Towards a Theory of Project Management by Professor J RodneyTurner

Towards a Theory of Project Management by Professor J RodneyTurner

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CPMWP 2006-01 Towards a Theory of Project Management Professor J Rodney Turner, Centre for Project Management
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Towards a Theory of Project Management by: Professor J Rodney Turner Professor of Project Management, Centre for Project Management, University of Limerick Abstract The view has been expressed that one thing inhibiting the acceptance of Project Management as a management discipline is the lack of a comprehensive theory, and what theory that does exist is dominated by the systems perspective, which makes Project Management more a branch of engineering than of management. Further, the existing theories are based on a large number of assumptions based on empirical evidence, making the resultant theory only as sound as the empirical evidence on which the assumptions are based. The assumptions also use complex concepts requiring further definition, making the theory only as sound as those definitions. In this paper, I propose a theory of project management based on five simple, natural premises. The premises require no assumptions and use simple, natural concepts requiring no further definition (or in one case concepts deriving from an earlier premise). From the first three premises I show that the concept of project life-cycle, project management life-cycle, all nine of the PMI® Body of Knowledge areas, and some other project management functions are an inherent part of Project Management. I show that the tools required to manage some of the knowledge areas and functions must have certain inherent features. I show that some tools, such as break-down structure, are inherent; some, such as Earned Value Analysis, can be derived from other management disciplines; others, such as Configuration Management and bar-charts, while not inherent have the necessary, inherent features to help manage the related knowledge area or function; while yet others, such as Critical Path Analysis, can only be justified by further assumptions or empirical evidence. I also show that eight roles follow inherently from the three premises. The fourth premise defines the project-based organization, programmes and portfolios of projects, and the fifth introduces other stakeholders. The theory presented does not preclude the existing theories, such as the systems theory. They can be shown to be additional perspectives, also inherent in the first three premises. They can provide valuable additional insights, but they are not an essential part of the theory.
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Introduction I am a member of two research networks taking a fresh look at project management. 1. One is called “Rethinking Project Management”, and is sponsored by the UK Government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It is being led by the University of Manchester. It will be the subject of a special issue of the International Journal of Project Management later this year (Maylor, 2006). 2.
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This note was uploaded on 05/26/2011 for the course PM 199 taught by Professor Dr.atif during the Spring '11 term at University of Engineering & Technology.

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Towards a Theory of Project Management by Professor J RodneyTurner

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