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Three Modes of Deviation Handling: Coping with Unexpected Events in Project Management

By: Hallgren, M.; Lillieskold, J.;

2006 / IEEE / 1-890843-14-8


This item was taken from the IEEE Conference ' Three Modes of Deviation Handling: Coping with Unexpected Events in Project Management ' Most of the project management tools suggested in the literature are effective under perfect conditions with unlimited resources. However by definition, projects are neither unlimited in time nor resources, which creates a gap between the perfect conditions and the reality that most project managers and teams face. The case studies that this paper investigates are based on in-depth participative observations, interviews, emails and other written material. The results are rather surprising as project teams do not seem to use methods suggested in the literature when responding to the sudden appearance of unexpected situations, that is; deviations. The cases give an insight into the dynamics of project management and how informal teams are used to increase speed and flexibility. These informal teams could meet when needed in order to discuss and solve problems or changes. Further, in two of the cases, traditional project planning was not used at the top management level to plan and coordinate the projects. Thus, the cases show that the management of projects according to traditional plans is not the only means of making a project successful. Instead, the creation of a flexible organization that can identify, react, and act upon the changes that most likely will occur becomes more crucial in order to be able to successfully deliver the project.