CAMES: An Approach to Project Management Based on Action Research and the Ideal Speech Situation

CAMES: An Approach to Project Management Based on Action Research and the Ideal Speech Situation

Peter Smith (University of Liverpool, UK) and Olaf Cames (University of Liverpool, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9970-0.ch028
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Abstract

The majority of IT Projects are not successful and fail for non-technical reasons, despite the fact that numerous project management methodologies exist in the marketplace and are now in common use in organisations. As the CHAOS report from Standish Group documents, this remains an important and current issue (Dominguez, 2009; The Standish Group International Inc., 2013). The fact is that for more than 20 years the majority of IT projects have failed; largely as a result of human factors and communication issues. This leads to enormous economic issues for organisations in the public and private sector. This chapter proposes a new approach to project management which addresses the human factor and issues of communication. The proposed approach is novel and applies principles drawn from philosophy and action research to produce an approach which has the potential to radically change the way in which projects are managed. The approach is discussed in terms of practice and the academic literature and is applied to two project simulations.
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Background

This chapter presents an alternative approach to project management, named CAMES (Corporate Action Methodology for Enterprise Systems). CAMES offers project managers an alternative approach to managing complex projects and decision making. It starts from the premise that the really important issues of project management lie within the human factors domain; that projects fail because of issues of communication, politics and emotion.

Projects run into problems because of how people act, how they feel about the project and the way it is progressing; and because of what they say (or don’t say) to other team members. How often have we seen emotion enter the arena of project implementation, with team members debating and arguing issues which on reflection, in the cooler light of day, seem trivial? Yet how often have we seen such emotionally charged conversations take the project to a place of no return, to the edge of chaos, and to a point where the project partners can no longer work together? The CAMES approach sets out to recognise and flag up the early signs of such emotionally charged communication, using simple conversational analysis to recognise when danger approaches. It will then highlight these issues to the project manager, at an early stage while there is still time to intervene, change direction and “save” the project. The proposed system will offer the project team an online environment which supports all project communication, monitors that communication and, in simple terms, “measures” the “heat” in project communications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Project Management: A formalised approach to the management of activities, including a series of procedures and possibly supported by software. The application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives.

Project: A unique endeavour, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which can be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits.

Human Factors: Those factors or organisational issues which relate to, and are the results of the actions of, people; also known as the people factor.

Habermas: A contemporary philosopher who presented theories relating to human communication.

Cloud Computing: A network of remote servers hosted on the Internet which can store, manage, and process data, rather than using a local server or a personal computer.

Quantum Computing: A new approach to computing which is based on a new model of computer. Quantum computers are different from digital computers. Whereas digital computers require data to be encoded into binary digits, each of which is always in one of two definite states (0 or 1), quantum computation uses quantum bits, which can be in different states. A quantum computer is much faster than traditional computers.

Action Research: A collaborative approach to problem solving which involves taking action, and then evaluated the impact of that action, reflecting of it, taking further modified action. Usually takes place in cycles of action with data collection, evaluation and reflection between each cycle.

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