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PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES IN HIGH-TECH SMES IN IRELAND

PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES IN HIGH-TECH SMES IN IRELAND

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES IN HIGH-TECH SMES IN IRELAND By: Alan Murphy, College of Engineering, University of Limerick Ann Ledwith, College of Engineering, University of Limerick Alan Murphy Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Tel: +353-61-213271 Fax: +353-61-213583 E-Mail: [email protected] Ann Ledwith Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Tel: +353-61-202111 Fax: +353-61-213583 E-Mail: [email protected] Corresponding Author: Alan Murphy Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Tel: +353-61-213271 Fax: +353-61-213583 E-Mail: [email protected]
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES IN HIGH-TECH SMES IN IRELAND By: Alan Murphy, College of Engineering, University of Limerick Ann Ledwith, College of Engineering, University of Limerick Abstract Project management is a well-established discipline that defines in detail the tools and techniques that are required to define, plan and implement any project. However, while many researchers have addressed the issues surrounding the management of projects within large firms (White and Fortune (2002); Bryde (2003)) there has not been a lot published to date about the management of projects in small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This paper examines previous empirical studies on Project Management implementation in various industry sectors and the criteria and factors most frequently adopted. The paper also examines the results of a survey distributed to over 100 Owner/Managers of High-Tech SMEs in Ireland that attempts to recognise the general characteristics of projects undertaken by SMEs, the issues they encounter and their opinions on how SMEs can achieve greater efficiency and competitiveness. The results will contribute to the development of a simplified process of Project Management suited to the needs of the SME.
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Introduction Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which range from the dynamic, innovative and growth- oriented to traditional enterprises satisfied to remain static, are imperative to the economy as the engine of economic and social development (Hallberg, 1999). Floyd and McManus (2005) while examining the increasing significance of small firms in the EU, highlighted this by stating that increased importance has been given to SMEs with regards to industrial policy of the EU. According to the European Competitiveness report of 2003, SMEs account for 99 per cent of activity in the EU. The potential threat to existence of SMEs leads to the conclusion they need to increase their competitiveness and quality to match the competition. One innovative step that can enhance the chances of progression in SMEs is the introduction of the process of Project Management. Project management is well established with White and Fortune (2002) describing it as a well developed and well accepted area of professional expertise and an area for academic research aimed at encouraging improvement in a system. Project Management offers a systematic
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