdependencies, reciprocal or sequential. In this approach, pooled interdependencies, resources from different projects are shared or used successively in different projects. In the reciprocal class of interdependencies, the interactions between the involved projects involve exchanges between the projects. Sequential project interdependencies, the third type of interdependencies according to Griifin and Moorhead (2010), involve the dependency of projects on the outcomes of other projects. Morris (2008) endorses the classification of interdependencies into pooled, reciprocal, and sequential classes. This is the most popular approach to classify project interdependencies. In their article on the construction of balanced project portfolios based on identification of the interactions between projects, Eilat, Golany and Shtub (2006) also identifies three types of project interdependencies just like Griffin and Moorhead (2010) but used different terminologies the classification. According to Eilat et al. (2006) the three classes of project interactions are resource interactions, benefit interactions, and technical dependence. In this classification, resource interactions involve the sharing of resources by different projects just like the pooled interdependencies inGriffin and Moorhead’s (2010) classification. Similarly, the benefit interaction and technical dependence interdependencies in Eilat et al.’s (2006) classification match the reciprocal and sequential interdependencies in the classification proposed by Griffin and Moorhead (2010). This demonstrates consensus in the classification of project interdependencies.
The concept of project interdependency is a crucial part of project portfolio management. According to Moersidik (2015, p. 66), a project portfolio is “a collection of various components including programs, projects, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.” In essence, all interrelated organizational projects are organized into a portfolio that outlines their relationships in order to facilitate their management. However, it is notable that a project portfolio does not only house interdependent projects, but a set of projects in organization organized in a quantifiable manner to facilitate their prioritization, ranking, and measuring. This implies that a project portfolio is not a tool primarily designed for outlining project interdependencies, but rather a tool that is very essential for the management of such interdependencies (Moersidik et al. 2015).
The interdependencies between projects are driven by many factors. Resource utilization, organizational goals, vision, mission, project outcomes, the market, stakeholders, strategic partners, and other factors in the organizational environment can affect the interdependencies between projects and influence their worth, value, and priority (Moersidik et al. 2015). It is recommended that project interdependencies should be accurately evaluated as one of the key factors considered in the development of project portfolios. This step is of crucial importance in project management (Laslo, 2010). Notably, project interdependencies are outlined and managed through the organizational project portfolio, making it the most important instrument in the management of interdependencies in the complex and dynamic organizational environments that interdependencies occur in.
2.3 How project interdependency poses challenges to project management
One of the key factors that makes project interdependency a challenge to project management is the impact of the interdependencies on the power structure in organizations. Project interdependencies may be misconceived as simple relations between organizational projects, but they are complex interactions that involve deeper factors in organizations while they affect the core organizational strategy and competitiveness. One issue that contributes to the complexity of project interdependencies is that they are linked to power in organizations. Where there is little interdependency, there is little or no need for assertion of power in any situation (Walker, 2015). According to Walker (2015), in conditions of high project interdependency, there is usually high motivation between employees to work collaboratively if the right incentives are provided, hence there is also no great need for the assertion or power or authority. On the other hand, in situations of moderate project interdependence in which power and authority is more frequently asserted. However, Walker (2015) further notes that even in low interdependence contexts where power is not expected to be asserted, some people may use illegitimate power with the aim of getting pay-offs in the future. For example, even in cases where projects do not interact, individuals in formal positions of power in an organization may hoard resources in order to use them in future projects from which they will gain more benefits.
The relationship between power and project interdependence is that it changes the power structure in organizations (Walker, 2015). Notably, project interdependency means that one project will depend on another project, which is perhaps managed by a different project manager. Dependency is the basis of power in organizations (Walker, 2015). An example suffices to elucidate this terse observation. When project manager A possesses scarce resources required by project managers B and C in such a way such that he/she alone can control the utility of those resources, then he or she gains monopoly power that can be exercised on the project managers B and C, within the same organization. From this example analogizing the power relationships that may develop in organizations due to the disruption of the power structure by interdependencies, it is evident that such interactions can create divisions within organizations and henceforth affect the ability of employees to work together towards organizational goals. Project interdependencies can henceforth be said to have adverse impacts on relationships between employees and organizational departments by staving off power to some factions, hence creating adverse impacts in project management. From logic, when there is no collaboration between different departments or employee teams within an organization, performance is bound to be negatively affected. It is recommended that a good audit be done to diagnose the impacts of interdependence on the power structure in organizations in order to ensure proper project management in organizations (Walker, 2015).
Another factor that makes project interdependencies a key challenge in project management is communication. In Managing Project Interfaces- Key Points for Project Success, Morris (2008), a professor and researcher in management, explains that proper project management requires perfect liaison in order to achieve higher rates of integration in multi-project contexts with challenging project interdependencies. The author further explains that to attain liaison, the parties involved in project management need to maintain effective communication within the organization. In addition, Morris (2008) notes that effective communication in contexts of project interdependence facilitates good working relationships, which is a prerequisite of both project and organizational success. Maintaining effective communication is usually a challenge in most organizations, and this challenge grows bigger with the presence of project interdependencies, which tend to be more divisive than cohesive if the proper management measures are not put in place (Platje, Siedel, & Wadman, 1994). Effective between-project communication in multi-project contexts is highly recommended as a measure to mitigate this challenge (Killen, Krumbeck, Kjaer, & Durant-Law, 2009).
Project interdependencies also pose challenges to project management because they involve complex decision-making processes. Verbano, Nosella, Venturini, and Turra (2009) note that in project portfolio management, project interdependencies complicate project management because there are multiple decision-makers, many strategic decisions and considerations to be made, dynamic opportunities, multiple qualitative objectives that may be conflicting and uncertainty of the risk in the projects. In essence, when projects are interdependent, decision-making is affected due to the presence of many opportunities, conflicting objectives, and many decision makers all involved actively in the process (Verbano et al. 2009). This is a challenge to project development because decision-making is stalled during conflict-resolution processes and efforts to harmonize differing ideas and opinions from different parties in the process. The process of identifying project interdependencies is itself time consuming and requires a pool of human resources in a multi-project context. Notably, portfolio managers usually have numerous projects with confounding information that may not be accurate, and hence sorting through many projects to identify interactions between them may be quite challenging (Taveska & Toropova, 2013).
Besides the general challenges faced by project managers due to project interdependencies, certain challenges are more closely related to specific classes of interdependencies. For example, in pooled interdependencies, it is likely that sharing resources will create a social dilemma about which projects are allowed to utilize the resources first or how the resources will be allocated for different projects (Bergeron, 2007, p. 1092). Notably, although projects are usually prioritized, some projects sharing the same resources may be all important or may be crucial to different departments within an organization. Due to inevitable sharing of resources in different projects, interdependency creates cases of artificial pushing of some projects into crisis in order to acquire top priority and resources for other projects (Engwall&Jebrant, 2003). Notably, this kind of situation would be a case of a company harming itself through unhealthy competition for resources between resources. The sharing of human resources also creates challenges for project management. This is because when employees are involved in too many projects, they lack opportunities for recovery between assignments and professional development, and hence there is a deterioration of morale and performance due to improper work-life balances (Zika-Viktorsson, Sundstrom, and Engwall, 2006). Another project management challenge related to the sharing of resources is the sharing of knowledge. According to Tiwana (1999, p. 76), it is not impossible to make employees in an organization to use and share knowledge. In situations where projects are interdependent because they share knowledge as a resource, project managers may face key challenges in influencing the people to maintain focus on organizational goals and share knowledge to ensure success on all fronts.
Project interdependencies, whether pooled, reciprocal, or sequential, may create challenges in project development due to the need for close coordination of resource, knowledge, information, and results sharing. For reciprocal or benefit interdependencies, a challenge that project portfolio managers may face is that some managers fail to identify and exploit the synergies in projects due to exclusive focus on their projects or the unavailability of quality information (Elonen&Arto, 2003). Some project managers are usually not concerned with any other projects in a portfolio except their own, making it quite difficult to manage sequential or outcome interdependencies because they rely on the results of the other projects (Teller et al. 2012, p. 600). This discussion shows that there are many factors that make project interdependency a challenge for project management.
2.4 Theoretical conceptualizations of best project interdependency management
Though the topic of project interdependency management is inadequately studied, theorists have outlined several project portfolio management tools that can be used to manage projects in multi-project environments. The tools and methods for good project interdependency management are broadly categorized into hard and soft tools (Taveska & Toropova, 2013). The hard tools for project interdependency management include visual tools, network mapping, and optimization models. On the other hand, the soft tools for interdependency management are usually informal and include meetings, gut-feelings and intuition, diversity, and good organizational leadership (Taveska & Toropova, 2013). The best theoretical approach to project interdependency management, according to existent literature, is the system dynamics approach. This theoretical conceptualization and the interdependency management tools are discussed exhaustively below, resulting to the generation of a theoretical framework for project interdependency management.
2.5 System Dynamics Approach
According to Morris (2008, p. 407) “the most pervasive intellectual tradition to project management, whether in organization, planning, control, or other aspects, is without doubt the systems approach”. The systems perspective is an interdisciplinary theoretical approach aimed at elucidating the principles that can be applied to understand behavior in systems. The systems perspective was developed in the 1920s and 30s with an objective of analyzing how living organisms interact and control their environments. The Gestalt psychologists also suggested that the human mind organizes sensory data by processing it through systems. In this approach, a system describes a group of related elements or things. Morris (2008, p. 408 defines a system as “an assemblage of people, things, information, or other attributes, grouped together according to a particular system objective”. For example, an organization is a whole system that involves grouping of production, marketing, management, and sales departments together with other organizational functions. The different departments in an organization are the subsystems or parts that make up the organization. Systems are properly organized and the subsets in each one of them works collaboratively with the others to make the whole. The systemic view proposes that the whole is more than the sum of its parts (Morris, 2008). This indicates that every subset in a system should not work towards its own success but should collaborate with the other systems towards the overarching goal of success for the whole system.
The systemic perspective developed by accretions in the 1950s and the decades afterwards as it was continually applied to analyze behavior in psychology, economics, sociology, human anthropology, and other disciplines in which scholars study organization and hierarchical classification (Morris, 2008). In project management, the systems approach has been very useful in analyzing the best approaches to management in multi-department or multi-project environments. In the systems approach, projects are viewed as organizations that should be successfully regulated, directed through clearly defined objectives, and managed best through “progressive development of information and multilevel project control”(Morris, 2008, p. 409).However, the systems approach still encourages the view of projects as subsets of a larger system, the organization, or more accurately, the project portfolio. In the multi-project context, the systems perspective recommends application of an “across-the-board approach” to integrate different projects and manage the interfaces (interdependencies) well(Morris, 2008). Since the whole is more than the sum of its parts, interdependent projects in an organization should be managed in such a manner that the overarching goal is not project success but organizational performance.
The system dynamics approach, which is a modification of the systems theory, has been increasingly applied in project management and is suggested to be more suitable for analyzing multi-project environments. The system dynamics approach was developed in the 1960s as a modeling technique for analysis of behavior in organizations (systems). The system dynamics approach, like the systems theory, is anchored on the principle that “the structure of a system gives rise to its behavior” (Sterman, 2000, p. 35). The system dynamics approach explains that the individual components (, subsystems, parts or subsets) in a system do not have the most complex behaviors, but the interactions between them create the complex behavior in a system. Sterman (2000) notes that in the system dynamics school of thought, feedback structures are used to describe the loops through which behavior in complex systems can be understood. Through the system dynamics theory, individuals can analyze the long-term effects of the actions taken in as system and explain how they affect the organization, the environment, the society, and the participants involved (Sterman, 2000).
The system dynamics school of thought offers a more superior theoretical approach to project management because it allows for analysis of changing environments. Krumbeck and Killen (2010, p. 3) elucidate that compared to other commonly used network mapping approaches used in the business management field, “system dynamics offers the opportunity to analyze complex and dynamic problems, which allows organizations to learn and understand their internal systems through a more effective model”.Forrester (1992, p. 19) explains that system dynamics is quite useful in contexts of “nonlinearity and complexity of business structures that traditional methods of network mapping techniques cannot achieve”. In project management and project portfolio management, system dynamics modeling is important in understanding the interdependencies between different projects. This theoretical approach is very useful in project portfolio decision-making.
2.6 Use of visual tools
Visual tools are one of the hard tools that are used in analyzing project interdependency and creating recommendations on how to solve them. There are two types of visual tools that have identified for use in project interdependency management. These two tools are network mapping and dependency matrices (Taveska & Toropova, 2013). Network mapping and analysis is anchored on mathematical modeling and originates from the graph theory. Brandes&Erlebach (2005, p. 7) define ‘network’ as an informal concept that describes an object composed of different elements and the interactions or connections between them. In the mathematical graphical methods, graph nodes, also known as vertices, outline the elements of a system. This approach is used to map the relations between the elements in a system such as an organization. In project management, network mapping is done through software-based tools that are used to record analyze, and display the relationships between nodes visually (Killen, Krumbeck, Kjaer, & Durant-Law, 2009). In network mapping, computerized models are used for network analysis because they provide the capability to analyze large datasets and represent it visual display in a form that relationships can be easily understood (Taveska & Toropova, 2013).
Network mapping is useful in identifying project interdependencies because it is capable of analyzing multiple projects within a project portfolio at the same time. Network mapping is often used with design structure matrices (DSM) to manage interdependencies within project portfolios (Krumbeck & Killen, 2010). This approach help determines all the key relationships in a complex project or team interactions. The network analysis approach applied in project management studies is known as social network analysis (SNA), which enables for visual presentation of the flows and interactions between different subsystems or components of an organization (Anklam, Cross, & Gulas, 2005).
The other type of visual tools used in project interdependency management is dependency matrices. This approach provides a matrix-based atechniquethat is applied to “visualize and manage project interdependencies by plotting them in rows and columns”(Taveska & Toropova, 2013, p. 18). This approach is most important in helping project and project portfolio managers to improve their understanding of theproject interactions within the portfolio (Killen & Kjaer, 2012). This approach is however criticized for its inability to be used in analyzing project interactions among many projects because it is most appropriate in analyzing pairs of projects (Dickinson, Thornton, & Graves, 2006).
2.7 Optimization models
Optimization programming models are mathematical methods used to map the interactions between different entities. Such approaches include goal programming, linear and non-linear programming, quadratic and dynamic programming (Taveska & Toropova, 2013). Optimization models are based on mathematical functions and they are used to analyze multiple constraints and objectives, resource allocations, and schedules in project interactions. Like visual tools, optimization models for interdependency management require input of large datasets and hence software tools are used to analyze them (Taveska & Toropova, 2013). These approaches are used in complex situations such as multi-project environments to map the interrelations between different projects (Blecic, Cecchini, & Pusceddu, 2008).
Taveska and Toropova (2013) used the different theoretical approaches to management of project interdependencies to develop a theoretical framework for understanding and explaining the best practices in project interdependency management. This theoretical framework, as modeled by Taveska and Toropova (2013, p. 69) is illustrated below.
Figure 1: Theoretical framework for project interdependency management (Taveska & Toropova, 2013, p. 69)
Though there is significantly a large amount of literature on project interdependencies and their management, this field is still much understudied. Rungi and Hilmola(2011) regard this topic as an emerging field because it has not been adequately studied. Rungi (2010) confirms this by stating that though project interdependency management is used by more than 91% of all firms and though it dates back to the 1960s, more research is required. In addition, Moersidik et al. (2015) note that most studies done on project interdependency management have been conducted as part of other studies. This indicates that there is a knowledge gap that should be covered by studies such as the present study on project interdependency in the United Arab Emirates.
Network Mapping and Analysis
Network Mapping can be used to study the factors that influence the understanding of project interdependencies. Tools used in network mapping can display the relationships between nodes found in networks at multiple levels. In doing this, these network mapping tools can reveal accumulated effects. The network mapping uses some software-based tools, which plays an important role in recording, analyzing, and visually displaying the relationships between nodes or items in a network. These maps facilitate enhanced analysis by making actual changes in the network or through modeling the proposed changes in a network. The graphical displays found in network mapping provides an intuitive and easy to study and interpret format that helps in revealing patterns better than matrix displays of data or verbal explanations.
In studying network mapping and analysis as a conceptual model, it is important to understand project interdependencies by exploring the role that culture, process, and visual presentation play. The major applications of network mapping are Social Network Analysis (SNA) and other organizational network analysis related to the SNA. The Social Network Analysis is used where relationships between organizations or people are studied, analyzed, and presented in visual forms. The Network Mapping exercise involves the collection of data from people representing different nodes of the network on their relationships and interactions with other nodes. The nodes used in the Social Network Analysis are individual people who are required to answer questions on how they interact with other people. Social Network Analysis is seen as a tool that helps to understand and improve the relationships between networks of organizations or people. The SNA is also used to promote collaboration, support critical nodes, and manage and maintain networks during the restructuring of an organization.
Applying Social Network Analysis to a Project Interdependency environment shows that the position of an individual in a social network is correlated with the influence that they have on project coordination. Also, in the domain of the PM, network mapping of project interdependencies between selection criteria helps in better evaluation of other project contractors.
Network Mapping as a conceptual model has many other applications, such as biological, economical, and mathematical modeling. Network Mapping has been used together with design structure matrix tools in an attempt to manage interdependencies, especially between tasks in product development environments. Network Mapping can be used to measure product development such as information flows and team interactions, which can play a significant role in identifying the crucial nodes in the network.
The completeness and accuracy of the data determine the validity of network mapping. Each application of Network Mapping must consider the best way to obtain representative data for the study and analysis of project interdependencies. For example, data mining techniques can be used to evaluate records in project interdependencies to avoid the possibility of having a bias in manual data collection. However, it is important to note that no data collection is free from bias. Most Social Network Analysis collect data from people. Software tools are present to help with the collection of data, which plays a significant role in reducing the bias that can be recorded in face-to-face settings.
Chapter 3: Methodology
The main objective of this research paper is to evaluate and assess how the various project managers within health sector in the UAE can be able to improve their overall project performance by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the relevant pooled project interdependencies. Therefore, this chapter will specifically, describe how the qualitative case study approach and the quantitative research design methodology can be applied to evaluate how the enhancement of the efficiency and effectiveness in the project management models can improve the overall project management performance within the UAE health sector. In essence, the main hypothesis in the research paper is that whenever, the various project managers enhance the efficiency and the effectiveness of the pooled project interdependencies, the implication is that it is more likely for the relevant project managers to attain a high performance in the stated projects.
The research methodology for this paper will mainly evaluate and review five (5) projects that are applicable within the UAE health sector. The qualitative case study research approach will mainly evaluate and analyze the following critical projects within the UAE health sector; medical supplies and equipment project, medical laboratory project and the healthcare information systems management project
3.2 Implication of the Conceptual Model Framework for the Research Design Methodology
This section will mainly evaluate the implication of the conceptual model framework in chapter two (2) for the research design methodology with respect to this research paper;
Components of Project Interdependencies
In the first place, the research methodology will mainly seek to evaluate the extent to which the different healthcare facility projects tend to share the various resources and knowledge for each individual projects. In addition, by conducting interviews with the relevant project managers, the research methodology will also determine the extent to which the different healthcare facility projects facilitate the increase in the overall project output as well as the market potential for the output of the projects.
Project Interdependency Management
In this case, the research methodology will mainly seek to determine whether the different project managers use the hard practices or the soft practices in the analysis of the effectiveness of their individual projects.
(i) Hard Practices
Specifically, using the questionnaires or the interviews, the research methodology will mainly seek to obtain information relating to whether the different project managers use the optimization models or the visual tools in the analysis of the project interdependencies.
(ii) Soft Practices
Similarly, using the questionnaires or the interviews, the research methodology will mainly seek to obtain information relating to whether the different project managers use the individual centered or the group centered approaches in the analysis of the project interdependencies.
A new conceptual model
Several types of research have been done on risk management and learning areas. It appears that the organizational theory influences the risk management practice positively. However, it is not clear how the learning practices can help in improving the project management risk of the organization, and improve the overall performance of the project management in the organization. Using the available literature on the project management field, we propose a new conceptual model, which can help in relating the organization learning practice and the performance of the project risk management in an organization. The proposed conceptual model is the stage-gate-buffer model. In selecting this conceptual model, the assumption made is that the work that needs to be done in the lifecycle of the project can be planned or scheduled as a sub-project or a project. The feasibility level of a project can be scheduled as a subproject, which would give the conceptual model a new development process. The new conceptual level depends on three moderating factors, which are the size of the organization, the experience level of the employees, and the technological turbulence of the organization. In using the three moderating factors, the conceptual model demonstrates that the variable used to measure the organizational learning practices and organizational project risk management. These will play a great role in developing a measurement instrument that can be used to read two concepts, and evaluate their level in any empirical study done in the future, which will be based on the questionnaire target for the organization.
Project Portfolio Success
In this case, the research design methodology will mainly seek to evaluate the success of the overall project interdependencies based on the influences of the negative effects factors as well as the positive beneficial factors. The primary data questionnaire will seek to obtain information on what the different project managers feel are the positive beneficial effects factors that contribute to the project success as well as what are the negative effect factors that are likely to contribute to the overall project failure.
Therefore, the research design methodology will mainly evaluate the following three (3) case study projects;
Medical Supplies and Equipment Project
The project interdependency management will evaluate the resource commitments, resource sharing, and attention that is given by the various project managers in ensuring that the relevant healthcare facilities in the UAE are well equipped with the stated medical supplies and medical equipment. In essence, the medical supplies and equipment project mainly depends on the completion of the healthcare information system project as well as the medical laboratory project.
Medical Laboratory Project
Similarly, this case study will evaluate the various resource commitments, resource sharing and the focus that is given by the project managers in ensuring that the relevant healthcare facilities in the UAE are well equipped with a medical laboratory facility. In this case, the medical laboratory project specifically depends on the completion of the healthcare information system and resources.
Healthcare Information Management System Project
Finally, this case study will also evaluate the financial, technological infrastructure as well as the human resource commitments that will be required by the various project managers working on the healthcare information management system in order to set up an effective healthcare information management system within the healthcare facilities found in the UAE. In essence, this project is systematically related to all the other healthcare facility projects such that the medical supplies and equipment project as well as the medical laboratory projects seem to depend on the healthcare information system project.
3.3 Research Design Methodology
In order to facilitate the attainment of the research objectives, which in this case relate to the evaluation of how the enhancement of the effectiveness in the pooled project management dependencies is able to increase the performance of the relevant project management within the healthcare sector in the UAE, this paper will utilize the stated two research design methodology approaches; the qualitative case study research approach and the quantitative research design methodology.
3.3.1 Qualitative Case Study Research Design
In this case, the qualitative case study research design will seek to analyze and observe the performance and the interdependencies within the three (3) main critical healthcare projects with respect to the enhancement of the overall project performance. In essence, the qualitative case study research approach will evaluate how the pooled interdependencies among the medical supplies and equipment project, the medical laboratory project as well as the healthcare information management system project is able to enhance the overall project performance within the healthcare sector in the UAE ( Brandes&Erlebach, 2005).
In addition, based on the qualitative case study research methodology, this paper will analyze and observe the performance of each of the stated three(3) projects and therefore collect the relevant project information from the respective project managers, which will facilitate the determination of how the effectiveness in the pooled project interdependencies is likely to increase overall project performance. For instance, in this case, the qualitative case study research design will seek to collect the relevant information from each of the three (3) stated project managers with respect to the project resource sharing, effectiveness of the communication among the three (3) project managers, project timings as well as consistencies of the project’s goals and objectives (Creswell, 2013; Martinelli, Waddell &Rahschulle, 2014).
3.3.2 Quantitative Research Design
In this case, the quantitative research design will mainly seek to examine the effectiveness as well as the nature of the pooled interdependencies among the three (3) healthcare projects and therefore establish any significant relationship that will describe how the effectiveness in the pooled interdependencies among the three (3) healthcare projects is likely to increase the overall project management performance. In addition, the stated quantitative research design methodology will also seek to quantify and attach numerical values to the various project deliverable variables that will define the overall project management performance within the UAE healthcare sector (Lester, 2014).
3.4 Research methodology of the New Conceptual model
Justifying the new conceptual model will require using a questionnaire to take the opinions of professionals. About the existence of the relationship between the organization learning practice and the performance of the project risk management in an organization, the questionnaire will be given to different companies in the UAE. It will also consider that the professionals who will participate in the question will come from different organizations, where these organizations will have different levels of organizational maturity. This will be done to study the performance of the criteria influence, which is likely to happen if the study focuses on the performance of risk management of the respective company.
3.5 Data Collection
This paper will mainly utilize the primary data that will be specifically collected from the population of all the healthcare facilities’ project managers within the UAE. In essence, the relevant primary data that will be collected from the project managers will relate to the information pertaining to the extent of resource sharing, project co-ordination, communication aspects as well as the goal consistency among the three (3) different projects. In addition, the overall performance of the stated healthcare projects will also be assessed by collecting the project performance deliverables such as whether the stated projects were completed within the set deadline and budget.
The data pertaining to the extent of resource sharing, project co-ordination, communication will be collected using the primary data questionnaire, which will be designed specifically in order to collect the stated primary data variable with respect to the extent of the project interdependencies and the overall project performance within the UAE healthcare sector. In this case, the primary data questionnaire will be sent to the respective companies through their primary email address, where the project manager will be required to fill in the questionnaire and return the document.
The following is an extract of the primary data questionnaire that will be administered to the various project managers that are in charge of the stated healthcare facility projects within the UAE.
Table 1: Primary Data Questionnaire
|1. How many different projects depend on the completion of the specific project that you are in charge
2. How often do you interact with the project managers from the other dependent projects
o None of the above
3. Do you normally share the resources and the knowledge among the different projects Using a scale of 1-5, to what extent to you share
4. Please choose the nature of the project interdependencies with respect to output, market and the overall benefits of the stated project interdependencies.
5. What form of project interdependency management do you normally employ
o Visual tools
o Optimization models
o Individual centered approaches
o Group centered approaches
6. If soft practices are used, what tools do you normally employ in the management of the stated project interdependencies
o Focusing on certain individuals
o Focusing on groups
8. In your opinion, in a scale of 1-7, what are the positive beneficial factors that contribute to the overall project interdependency success
o Sharing of knowledge
o Cost savings
o Sales increase.
o Project scheduling and timing efficiency
o Selection of compatible projects
In addition, to the use of the information provided in the questionnaire, this research paper will also schedule face-to-face interviews with the relevant project managers in the three(3) case study projects within the UAE . In essence, the conduct of the face-to-face interview will mainly seek to supplement and clarify the relevant information that was obtained from the primary data questionnaire (Leedy&Ormrod, 2005; Saunders, Saunders & Thornhill, 2011)).
This study will mainly make use of the selective non-probability sampling approach in order to attain the objectives in the research paper. Based on the selective non-probability sampling approach, this research paper will mainly seek to collect the relevant data for this paper from 30 healthcare facilities that have undertaken the completion of the three(3) case study projects medical supplies and equipment project, medical laboratory project and the healthcare information system management project. This will be done to make sure that the data collected from these companies will be credible. Therefore, this paper will mainly use the available published project reports within the UAE to specifically sample the stated three (3) case study projects for evaluation and data collection.
- 7 Validity and Reliability
In this case, research validity will be enhanced by ensuring that the main objective of the research as well as the research design is consistent with the relevant theoretical literature. In essence, research validity seems to have been enhanced in the research paper due to the fact that the effectiveness of the enhanced project interdependencies with the overall project performance is mostly consistent with the relevant theoretical literature studies within the UAE.
In addition, internal validity in this study is also enhanced by the fact that the selected qualitative case study research approach is appropriately suited to the determination of the relationship between the effectiveness of the project interdependencies and the overall project performance. Moreover, internal validity for this study will also be enhanced by ensuring that the relevant data collected from the primary questionnaire and the face-to-face interviews is relevant to the measurement of the stated two study variables i.e. the effectiveness of the project interdependencies and the overall project performance within the UAE healthcare sector.
Finally, reliability in the study will be enhanced by ensuring that the primary data collected from the questionnaire accurately measures the stated study variables. In addition, reliability in the research paper will also be enhanced by supplementing the accuracy of the primary data questionnaire using the face-to-face interviews (Latevac, Rollins &Altwies, 2007).
3.8 Limitation of the Study and Ethical Considerations
The main limitation of the study is that it would be very difficult and time consuming to locate the relevant healthcare projects within the UAE that have had experience with the stated three(3) projects relating to the medical supplies and equipment, medical laboratory project as well as the healthcare information system management project.
The relevant ethical considerations in this research paper will be enhanced by guaranteeing that the critical and sensitive information from the three (3) case study projects will be kept confidential and will only be used for the purpose of the study.
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