Review: Project Management for the Creation of Organisational Value—Ofer Zwikael, John Smyrk

Joan Dobbie
June 29, 2011

Organisations invest in projects with the expectation they will deliver benefits. However, the imperative of delivering benefits is sometimes lost as project managers focus on the ‘goal’ of on time, on budget, ‘fit-for-purpose’ completion.

In Project Management for the Creation of Organisational Value, Ofer Zwikael and John Smyrk suggest that current project management methodologies are flawed because they are preoccupied with deliverables, rather than the delivery of benefits.

In the first two chapters of the book, Zwikael and Smyrk examine current project management methodologies and discuss various issues and criticisms of them, primarily focusing on those raised by the project management research community.

The book identifies seven major shortcomings with existing project management methodologies, including: lack of a method for defining the project’s scope adequately; inadequate, simplistic, governance models; the need for clarity about project accountabilities; and the project manager’s place in the organisational structure.

The authors then propose a Model of a Project (the ‘Input-Transform-Outcome’ [ITO] Model) and use this model to develop a “framework for handling the concept of project success”, which addresses the shortcomings.

Chapters three through eight of the book defines the framework from Starting a New Project, to Planning, Executing and finally Realising the Outcomes. A key element of the proposed framework is its extension of the project lifecycle beyond the completion of deliverables to the realisation of benefits.

This book addresses an important, contemporary, project management issue—how can businesses ensure their projects deliver benefits? It provides a useful overview of some of the issues facing the project management profession in this area and offers a detailed model for addressing those concerns.

However, it seems the book is primarily based on research of project management research literature, with limited reference to how the theoretical shortcomings in the methodologies are addressed by practitioners. One surprising omission from the book is a discussion of the OGC’s Managing Successful Programmes, PRINCE2 and related methodologies, as these methodologies are designed to address the specific issues raised by this book.

Thoroughly researched and well written, the book includes extensive literature reviews, some short cases studies and discussion of the practical issues involved in using the authors’ proposed methods. This book will be useful for students, academics and researchers, particularly those with an interest in current research into project management methodologies.

Project Management for the Creation of Organisational Value
By Ofer Zwikael, John Smyrk
RRP €69,95
Springer website

Author avatar
Joan Dobbie
Joan Dobbie is a highly experienced program and organisation change manager with a passion for helping organisations realise their vision. As the founder of Beyond Strategy Consulting, she works with clients to transform their business by turning vision into practical strategies, successfully executing strategic change and producing outstanding results. Prior to starting Beyond Strategy Consulting, she held senior global and Australian roles at EDS (now HP) where she led a number of major organisational transformations.
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