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Managing Complex Industrial Projects: A comparison between holistic models
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Industrial Information and Control Systems.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Even though the management of large projects has been studied for many years, the track record is still poor, especially for those projects developing complex systems. This thesis studies projects such as these and attempts to find clues as to why some succeed while others do not. Among the challenges, is the specific yet basic need to create a shared understanding in a group of hundreds engineering specialists with their own ideas (biases) of how things actually work. Further, complex development projects are likely to change, especially those projects involved with new technologies that should be state of the art when they hit the market after several years of development time. Thus, there is a need for a tool that can be used to adapt to changes.

An important part of this thesis is the evaluation of different diagram systems that have been used in different development projects. These diagrams function as a device to create a shared understanding of the project and enable those involved to maneuver the project through changes. The evaluation focuses on what the diagrams can express and how easy it is to understand their content. In terms of expressiveness, one of the three evaluated models: the Anatomy Model, answers the largest number of questions relevant to the total project manager. In terms of ease of use, the evaluation shows that the Anatomy did not only answer more questions relevant to the total project manager, but was also easier to maneuver through compared to the alternative models. The thesis concludes that when working with complex development projects, a model like the anatomy provides the project manager with a simple tool that can be used to maneuver through changes and create a communal understanding. Such a simplified model addresses more questions that are relevant to the project manager and is easier to update than the traditional tools that are suggested in most literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2005. , 29 p.
Series
Trita-ICS, ISSN 1104-3504 ; 0602
Keyword [en]
Project Management, Complex Project, Anatomy, Dependency Diagrams
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3860OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-3860DiVA: diva2:9747
Public defence
2006-03-07, F3, F, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2010-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. How to manage complex, multinational R&D projects successfully
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How to manage complex, multinational R&D projects successfully
2002 (English)In: Engineering Management Journal, ISSN 1042-9247, E-ISSN 0960-7919, Vol. 14, no 2, 53-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The globalization of markets, mergers of international companies, and integration of managerial and business processes in global corporations are changing project management fundamentals. A clearly recognizable trend in multinational companies since the mid-1980s has been globalization of R & D and competence portfolios. Applied development is usually conducted in the form of a distributed project organization. A project team is formed across geographical, organizational, and cultural boundaries, engaging in a project with a global focus. Although a multinational project organization has great potential in many dimensions, there is no doubt that the execution of a distributed high technological project is still a great challenge. This article identifies success factors in the management of distributed projects with global goals. The authors have focused on the practical experiences of the execution of complex multinational projects in the area of applied system development for power industry.

Keyword
Decision making, Information management, Managers, Mergers and acquisitions, Product development, Research and development management, Societies and institutions, Multinational projects, Project managers
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9013 (URN)
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-01-18 Created: 2006-01-18 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Starting a global project: What is different compared to a "normal" project?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Starting a global project: What is different compared to a "normal" project?
2002 (English)In: Proceedings from Project Management Institute Annual Seminar & Symposium, San Antonio, Texas, 2002Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5386 (URN)
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2010-05-19Bibliographically approved
3. Making project complexity understandable: the elegance of notations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making project complexity understandable: the elegance of notations
2003 (English)In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Management of Technology (IA-MOT), Nancy, France, 2003.: From Information to Knowledge to Competencies: Key Success Factors for Innovation and Sustainable Development. / [ed] Hosni, Y.A., Khalil, T.M., Morel-Guimaraes L., 2003Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5353 (URN)0-9712964-5-6 (ISBN)
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2004-10-28 Created: 2004-10-28 Last updated: 2010-05-19Bibliographically approved
4. Coordinating dependencies in complex system development projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordinating dependencies in complex system development projects
2003 (English)In: IEMC '03: Engineering Management Conference, 2003., 2003, 400-404 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper elaborates on different aspects of dependencies in complex system development projects. The empirical setting of the paper is based on studies of Ericsson and ABB and their tools to manage and coordinate these dependencies. The studied projects have shown that it is crucial to create different pictures or abstractions of the reality in order to make the dependencies apparent to all the involved organizations and individuals. Both of these companies have successfully used something they call dependency diagram. The use of such diagrams makes it easier for the project members to be aware of their contribution in the total system solution. Being aware of which parts of the system you are depending on and which parts are depending on your contribution makes the knowledge transfer easier. The ability to transfer knowledge between the different parts is what in the end will be the crucial step to becoming a successful system developer.

Keyword
large-scale systems, project management, research and development management, ABB management tools, Ericsson management tools, complex system development projects, dependency diagram, development management, knowledge transformation, organizations, project planning
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5387 (URN)10.1109/IEMC.2003.1252302 (DOI)000187837600083 ()
Conference
Engineering Management Conference, 2-4 Nov 2003. Managing Technologically Driven Organizations: The Human Side of Innovation and Change.
Note

QC 20100519

Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2013-05-06Bibliographically approved
5. Coordinating dependencies in global system development projects: the use of dependency diagrams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coordinating dependencies in global system development projects: the use of dependency diagrams
2004 (English)In: Engineering Management Conference, 2004: Proceedings. 2004 IEEE International. Vol.2, 2004, 755-759 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This work addresses the problems that arise in the coordination of complex system development projects. The empirical setting is based on studies at Ericsson and ABB, and the total project manager's instrument to manage and coordinate these projects. ABB used what they called dependency diagrams. Ericsson developed a method they call the anatomy concept. The approaches are used as a complement to the traditional work breakdown structure. The paper evaluates the ability of these notations to address the needs of the total project management. The studies have shown that it is crucial to create compact high-level pictures of the resulting product and its projects in order to make the dependencies obvious to everyone involved (organizations as well as persons). The paper stresses that when developing complex system solutions the traditional diagrams easily become complex and unreadable. Thus, there is a need for supplementing approaches.

Keyword
project management, Ericsson, complex system solutions, coordinating dependency, dependency diagrams, empirical setting, global system development projects, system anatomy concept
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5389 (URN)10.1109/IEMC.2004.1407481 (DOI)2-s2.0-17644403546 (Scopus ID)0-7803-8519-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Engineering Management Conference 18-21 Oct. 2004
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2010-05-19Bibliographically approved
6. Manifesting shared affordances in system development: the system anatomy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manifesting shared affordances in system development: the system anatomy
2005 (English)In: Action in Language, Organisations and Information Systems: ALOIS* Limerick, Ireland. The 3rd International Conference 15–16 March 2005 / [ed] Pär J Ågerfalk, Liam Bannon and Brian Fitzgerald, 2005, 28-47 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In complex systems’ development, it is necessary to understand how things depend on each other in order to plan and control the development task. Ericsson, a major supplier of telecommunication systems all over the world, has successfully used a construct called the system anatomy for this purpose. The anatomy shows, in a compact way, the crucial functional dependencies in the system. Since the anatomy has had a profound practical impact, it is relevant to analyse how this construct can be grounded also theoretically. In this paper, we present such a grounding in which the anatomy and its associated plans are seen as manifestations of affordances. These affordances enable different groups of actors to reconcile their actions. Besides affordances, the theory is grounded in the Russian theory of activity and the Activity Domain Theory. The findings indicate that the suggested theory is a promising socio-technical approach that may complement existing approaches for development of complex systems.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5390 (URN)
Conference
15–16 March 2005
Note

QC 20100519

Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved
7. Managing complex development projects: a case study of the use if the system anatomy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing complex development projects: a case study of the use if the system anatomy
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of Portland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), Portland, USA, 2005., 2005Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the use of a construct called the system anatomy for planning and controlling projects developing complex systems. The anatomy shows, in a compact form, the most crucial dependencies in the system from the perspective of how it ‘comes-to-life’, hence the concept of an ‘anatomy’. The key point in using the anatomy for project planning is to develop and verify the system in the same order as it ‘comes-to-life’. The project plan in made up in three steps. The first step is to define the anatomy itself. This is followed by the group-ing of functions into verifiable integration steps called increments. Finally, regular time and resource plans are made for each increment. Thus, the planning can be characterized as an integration driven procedure. This ap-proach has been used extensively at Ericsson, a leading manufacturer of telecommunication systems world wide. It has proven to be very successful, especially in terms of promoting communication and developing a shared under-standing about the project.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5391 (URN)
Note
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2010-07-14Bibliographically approved

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