Every year brings new ideas and improvements to how something is being done. Today, we’ll talk about project management. We will cover five of the most intriguing scholarly papers recently released about project management methodologies, history, and specific industries. The following papers range from a few to a couple of hundred pages. It would be hard to summarize them in a consumable synopsis, so only one topic will be discussed for your reading pleasure. If you are interested in learning more about each study, you’ll find links to them at the end of this article.
#1 Rethinking Project Management for a Dynamic and Digital World
“Re” - the prefix of the meaning again. “Re” is the perfect way to explain many ideas covered in Rethinking Project Management for a Dynamic and Digital World throughout the first section.
This paper covers more than just project management; it also discusses many philosophical and sociological ideas that have come to fruition in the last decade and even references individuals who made predictions of the future decades before in a semi-non-specific form that turned out to be incredibly accurate.
One of the statements covered is by Alvin Toffler. In 1996, he described that after the end of industrialization, there will be a societal change in which we can expect knowledge to be one of the most valuable resources and that it will hold more value than physical items. He believed knowledge is easy to transfer, has no weight, and is desired by all. This seems like the digital future we live in today, where software has more value than most physical products and is analogous to all of those keystones.
The paper does cover some important project management ideas, such as returning to prior ideas to see how they work in today’s world. The paper brings up the example of electric cars that have been around for over one hundred years but have only recently seen success. The core idea here is to continue to look into the past and try old ideas again.
#2 Application of PM^2 in Project Management
For those who do not know, PM2 is an open-source project management methodology created by the European Commission (the executive body of the European Union) in 2006 but not publicly released until 2016.
Very few studies have been made about implementing the PM2 methodology, so the Portuguese Project Management Association decided to test it and see how well it works. They started a nonprofit called the PPMO (Portuguese Project Management Observatory) in 2020, which focuses on the evolution and status of the Portuguese project management scene.
PPMO managed its launch using PM2 and tested the following research question: Is the PM² methodology suitable for the PPMO project at the initiating phase? The objectives were to:
- Compare the characteristics of the PPMO project with the ideal PM² project
- Analyze the application of the PM² methodology in a practical situation
- Tailor the PM² proposed process to the PPMO project at the initiating phase
By the end of 2021, the team had determined that PM2 was a successful methodology that could be implemented by newbies in the space or by long-time project managers. If you are looking for quality project management, PM2, along with good software, may be the most versatile way to get a job done.
#3 Project Management Maturity in the Biotechnology Industry
Project Management Maturity in the Biotechnology Industry aims to rate 96 emerging companies in the biotechnology industry by having them fill out a survey and rating them on Harold Kerzner’s K-PMMM model. Other models were considered, but Kerzner’s was chosen because it “has a theoretical basis, uses a discrete scale with tangible, detailed, easily accessible results, and without acquisition costs. It also allows identifying strengths and weaknesses, is focused on the perspective of continuous improvement, simple to understand, and easy to implement.”
Each company was rated levels one to five, and the study revealed that levels two and three were the most common in the group. Researchers found that across all the companies, 86.60% of the employees did not have anyone with a project management background, and only 4.12% had taken post-graduate education that allowed them to obtain a project management certification.
80% of the companies were still in their startup phase, with the remaining 20% being companies that have hit maturity and have multiple lines of managers. This paper is an interesting read if you want to learn more about emerging industries and where you can fit into them as a project manager.
#4 Reducing Risk and Cost Inaccuracy
This paper by Ali Foroutan Mirhosseini, Kelly Pitera, James Odeck, and Morten Welde explores how project managers in the civil engineering sector can help reduce cost and their work’s environmental impact. The two main questions asked in this paper were:
- What are the main factors affecting cost inaccuracy during the planning and construction phases?
- How can different groups of risk factors (constructs) affect cost inaccuracies during the construction phase?
There were three surprising answers to question number one. Those answers were - local wishes without cost responsibility, defective estimation, and long processing time. Although the answers to question one were stated clearly, finding those for the second was harder.
The most discernible direct answer came in the form of contracts being misunderstood and not clear enough. The most important takeaway from this study is to be transparent and ensure your clients aren’t overpaying for their services. This paper is a great read for quantified stats and learning tips and tricks for those getting into civil engineering or the public sector.
#5 Leading the Way With PMTQ
To finish off, this last paper is the most digestible and has the best aesthetic appeal, which drew me in as a reader. Unlike the others above, this paper is much easier to read and is broken up in an easier fashion, which will organically draw you in faster.
PMTQ stands for Project Management Technology Quotient. Throughout the paper, case studies of companies investing in PMTQ are given, and researchers explain that the biggest paradigm shift in the last few years in project management comes from employees who have taken technology courses on top of project management.
Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities Cheat Sheet
It also provided evidence that innovative and entrepreneurial-thinking project managers spent half as much of their investments as those who didn’t have PMTQ. This short read from the Project Management Institute could greatly benefit your next employment opportunity. Please look through it and see how you can improve your skills and market yourself better to employers.
Sometimes studies are bland, sometimes they have too much jargon, and sometimes they are downright unreadable. The examples above are 5 awesome reads with some great tips and tricks and actionable items you can use as a project manager.