Department of Management

Rethinking project portfolio management: A case study of a public organization

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Stimulated by recent years’ accelerated interest in project portfolio management (PPM) and reports of its shortcomings in practice, this paper proposes how we may diagnose and rethink exciting PPM practices by utilizing the rethinking project management framework, including two complementary analytical perspectives. One perspective, denoted as classical project management (CPM), highlights key characteristics of traditional PPM research. A second perspective, denoted as rethinking project management (RPM), highlights characteristics of progressive PPM research. Against this background, we diagnose PPM practices in a large public organization and find that organizational top management use the vocabulary and request the values emphasized by the CPM perspective, such as executability, controllability, instrumentality and linearity. However, below top management level, we find managers describing their reality using terms of the RPM perspective; namely uncertainty and complexity. Furthermore, we find that RPM terms such as sociability and multiplicity explain deep-rooted features of the organization’s PPM practices as the organization vastly relies on informal and local adapted PPM practices. Taking into account the limitations of our single case study design, our research shows how an organization, which differs considerably from advise provided by the conventional CPM perspective, and best PPM practices, may be well functioning – or at least, in large, meets the organization’ PPM performance expectations. Thus, our research contributes by showing how an organization, in this case a public, utilizes concepts from the RPM perspective, which provides novel insights to discussions on how we can rethink PPM. In conclusion, our framework support practitioners reflecting on own organizations’ PPM practices, below here displaying how different hierarchical levels’ potentially have different key assumptions
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Human in the project : Dansk Projektledelse
EditorsPer Svejvig, Magnus R. P. Hansen
Place of publicationRoskilde, Denmark
PublisherRoskilde University
Publication year24 May 2018
Article number9
ISBN (print)978-87-980516-1-9
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018
EventFourth Danish Project Management Research Conference - IDA Meeting Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 23 May 201824 May 2018


ConferenceFourth Danish Project Management Research Conference
LocationIDA Meeting Center

    Research areas

  • Project portfolio management, rethinking, diagnose , Project Management, problems, challanges , Public Adminsitration, Public sector

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