Uncertainty management of projects from the owners’ perspective, with main focus on managing delivered functionality
Journal article, Preprint
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Original versionInternational Journal of Managing Projects in Business. Emerald 2014, 7(1):133-143 10.1108/IJMPB-03-2013-0006
Purpose – This paper aims to report on the work on a doctoral thesis studying uncertainty management of projects. The thesis was in particular studying uncertainty regarding the functionality that the project should deliver. The research also addresses how the project owner’s views and interests are taken care of, and the relation between the project management and the project owner in this uncertainty management. The purpose of the paper is not only to report the research findings and conclusions, but also to give insight into the research process – the researcher’s “journey” in his work with the thesis is described and also some main issues regarding the context of the research. Design/methodology/approach – The research work that is reported on was carried out applying a combined research approach utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data. The research was mainly based on two case studies – one made up of two projects in the railway sector, and one consisting of seven projects in the energy sector. In both the studies, qualitative techniques were applied: interviews, observations and documentation studies. In the study in the energy sector, there was also made a quantitative study using data from the risk registers of the seven projects, with a total of almost 1,500 risk items. Findings – The study shows that the projects’ uncertainty management did not have a project owner’s perspective, but was mainly focused on the success factors of the project management. In the quantitative part of the studies, it was found that a great majority (91 percent) of the risk elements in the projects studied were operational risks, i.e. risks mainly concerning the projects’ operational goals. Also, most of the projects’ risk elements were threats (67 percent). Originality/value – There appears to be a paucity of similar studies of uncertainty management in projects undertaken in the project management research literature. Developing a better focus on the project owner and uncertainty regarding the projects’ effects was found to be the main value of the work.