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A Proposal for a Mindset of a Project Manager
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
Technical University of Denmark.
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of NordDesign 2008 / [ed] Roosimölder, Lembit, 2008, p. 120-130Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A company's product strategy and its management of the product development process have been found to be key factors for a product's success on the market. Project managers of development projects need support to make process decisions and defining goals that are consistent with the business's goals while bearing in mind the ability of the development team to deliver a product to the market that satisfies the customer’s expectations and needs. Uncertainty is a part of the product development project’s nature, which according to Simon is ill-structured, explorative and pragmatic. In product development projects it is desirable to reduce the level of uncertainty in order to make decisions without having to redo them later in the project resulting in longer lead time and higher costs. It is the project manager’s responsibility to manage this uncertainty in a complex ever-changing project environment. However, this research shows that there is unnecessary uncertainty in planning and controlling decisions when project changes occur. The uncertainty is manifested in not considering performance aspects of the project and the product in a wider organisational context. Visualization and clarification of decision situations and consequences is rarely used in practice and structured reasoning about project and product performance when making decisions is also rare. In order to enhance the project managers’ understanding of decision-making in product development projects, the objective of this paper is to propose a mindset for clarification of decision situations when changes has occurred. The proposed mindset is supposed to aid project managers when handling project changes by reducing complexity in project planning and supporting the articulation of uncertainties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. p. 120-130
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9135ISI: 000260990100012Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84859894046ISBN: 978-9985-59-840-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-9135DiVA, id: diva2:301708
Conference
NordDesign 2008, The 7'th international NordDesign conference - 7, 2008, Tallinn, Estonia
Projects
xpres
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production researchAvailable from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2013-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Coping with decisions on deviations in complex product development projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coping with decisions on deviations in complex product development projects
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A strong need for resource efficiency within manufacturing companies have been driven extensively through pro-active planning and methods which have naturally resulted in an increased amount of strong couplings between product development projects, their activities, and resources. These strong couplings mean a high level of complexity where deviations are likely to occur on a regular basis which can spread quickly and have far reaching consequences. Praxis related to treatment of such deviations in product development projects has not been widely discussed. The subsequent question is therefore How are decisions on managing deviations made in practice?

A Practice approach has been adopted in this research and led on to the use of context sensitive research methods in order to collect relevant data. The main amount of data has been gathered through one year of participant observations and document retrieval in a product development project. Also, a large amount of interviews have been used as a method for collecting data.

38 deviations have been analysed through the identification of praxis which has been primarily analysed by three theories. The first theory, decision roles, has been used to clarify the different types of uncertainties people within complex product development projects need to manage in practice. The second theory, loosely coupled systems, shows how temporary organizing by loose couplings enables parallel management of both planned and unplanned activities when deviations occur. The third theory, Sensemaking, have been used to characterise processes related to different types of uncertainties.

Conclusions are drawn regarding how people acts related to deviations are directly dependent on the types of uncertainties of the context as well as the situation itself. Uncertainties regarding choices, responsibilities, mobilization, and legitimization combined with the temporary organization leads to certain praxis patterns. The patterns can be used by project managers and other decision makers as a way of discussing temporary organization and how process emerge within the organization today, and how they would like resulting processes to be managed when deviations occur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2012
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 112
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13224 (URN)978-91-7485-049-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-20, Raspen, Smedjegatan 37, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2012-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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Language
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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