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  • 1.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Gällstedt, Margareta
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Hällgren, Markus
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Project as practice: making project research matter2006In: Proceedings of IRNOP VII project research conference, Beijing: China Publishing House of Electronics Industry , 2006, p. 540-549Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Project theory is not only an immature field of research, it is insubstantial when it comes to understanding what is really going on in projects. This paper contributes to making project research matter to the academic as well as the practitioner through the theoretical development of a project-as-practice approach, aligned with an ongoing debate in social science research. We outline the framework of project-as-practice and argue that there are two major challenges to the researcher: the relevance challenge and the pattern challenge. We suggest how these challenges can be met and give some examples of earlier studies that have done so. The practice approach is not a substitute to present theorizing but rather a complement that brings substance. Finally, underlying notions of the practice approach are outlined in order to have a fruitful future development of a project-as-practice approach that makes project theory matter!

  • 2.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    et al.
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Hällgren, Markus
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Development of Virtual Teams and Learning Communities2005In: Recent Research Developments in Learning Technologies: Proceedings m-ICTE2005 / [ed] Méndez Vilas A., Gonzalez Pereira B., Mesa González, J. och Mesa González, J.A., Badajos, Spain: Formatex Research Center, 2005, Vol. III, p. 1184-1189Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Students of an Internet based course in project management worked during a 20 week period in teams of 4-6 persons. The course consisted of Swedish students living in Sweden or abroad which made it impossible for many of the teams to have any face-to-face interaction. During the course the teams were assigned to a series of discussion questions and cases. The study, based on a survey of 287 students who participated in the course, examined their experience of teamwork and showed that many of the classical team development issues also evolve in a virtual team. Furthermore, the study showed that students considered their teamwork was efficient and that being able to communicate, discuss and share experiences was essential for developing a positive learning community.

  • 3.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    et al.
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Dept of Business Administration, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden .
    Hällgren, Markus
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Dept of Business Administration, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden .
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Dept of Business Administration, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden .
    Development of virtual teams and learning communities2006In: Collaborating virtually: concepts and applications / [ed] Tripathy, K., Punjagutta, India: Icfai University Press, 2006, p. 121-131Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Students of an Internet based course in project management worked during a 20 week period worked in teams of 4-6 persons. The course consisted of Swedish students living in Sweden or abroad, which made it impossible for many of the teams to have any face-to-face interaction. During the course, the teams were assigned a series of discussion questions and cases. The study, based on a survey of 287 students who participated in the course, examined their experience of teamwork and showed that many of the classical team development issues also evolve in a virtual team. Furthermore, the study showed that students considered their teamwork was efficient and that being able to communicate, discuss and share experiences was essential for developing a positive learning community.

  • 4.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    et al.
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Hällgren, Markus
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
    Project-as-practice: in search of project management research that matters2010In: Project Management Journal, ISSN 8756-9728, E-ISSN 1938-9507, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 5-16Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research on projects is not only an immaturefield of research, but it is also insubstantial whenit comes to understanding what occurs in projects.This article contributes to making projectmanagement research matter to the academic aswell as to the practitioner by developing a projectas-practice approach, in alignment with theongoing debate in social science research.The article outlines a framework and argues thatthere are two major challenges to the researcherand also suggests how these challenges can bemet. Underlying notions of the practice approachare outlined to ensure a development of theproject-as-practice approach that makes projectmanagement research matter!

  • 5.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    et al.
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Hällgren, Markus
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
    Project-as-practice: in search of project management research that matters2012In: IEEE Engineering Management Review, ISSN 0360-8581, E-ISSN 1937-4178, Vol. 40, no 3, p. 88-103Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Brinkfeldt, Niklas
    et al.
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Förstå mig rätt: tydligare tentamen för lärares och studenters skull2015In: Universitetspedagogiska konferensen 2015: Gränslös kunskap. Program, Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2015, p. 15-17Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Hällgren, Markus
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Project management practice: making project management research matter2006Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Project theory is not only an immature field of research, it is insubstantial when it comes to understanding what is really going on in projects. This paper contributes to making project research matter to the academic as well as the practitioner through the theoretical development of a project-as-practice approach, aligned with an ongoing debate in social science research. We outline the framework of project-as-practice and argue that there are two major challenges to the researcher: the relevance challenge and the pattern challenge. We suggest how these challenges can be met and give some examples of earlier studies that have done so. The practice approach is not a substitute to present theorizing but rather a complement that brings substance. Finally, underlying notions of the practice approach are outlined in order to have a fruitful future development of a project-as-practice approach that makes project theory matter!

  • 8.
    Hällgren, Markus
    et al.
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Project management practice: the activities of coordination in a meeting2006In: Proceedings of IRNOP VII project research conference, Beijing: China Publishing House of Electronics Industry , 2006, p. 526-539Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Is it really the case that more than half of a work day is lost to meetings? In this paper we have analyzed one meeting in a software company in terms of the activities of coordination. The framework of the paper relies firmly on a project-as-practice approach which focuses on practitioners, their actions and what shapes norms and beliefs. The findings suggest that there are above all two patterns of coordination present during the meeting; informal and formal coordination. These patterns in turn are continuously interacting - implying a constant exchange between local practice and accepted practices, here represented by the project plan. The implications of the paper are several both for researchers and project practitioners. Finally, is half the workday lost? Peter Drucker, we regret to say: No it is not!

  • 9.
    Hällgren, Markus
    et al.
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Blomquist, Tomas
    Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Mid-Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
    Relevance lost! : a critical review of project management standardisation2012In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, E-ISSN 1753-8386, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 457-485Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze the consequences of the diffusion of generic project management knowledge.

    Design/methodology/approach: This paper is conceptual in its nature, using short examples of four different areas (education, research, certification and practice) to show the diffusion of project management knowledge throughout these areas.

    Findings: In this paper the authors argue that relevance may be lost at two levels. The first loss occurs when the practice of project management is transferred, through generalisation and standardisation, into what is generally known as “Best Practice”. The second occurs when “Best Practice” is transferred back to where it is applied (education, research, certification and practice).

    Research limitations/implications: The risk of losing relevance has consequences for what one bases one's assumptions of the nature of projects upon. If the assumptions are based on standardized knowledge, without critically assessing its correctness, the likelihood of producing less relevant research is higher.

    Practical implications: With the risk of losing relevance the authors argue that anyone involved in the areas of education, research, certification and practice needs to be cautious of how they perceive and work with the standards. There is a risk that the knowledge becomes even less relevant and students and practitioners are therefore less prepared for reality.

    Originality/value: This paper is part of the literature critiquing the standardization of project management knowledge but it is distinct in terms of how the diffusion processes are perceived and utilized in a project setting.

  • 10.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskaplig fakultet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet.
    Projektledning i korta projekt: Observationer av projektledares arbete i multiprojektmiljö2004Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    As most of the project management models were developed for larger projects, there is a lack of understanding of what project managers in short duration projects do. Short-duration projects are projects in multi-project environments lasting for a number of weeks rather than a number of months. Even if they are common today, short-duration projects have not yet attracted the interest of project researchers. The present study aims to analyze what the project managers in short duration projects do and to develop a method for studying the project managers at work.

    A theoretical framework is built on earlier studies of managers’ work, suggesting three areas having impact on the project manager’s work. The impacting areas are the project, the project manager’s experience, and the organizational context of the project. The project manager and the assisting project manager were studied while managing a sub-project in a greater telecom system project. The project managers were studied one week each using participant observation and interviews. The findings indicate that much of the time at work was spent in meetings of different kinds, to deal with change, and to guard the production teams from being disturbed by changes in the environment. It was also found that studying a multi-project environment from the sub-project’s perspective gives a different view on multi-project environments that have earlier been presented as the project managers in the short-duration project constantly have to adjust to changes, inputs and demands from the surrounding projects and functional organizations. In the end some proposals on directions for further studies of managers of short-duration projects are made. 

  • 11.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå universitet, Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE), Umeå, Sweden.
    Projektledning i praktiken: Observationer av arbete i korta projekt2008Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Project management used to be described as rational and well structured - a notion that builds on a traditional view that project management is about planning, budgeting and controlling. Nevertheless, it has been questioned if this is a full description. Even though project management techniques were developed for large projects, those techniques and models are used today in small projects of short duration - projects that are quite dissimilar to the large ones. The present study takes a practice perspective to investigate what project managers do when they lead such short projects. Its observations and interviews are used to analyze what happens in the everyday life of project managers. Using classical managerial behaviour studies as a foundation, seen through a practice perspective lens, the study finds that the work of project managers in a software development project is fragmented – their time is filled with formal and informal meetings of different kinds and efforts to resist disturbances in the project.

    Three challenges were found in the project manager’s work. The first was to Understand: to create meaning. The plans were clearly defined at the start of the project but as the goals were later re-defined, it was scarcely possible to finalize them before delivery. Contrary to the traditional view that plans are inflexible, these plans were discussed, negotiated and interpreted throughout the project. This was the continuous work of creating both meaning in the plans and a common understanding of the project.

    The second challenge was to Order/coordinate: to manage resources. The project manager reacted to emerging issues rather than acting to prevent things from happening. These reactions led to creative ways of managing and finding solutions to problems. One important way of managing new or changed conditions was to reorganize resources to cover the needs of different teams. The meetings played a central role in this work as arenas for negotiating resources, which became especially evident in times of stress or high workload.

    The third challenge was to Make it in time: to manage time. Time is a central aspect of project management as projects are temporary organizations; they have a beginning and an end. Previous research has found a point in time, in the middle of a project, when the team starts to feel pressured and stressed about meeting their deadlines. For project managers there is always a struggle to manage time, as dates for delivery are one of the things in a project that are not negotiable. In short-duration projects where projects follow each other seriatim, there is an almost constant feeling of urgency; stress and pressure. The project manager used experiential data to determine and plan the amount of time that would be needed to manage changes in the project, intending that the slack created would enable the project to deliver on time. Although changes and deviations were expected, the project manager rarely knew beforehand what they were or when they would come.

    The three challenges, previously described as separated from each other, were observed to be all managed simultaneously. The site, the practitioner and the practices influence daily work practice.

  • 12.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Team development in environments of simultaneous, short time projects2002Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    The Change Masters: Project Managers in Short-Duration Projects2004Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Handelshögskolan, Umeå universitet, Umeå, Sweden.
    The change masters: Project managers in short-duration projects2005In: Project Perspectives, ISSN 1455-4186, Vol. 27, no 1, p. 42-45Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Brinkfeldt, Niklas
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    The analyzing and reflecting student: a matter of course design2015Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 16.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Söderholm, Anders
    Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    From Blueprints to maps in project management2005Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Nilsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Wilson, Timothy L.
    Umeå School of Business, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
    Reflections on Barry W. Boehm's "A spiral model of software development and enhancement"2012In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business/Emerald, ISSN 1753-8378, E-ISSN 1753-8386, Vol. 5, no 4, p. 737-756Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review the content, contributions and subsequent developments of the seminal paper by Barry Boehm, “A spiral model of software development and enhancement” written in 1988. The relationships of this paper to software development, agile projects, real options and present practice are put into perspective.

    Design/methodology/approach: Basically an essayist approach is taken. First, the contents of Boehm's paper are reviewed and then associated with subsequent developments.

    Findings: Review of the paper as published represents a documentation of cutting‐edge software development as it existed at the time. Fundamentally it suggests the viability of a non‐linear, customer‐influenced, development approach.

    Practical implications: This basic approach illustrated in the spiral model of course has found its way into complex project approaches and management.

    Originality/value: This paper follows the lines of increasing attention to classics, which is the purpose of this special issue of the journal. In particular, attention is called to the transition of thought on projects and project management from supplier‐oriented, linear processes to customer/client‐influenced, non‐linear ones.

1 - 17 of 17
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