International Journal of Project Management 26 (2008) 38–43 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijproman
Organisational project management: An historical approach to the study of PMOs
Monique Aubry *, Brian Hobbs 1, Denis Thuillier
Received 3 August 2007; accepted 9 August 2007
` ´ ´ ´ Universite du Quebec a Montreal Business School, Department of Management and Technology, Montreal (Quebec), Canada, H3C 3P8
Abstract This paper aims at providing a grounded theoretical foundation on which to base a better understanding of organisational project management. This paper delivers empirical evidence that project management oﬃces (PMOs) and organisational project management can be understood as part of an historical process within an organisational context, departing from the traditional boundaries of positivist project management theory. The history of PMOs in four organisations is documented and analysed. The evolution of the organisations and their PMOs is punctuated with events, tensions and changes. An historical process provides a better basis for the development of a theory on PMOs and more globally on organisational project management. Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Keywords: PMO; Organisational project management; History; Process approach
1. Introduction Rethinking project management! This paper is aligned with the present vitality found in the movement to rethink the ﬁeld of project management . The project management research literature is opening up to new paradigms departing from the more traditional positivist approach. There are already propositions on the table to build new theories of project management [2,3]. Theorizing project management at the organisational level is also being pursued [4,5]. However, an integrating link at the organisational level that would integrate all parts of project management as a true ﬁeld of organisational management is still missing. We argue that
References:  Maylor H. Special issue on rethinking project management (EPSRC network 2004–2006). Int J Project Manage 2006;24(8):635–7.  Andersen ES. Toward a project management theory for renewal projects. Project Manage J 2006;37(4):15–30.  Turner RJ. Towards a theory of project management. In: Ou L, Turner RJ, editors. Proceedings of IRNOP VII Project Research Conference. Beijing: House of Electronics Industry; 2006.  Artto KA, Wikstrom K. What is project business? Int J Project Manage 2005;23(5):343–53.  Crawford L. Developing organizational project management capability: Theory and practice. Project Manage J 2006;37(3):74–86.  Aubry M, Hobbs B, Thuillier D. A new framework for understanding organisational project management through PMO. Int J Project Manage 2007;25(4):328–36.  Hobbs B, Aubry M. A multi-phase research program investigating project management oﬃces (PMOs): The Results of Phase 1. Project Manage J 2007;38(1):74–86.  Hobbs B. The multi-project PMO: A global analysis of the current state of practice, A White paper prepared for Project Management Institute. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute; 2007.  Bredillet CN. Investigating the future of project management: A coword analysis approach. In: Ou L, Turner RJ, editors. Proceedings of IRNOP VII Project Research Conference. Beijing: House of Electronics Industry; 2006.  Williams T. Assessing and moving on from the dominant project management discourse in the light of project overruns. IEEE Trans Eng Manage 2005;52(4):497–508. ´  Midler C. L’auto qui n’existait pas. Paris: Inter Editions; 1994.  Van de Ven AH. Engaged scholarship: Creating knowledge for science and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.  Strauss A, Corbin J. Basics of qualitative research: Technics and procedures for developing grounded theory. 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1998.  Pettigrew AM. Innovative forms of organizing: Progress, performance and process. In: Pettigrew AM, Whittington R, Melin L, Sanchez-Runde C, Van den Bosch FAJ, Ruigrok W, et al., editors. Innovative Forms of Organizing. London UK: SAGE Publications; 2003. p. 331–51.  Chandler Jr AD. Strategy and structure. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1962.  Mintzberg H. Mintzberg on management: Inside our strange world of organizations. New York: The Free Press; 1989.  Van de Ven AH, Garud R. The co-evolution of technical and institutional events in the development of an innovation. In: Baum JAC, Singh JV, editors. Evolutionary Dynamics of Organizations. New-York: Oxford University Press; 1994. p. 425–43.  Schumpeter J. Capitalism, socialism, and democracy. 3rd edition. New York: Harper & Row Publishers; 1950.  Massini S, Lewin AY, Numagami T, Pettigrew AM. The evolution of organizational routines among large Western and Japanese ﬁrms. Research Policy 2002;31(8-9):1333–48. ´ ´  Morgan G. Images de l’organisation. Quebec: Presses de l’Universite Laval; 1989.