Relationship between theory and practice in project management

relationship between theory and practice in project management

The disconnects between the theory and reality of project management. A slide presentation which resulted from collaboration among. A clear understanding of the state of project management practices in theory and five focussing on the similarities and differences between theory and practice . Institute (PMI) and the International Project Management Association (IPMA). Abstract. The aim of this research is to identify learning mechanisms in project management by focusing on relationships between learning processes, dynamic .

Theory serves mostly to guide the way we look at things, by giving a context to think about and solve problems. Remember that project management is mostly an art, not an exact science. As much as you try, there are no equations that can describe and predict events accurately. With the wide amount of information available these days, such as references, papers, etc.

relationship between theory and practice in project management

This can be very dangerous, as no matter how much theory you can gather, it will never replace hands-on experience. And because the world is full of information, it leads people to believe that complexity is a must.

This is another mistake when it comes to practicing project management. All the frameworks, methods and tools are only as good as you make them fit for their purpose.

However the principles are the same, and an experienced project manager will recognise this and adapt. Too often we see large multi-billion programmes with schedule delays, technical problems and cost overruns.

So where is the benefit of all the intensive dedication of the project managers?

Project Management in Theory and Practice: Emotional Intelligence

Ritesh Chugh Pre-print Version: XXX Procedia 00 — www. An information systems project that focused on conversion from a manual system to a computerized system in a restaurant forms the backdrop of this comparison.

This report draws attention to the relevant issues with respect to project management in the conversion from a manual system to a computerized system for a restaurant.

relationship between theory and practice in project management

The findings of the report reveal that the Information Systems department was instrumental in analyzing the needs of the restaurant and then designing, procuring, testing and implementing the new system. The paper also discusses and analyses the application of project management theory in comparison to project planning in the real world.

The paper concludes that there is a match between theory and practice in the project management field. The paper recommends that the factors of performance, time and cost be prioritized at the beginning of the project in order to avoid any unnecessary trade-offs. Also, teamwork is a vital ingredient in the conduct of projects and should be given due consideration by the project manager. Good project management ensures that there are standard processes in place to deal with all contingencies.

Introduction The theory of project management was developed during the Apollo moon-landing project, and has since evolved into a widely applied management discipline. Project management has taken on increasing importance in almost every organization. Projects involve multiple resources, both human and non-human, which require close coordination. It can be hypothesized that adoption of project management practices help to monitor and control both activities and resources. Project success equates to the completion of all project deliverables on time, within budget, and to a level of quality that is acceptable to all stakeholders in a project.

Thus, a pragmatic approach to manage projects becomes important. Good project performance can be ensured with the skilful application of various practices of project management [17].

relationship between theory and practice in project management

In spite of clear goals, a lot of projects have exceeded both budgets and schedules [23], [25]. The importance of project management practices has been presented by [1] and adoption of these practices leads to project success. However outwardly it may appear that what is practiced in reality does not necessarily match theory. The objective of this paper is to analyze the current state of project management theory with the practices employed in the real world.

The paper serves to position the various project management practices; the exploration of which may help to understand theory-reality gap or discover even whether it exists. A clear understanding of the state of project management practices in theory and reality are important to enhance the probability of project success and for project management generally.

The organization chosen as the case to analyze the application of project management practices was a restaurant in a five star hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The aim was to analyze project management practices that were applied when the restaurant undertook conversion from a manual order taking system to a computerized one.

The system was converted from manual to computerized with the Information Systems department of the hotel being the driving force behind the exercise. The surveyed restaurant offers several different styles of dining throughout the day, specialising in a buffet, which offers fresh seafood, Eastern and Western cuisine.

It has a total of covers, including the bar and the lobby lounge. Service aims to be bright, friendly, informative and efficient. The restaurant strives to achieve a level of service that is geared towards the wants and needs of the customer.

In order to improve its service to the customer and for ease of other related report generation procedures, the restaurant changed from its manual system to a computerised Restaurant Management System. Since it was felt that there was a lot of miscommunication of food and beverage order details and a lot of time was utilised in generating relevant food and beverage management reports when operating manually, a computerised system was recommended by the users, represented by the restaurant manager.

The entire synopsis of the manual versus computerised system working details is presented in the next section. This paper is organized as follows. The next section provides details of the information systems project that involved conversion from a manual order taking system to a computerized restaurant management system. Section three identifies key project planning and management issues in theory. Section four focuses on the project management issues faced by the information systems department in implementing this project.

Findings and discussion follow in section five focussing on the similarities and differences between theory and practice and also outlining some areas of improvement that could have helped to improve the management of the project.

The comparison and the case presented in this paper will provide insights into the application of project management practices whilst also providing guidance to students, academics and practitioners. Author name et al. Conversion from a manual order taking system to a computerized restaurant management system There are a number of reasons cited for project failures that include, but not limited to, inexperienced project managers, failure to manage stakeholder expectations, poor leadership, inadequate requirements identification, and lack of communication [5], [19], [26].

In order to better understand the reasons, an analysis of a project has been provided below. The project involved conversion from a manual order taking system to a computerised restaurant management system in the restaurant of a five star hotel. The users role is quite limited in this scenario, as they only recommended a system to the top management, who in turn after getting feasibility reports from the Information Systems manager approved the conversion.

This conversion exercise was monitored and controlled by the Information Systems manager who was designated as the Project Manager for this exercise.

Theory vs. practice: The project management view | Wordpress Aertec

This also relates to the fact that a functional manager can be designated as a project manager too. Details of the case with a view to analyzing the problem, finding a solution, deciding on a technology and the delivered results from the technology have been presented in the following subsections: The Problem Considering that implementing an information system would maximise efficient operations of restaurant coupled with enhanced customer service at the same time, a recommendation for an information system was made by the restaurant manager.

The recommendation, after being duly approved by senior management, was given to the Information Systems department. Since the opening of the restaurant, it had been operating on a manual order taking procedure from the customer.

The waiter would take the order from the customer and give a copy of the food order to the kitchen and a copy of the beverage order to the bar.

relationship between theory and practice in project management

All further additions to the order were regulated and maintained in the same way. Upon completion of a meal, the waiter would calculate the total amount and give the bill to the customer.

IT Project Management Theory vs. Practice

The problems faced were those of messy handwriting for the kitchen staff, time delays, illegible bills, no proper sales recording system, and inadequate analysis for menu improvements and alterations.

Apart from this, the waiters had the repetitive task of running back and forth to the kitchen with the orders. The Solution The new installed system has a touch screen system where the waiters can enter the orders instead of using the previous traditional ways of writing down the orders on paper.

Not only was this touch screen monitor easy to use but also faster as the order got printed instantly to the kitchen where two printers were installed. The same touch screen system used at the beverage counter printed orders to the printer. Based on the cooking tasks, the orders were divided amongst staff in the kitchen automatically.

This division of cooking tasks also helped in minimizing the delays as the tasks of every order were numbered and accordingly prioritized. A touch of a button can generate a computed bill with list of all the items ordered that can be given as a printout to the customers.

A world leader in information technology, MICROS provides complete information management solutions including software, hardware, enterprise systems integration, consulting and support. The scalable nature of the system made it the right choice for the restaurant and it also helps the restaurant operations in being more efficient by increasing speed of service merged with enhanced ease of operations.

The Result All the hither and thither over the manual work of taking orders on paper, and the hassle of running to and fro from kitchen for each order, is duly minimized for the waiters by the touch screen system. Also, chefs in the kitchen do not have to put up with the messy handwriting that is prone to errors. Systematic and timely orders lead to timely delivery of food and customers can concentrate on their meal rather than worry if the bill was added up correctly.

The food and beverage inventory is up to date leaving no room for unaccounted drinks and food thus placing the restaurant manager in more control. The manual work of maintaining the sales statistics which was an arduous task has been simplified by the use of this new system which along with maintaining a tab on the statistics gives information for staff on profitable items so they can recommend high turnover items to the customers.

Adding to these advantages is the linkage of billing system to the inventory which automatically monitors and streamlines inventory levels that makes ordering and receiving process easy. This system allows the restaurant to monitor inventory levels, and streamlines ordering and receiving processes too.

Project planning and management issues in theory Having discussed the problem, its solution, the technology and the results gained by implementing the technology as illustrated by the Information Systems department, the paper now focuses on the issues of project planning as prescribed in theory.

It is not the aim of this paper to identify any particular existing theory that promotes project success however every theory has some basic tenets of project management practice that can be applied universally [21]. Based on this assumption the paper looks at some basic project management practices promoted by various authors [7], [10], [16].

This would further help in comparing theory with reality.

Project management processes and techniques are used to coordinate resources to achieve predictable results. If project management is not totally an isolated science nor an art the chances of success are always Author name et al.

Since projects involve people, the chances of uncertainty and complexity always exist and cannot be adequately controlled. Hence, project management is also partly an art that requires flexibility and ingenuity to succeed. In order to effectively manage a project the adoption of a good project management methodology cannot be undermined. A good project management methodology will be valuable to the project manager in providing a framework that will help to control processes, schedules and budgets and increase the chances of success [18].

The three prime objectives of project management are to meet specified performance within cost and on schedule. It has also been noticed that every project has a life cycle, no matter how much long it may be.

Projects often begin slowly, gather pace utilising significant resources in the middle, and then slow down as the end nears [10]. A life cycle indicates the start and end of something so a project life cycle covers all activities from initiation to closure. In order to help in the comparison the paper looks at the steps of project life cycle in the following paragraphs.

Using a model of a project life cycle is helpful in identifying and understanding a project [3]. It is necessary to briefly look at the concept of project selection before proceeding to the other steps of a project life cycle. Organisations use different procedures to decide which project alternative to implement. Each project alternative will have different costs, benefits and risks.

Rarely are these known with certainty. Thus, the selection of one project alternative can be a difficult task. After the selection of a project, a project proposal is prepared which is a set of documents needed to evaluate a project that is being considered.

Next comes selection of a project manager with the required skills and characteristics to manage a project efficiently and effectively. In certain firms, the functional manger can take up the role of a project manager, if required. It is the job of the project manager to select a team for his project or adapt to the members allocated for the project and extract the best out of his team.

However different types of project require different types of project structures[4]. Planning for the project in terms of identifying and addressing the tasks required for project completion is to be emphasised. The development of preliminary plans is essential because they serve as a basis for the selection of team members, budgeting, scheduling, monitoring and controlling [8].

At this stage, it is necessary to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders involved and the smooth integration of the various inherent activities required to achieve the project objectives. After the planning process, it is necessary to obtain resources with which to perform the work. A budget is a plan for allocating resources.

Thus, a project manager has to develop a budget for the project, which must have the support of senior management. The project manager should be a good negotiator who can negotiate resources for the project; negotiation within the firm should be directed at obtaining the best outcome for the organization [3].

IT Project Management Theory vs. Practice | Management Concepts Perspectives

After budgeting, it is time for the project manager to convert the project plan into an operating time- table allocating time among project tasks.

This conversion is known as scheduling. This timetable serves as a basis for monitoring and controlling project activity. It is a major tool for the management of projects. Also, scheduling is related to the allocation of physical resources because altering schedules can alter the need for resources.