Jalali Sohi, Afshin, Marian Bosch-Rekveldt, & Marcel Hertogh (2021, August). Practitioners’ perspectives on flexible project management. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 68(4), 911-925. (doi: 10.1109/TEM.2019.2914833)

Abstract: Literature defines two main streams in project management: mechanistic and organic. Mechanistic reflects the traditional waterfall approach and organic reflects a more adaptive approach. The organic approach became known by the awareness of dynamic project environment and changing requirements. The organic approach is characterized by flexibility. Accordingly, scholars and practitioners tried to define flexibility and find ways to make project management more flexible. However, scientific literature about practitioners’ perspectives on making project management flexible is lacking. Therefore, this paper explores practitioners’ perspectives on project management flexibility by the use of Q-methodology. The scope of the paper was narrowed down to the front-end phase of infrastructure projects. Two types of organizations were targeted: client and consultancy organizations. Data were gathered from 43 respondents from six organizations (three client and three consultancy organizations) in The Netherlands. The results of the study reveal three distinct perspectives on flexibility for both organization types (client and consultant): flexibility by trust, flexibility by scope management, and flexibility by proactive management. These perspectives partly support defined flexibility categories in literature. Further research could focus on exploring the perspectives in different project phases, operationalizing the perspectives in practice, and team composition taking into account these perspectives.

Afshin Jalali Sohi <a.jalalisohi@tudelft.nl> is in the Department of Integral Design and Management, and Marian Bosch-Rekveldt <m.g.c.bosch-rekveldt@tudelft.nl> and Marcel Hertogh <m.j.c.m.hertogh@tudelft.nl> are in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands.