Toole PM Causal Loop Diagram

Toole PM Causal Loop Diagram - A PROJECT MANAGEMENT CAUSAL...

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T. Michael Toole 1 Accepted for the 2005 ARCOM Conference, London, UK, Sep 5-7. System dynamics principles and analytical tools have the potential to alleviate several deficiencies in current project management analytical techniques. This paper facilitates the integration of system dynamics into project management by providing an overview of system dynamics principles, summarizing the deficiencies in current project management approaches, and presenting a causal loop diagram of a generic project management system. The feedback loops in the diagram explains how what appear to be rational project management actions can lead to unintended and counterintuitive consequences. Keywords: Project management, system dynamics, causal loop diagrams, feedback loops. INTRODUCTION Many large projects do not meet their time and cost goals (Sterman 1992). Moreover, as projects get more complex, as completion time becomes more critical, and as concurrent design and implementation (such as fast-track construction) becomes more prevalent, failure to meet project goals is likely to become increasingly common (Williams 1999). Project manager researchers (Rodrigues and Bowers 1996, Williams 1999, Love et al 2002) have written that one reason project goals are often not met is that the project management concepts and tools used today are too linear and deterministic. The systems in which project management occurs are too complex and volatile and contain too much apparent randomness to be managed effectively by the linear, deterministic tools that focus on one portion of the system at a time. These researchers have suggested that system dynamics concepts and tools, such as causal loop diagrams and detailed models, should be integrated into project management practices to allow project managers to better understand the structure of the system in which project management occurs and consequently better plan and control projects. The integration of system dynamics into project management has not yet happened. This paper attempts to facilitate this integration by presenting a causal loop diagram of a generic project management system that builds on existing literature to illustrate the insights that system dynamics provides. It is intended that the paper be of interest to all project management researchers, not just those interested in construction projects or system dynamics. The examples used throughout the paper are from construction project management, but the concepts and classification schemes apply to all projects. The structure of the paper is as follows. The paper first summarizes system dynamics principles and tools and the criticisms of project management tools made by system dynamic researchers. After briefly examining the limited effort made to integrate project management and system dynamics to date, a project management causal loop diagram is presented. The paper concludes by examining the implications for project managers of multiple feedback loops within project management systems. 1
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2009 for the course EGR 491 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at Michigan State University.

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Toole PM Causal Loop Diagram - A PROJECT MANAGEMENT CAUSAL...

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