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Recent evolution and future trend of project management - Prof. Soderlund
The Future of Project
• Professor, BI Norwegian Business School
• Professor, KITE, Linköping University
• Educated: Harvard Business School, MIT, and LiU
• Visiting professor/scholar: Cranfield School of
Management, Ecole Polytechnique, MIT
• Core faculty/director: Advanced Project Management,
PMEX Executive MBA, Master of Management
• Research on:
I: P-form organizations and capabilities
II: Human Resource Management in Project-based
III: Project management, knowledge integration and time
• Research with: Astra Zeneca, Saab, Volvo Cars, Volvo
Aero, Tetra Pak, ABB, Skanska, Scania, and Ericsson.
• Cross-national. How is project management
affected by the increasing number of
international projects? How is project
management affected by the increasing
requirements on cross-national cooperation
• Cross-company. How is project management
affected by the increasing need for cooperation
and coordination across firms?
• Cross-disciplinary. How is project management
affected by the increasing requirements on
knowledge integration, coordination across
disciplinary boundaries and knowledge bases?
• The international challenge:
International mergers, international R&D,
• The organizational challenge:
Outsourcing, offshoring, networks, cooperation
across organizational boundaries
• The technological challenge:
Complex systems and technologies, coordination
across disciplinary boundaries, knowledge
The international challenge
• International mergers
• International R&D
• International projects
• International mega projects
• The export of Scandinavian countries has continued to
increase. Today export accounts for more than 50
percent of GDP.
• The share of foreign owned R&D is more than 40
percent, equally the share of foreign R&D by
Scandinavian firms is steadily increasing.
• The number of people employed by foreign companies
is on the rise. In some sectors the rate of change has
been 300 percent during the last two decades.
• Number and importance of international mega projects
are increasing. More local large-scale projects are
carried out by international companies.
The organizational challenge
• Outsourcing and offshoring
• Open innovation and open projects
• Network-based organizations
• R&D carried out by Indian companies for
Western companies have increased by 300
percent in the last 10 years.
• Co-developed projects in the pharmaceutical
industry are more than 25 percent faster than
• Infrastructure projects in 2010 involved five
times as many sub-contractors as in 1990.
• Project alliances and innovative contracting are
used to reduce cost and lead-times.
Low technical complexity of
High technical complexity of
(subcontractors only supplying
components on board)
Few partners involved in a project Many partners involved in a
Low time pressure, long product
High time pressure, short product
High profit margin
Low profit margin
• The increasing clockspeeds in our economy are forcing firms to
launch products more frequently.
• As a result, a larger fraction of the total work in the firm is
project work. In effect, then, the business manager becomes a
project manager or an overseer of project managers. The
premium paid for project management skills and tools is thus
likely to increase.
• Those faster clockspeeds are also forcing companies to
compress their product development cycles.
• A research study at Stanford University found that industry
sectors where the product clockspeed was higher tend also to
have faster organizational clockspeeds.
(Fine, 1998, Clockspeed: Winning Industry Control
in the Age of Temporary Advantage, MIT Press)
Traditional project management
Adaptive project management
Getting the job done on time, on
budget, and within requirements
Getting business results, meeting multiple
A collection of activities that are
executed as planned to meet the triple
An organization and a process to achieve
the expected goals and business results
Plan once at project initiation
Plan at outset and re-plan when needed
Rigid, focused on initial plan
Flexible, changing, adaptive
Predictable, certain, linear, simple
Unpredictable, uncertain, nonlinear,
Minimal, detached after the project is
Affects the project throughout its execution
Identify deviations from plan, and put
things back on track
Identify changes in the environment, and
adjust the plans accordingly
All projects are the same
One size fits all
Adaptive approach: one size does not fit
Two key variables
1. Complete modules,
Phased, Hand-over, PM as
partitioning and planning,
“Separated project organization”
n phases, across
b-system teams, IT
ctrical/Mechanical, PM as
nd-over control and WBS,
hased project organization”
3. Across phases, Complete
PM as partitioning, managing
“Modularized project organization”
Across phases, across systems
M as integration,
oupled project organization”
(cf. Söderlund, 2005)
•Extent of use
Berggren, C., L. Bengtsson, A. Bergek, M. Hobday & J. Söderlund (2011) (Eds.): Knowledge
integration and innovation: critical challenges facing technology-based firms, Oxford: Oxford
Berggren, C., J. Söderlund & C. Anderson (2001): Clients, contractors, and consultants: the
consequences of organizational fragmentation in contemporary project environments, Project
Management Journal. Vol. 32, No. 3:39-48.
Bredin, K. & J. Söderlund (2011): Human Resource Management in Project-based Organizations:
The HR Quadriad Framework, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Dahlgren, J. & J. Söderlund (2001): Managing inter-firm projects: on pacing and matching
hierarchies, International Business Review, Vol. 10: 305-322.
Morris, P., J. Pinto & J. Söderlund (2011) (Eds.): Oxford Handbook of Project Management, Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Söderlund, J. & N. Andersson (1998): A framework for analyzing project dyads: the case of
discontinuity, uncertainty and trust, in R. A. Lundin & C. Midler (Eds.), Projects as arenas for
renewal and learning processes, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Söderlund, J. & F. Tell (2009): The P-Form organization and the dynamics of project competence:
Project epochs in Asea/ABB, 1950-2000, International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 27:
Söderlund, J., A. Vaagaasaar & E. S. Andersen (2008): Relating, reflecting and routinizing:
developing project competence in cooperation with others, International Journal of Project
Management. Vol. 26, No. 5: 517-526.
Söderlund, J. (2010): Knowledge entrainment and project management: the case of large-scale
transformation projects, International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 28, No. 2: 130-141.
Söderlund, J. (2005): Projektledning och projektkompetens: perspektiv på konkurrenskraft, Malmö:
Liber. (“Project management and project competence: Perspectives on competitiveness”). (351 p)