Applying Pattern Theory in the Effective Management of Virtual Projects

Applying Pattern Theory in the Effective Management of Virtual Projects

Ilze Zigurs (University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA) and Deepak Khazanchi (University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-110-0.ch022
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Abstract

The management of virtual projects is fundamentally different from that of traditional projects. Furthermore, the research in this area comes from different reference disciplines and perspectives, and a unified view or theory of best practices does not yet exist. We use the theoretical frame of patterns to propose a unified view. We focus on three concepts as the underlying theoretical elements for identifying patterns of effectiveness in virtual project management: (a) coordination, (b) communication, and (c) control. As a first step in the identification of specific patterns, we conducted a series of virtual focus groups with participants from industry who had real experience with virtual projects. The brainstorming data from the focus groups were analyzed to develop an initial set of patterns. Based on this first step, we also present a structured process for the discovery and continuing validation of patterns of effectiveness in virtual projects, and discuss the issues involved in applying the process.
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Theoretical Foundation

The management of virtual projects is a complex phenomenon, and the relevant theory and concepts that govern that phenomenon come from different domains. We begin with a definition of key concepts in order to set the boundaries for the specific study that is described here. First, projects are defined and characterized in terms of a parsimonious typology. Second, virtuality is defined, and the role and nature of technology are developed. Third, key factors for managing virtual projects are presented. Fourth, the concept of patterns is defined. Each of these separate pieces is built on existing literature and presented in the context of our overarching theoretical frame.

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