Projects and Systems Theory

Topics: Project management, Systems theory, Management Pages: 9 (2562 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Projects and Systems theory
“The most pervasive intellectual tradition to project management is without doubt the systems approach”

Table of contents

1.Systems theory3
1.1.Systems definition3
1.2.The characteristics of systems theory3
1.3.The manifestations of systems theory3
1.4.Systems theory principles4
2.Systems approach to project management4
2.1.The key terms4
2.2.System approach to project management5
1.Project systems description6
1.1.Project systems description6
1.2.Time management system7
1.3.Cost management system7
2.The interdependences among the project systems8
2.1.The interdependences among scope, time and cost management systems8
2.2.The interdependences among time, cost and quality management systems8
3.Management tools9
3.1.Project management estimating software9
3.2.Using historical relevant project documents9
4.The external environment9
4.1.Government policies9
4.2.Financial crisis9


1. Systems theory
2.1. Systems definition
Systems now are everywhere in our life, from the solar system to home entertainment systems, from water treatment to national security systems (Auyang 2004). The concept of ‘system’ serves to identify those manifestations of natural phenomena (Laszlo and Krippner 1998), so that it is very important to clarify the systems definition. There were some definitions which were given by many scholars in their study. According to Laszlo and Krippner (1998), ‘system’ is “a complex of interacting components together with the relationships among them that permit the identification of a boundary-maintaining entity or process”. Auyang (2004) also had a similar definition in his study, ‘system’ was considered as an entire consisting of independent elements with complexity. Another definition came from Hamilton (1997). He defined a system as a whole which includes so many parts interrelated together and connected with the external environments. 2.2. The characteristics of systems theory

Hamilton (1997) and Laszlo and Krippner (1998) pointed out some characteristics of system theory: * The whole is more than the sum of the parts and determines the nature of the parts (Hamilton 1997) * Each part is affected by at least one other part in the system, and has an effect on the functioning of the whole (Laszlo and Krippner 1998), so the part are dynamically interrelated and interdependent (Hamilton 1997) * The part cannot be understood without considering the whole (Hamilton 1997) 2.3. The manifestations of systems theory

In his study, Hamilton also mentioned four sections that using systems theory as a fundamental concept: * The philosophy - the way of thinking
* The management - the design and operations of organisations as systems * Analysis - the techniques of problem solving
* The idea of systematic thinking, such as logical, thorough and regular 2.4. Systems theory principles
According to Hamilton (1997), the systems theory had several principles shown as below: * The whole is primary, the parts are secondary
* Connecting the interrelated parts together within one is the condition of integration * The parts so constitute an unified whole that no part can be affected without affecting all other parts * Parts play the important role in the purpose for which the whole exists * The characteristic and function of the part is derived from its position in the whole and its behaviour is regulated by the whole-to-part relationship * The whole is any system or complex or configuration of energy which, no matter how complex, behaves like a single piece * Everything should start at the beginning point with the whole and then involving the parts and their relationship 2. Systems approach to project...
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