Contextual influences on Project Planning

University essay from KTH/Industriell produktion


The overall aim of  this thesis is create awareness about the importance of linking projects to their historical, organizational and environmental context.

This dissertation concerns the analysis of a project contract developed by a new urban transport company in Bogotá, Colombia, with large and complex settings.

The project was studied during 4 months, using and ethnographic research approach and different qualitative data collection methods, such as formal interviews, archival research and informal meetings. The study involves an inductive process from which discussion is developed from the observation of empirical reality of this particular case study.

The main outcome of the study was to illustrate that tough the impact of contextual variables is difficult to foresee and translate into project management concepts, the analysis of sources of complexity, dynamics and uncertainty in different aspects of the context environment, e.g. legal, political, economical, and cultural, gives a good understanding about the influence of the context dimension in projects. Contextual parameters are often outside the scope of project management, and for this reason, high quality of project planning cannot always compensate for the possible negative effects of these external variables. In addition, the boundaries inside and outside the project’s organization increase the complexity inside the project, and tensions between these boundaries can be of great impact during the project--‐planning phase. This dissertation shows through empirical reality that “o project is an island, they are open systems, with permeable boundaries”(Engwall, 2003).

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