Project Management Research: Trends & Opportunities
Prof. Shankar Sankaran, professor, Organizational Management, University of Technology, Sydney
Prof. Vijay Kanabar, professor & director of project management programs, Boston University, USA
Prof. M. Korgaonker, director general, National Institute of Construction Management & Research (NICMAR), Pune
Prof. Krishna Moorthy, dean, Sunpharma Academy, Vadodara
Prof. L. Ganapathy, designation, National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai
- Methods such as Critical Path Method and Program Evaluation Review Technique are project management techniques that are fast growing redundant, especially in the case of highly complex projects in healthcare, education, employment, and poverty alleviation. The complexity arises not just because there are too many stakeholders and multiple agendas for a single project but also because the interplay of varied forces involving people give birth to stresses that cannot be comprehended by the prevailing dominant research models.
The time has come to study different paradigms which will provide fresh viewpoints. The variables in a given project intertwined with social phenomena are one too many; solutions in such complex scenarios cannot be sought by adopting a mechanistic model. Instead, project management researchers must acquaint themselves with schools of thought that are not reductionist in nature.
- What does it take at a strategic level to deliver or publish journals in project management research? The simple approach of being aware of the paradigm we work in without describing methodologies of research to fellow researchers and improving self reporting are the key to building a research trend. Project management is not a tactical tool but a link between strategy, portfolio, programs, and projects, which are all potential areas of research.
Interactions with project schedules and systems, accompanied by an analysis of management review process, are methodologies to encourage research in project management. Academicians and practitioners need to work together to reinvent research through on-the-job studies and an analysis of project management research papers, especially in areas of project management marketing and project management sustainability.
- The fundamental task is to bridge the gap between the real world and research. Research on software development using agile techniques in project management in a real world perspective is a good start, as agile methods are found to be incompatible with project management practices currently.
Project management as a discipline has matured and a dedicated journal on project management education is essential in today's time.
With the launch of PMI's project management curriculum in India, educators hope to develop project management education significantly by building a knowledge base, which will provide opportunities to conduct research in project management.
- In the current scenario, factors contributing to a project's success are vague, and conceptualization and sustainability of projects need to be reflected on frequently. Scope correction, integration management, and quality frameworks to understand projects, and configuration management require in-depth research.
NICMAR has deliberately remained a post graduate institute to focus primarily on research in project management. We want to know what the industry wants so that we can deliver industry specific solutions through research.
Academic institutes interested in dedicating themselves to research must come together and create a common forum to promote research.
- This idea is similar to the incubator center setup at Boston University with 20 odd companies investing in it to aid research activities at the institute on a continuous basis.
- There is not a single Indian case study being used in academics that depicts successful project management practices. It shows the need for a major initiative to promote project management research. Project management research must also focus on different domains.
Other interesting areas of potential research are the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, study of health and safety environment in projects, project ethics, and project quality.