Using vision as a critical success element in project management

Christenson, D and Walker, D 2008, 'Using vision as a critical success element in project management', International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 611-622.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Using vision as a critical success element in project management
Author(s) Christenson, D
Walker, D
Year 2008
Journal name International Journal of Managing Projects in Business
Volume number 1
Issue number 4
Start page 611
End page 622
Total pages 11
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Abstract Purpose - The thesis reported upon in this paper addressed the research question 'How does the effective development and communication of a 'project vision' impact project outcomes?' It outlines the approach, summarizes results and explains the protocols that have been developed from the thesis so that others researching this area may: gain better insights and understanding into how project vision may impact upon project success; and have access to a model and protocols to effectively develop a project vision and effectively communicate it to project stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative research design was selected with multiple case studies. These were conducted within a public service organization using interviews and action learning through testing a developed protocol for team members to develop a coherent and well understood vision for project outcomes. Results were then used to develop a tool for teams to develop a project vision statement in a structured workshop. This approach was then tested through gathering and analyzing participant feedback from the workshop. Subsequent to this initial workshop and the publication of the thesis, the vision development tool has been further validated in both academic class room settings (Masters of Public Administration students) and with senior public servants as part of a project sponsor course offerings. Participants in both groups have commented on the relevance and effectiveness of the tool in creating a value add project artifact: the project vision. Findings - First, the study established that a clear, well-articulated and convincing project outcomes vision that was effectively communicated made a strong and positive impact upon perceived project success. Second, a protocol was developed and thoroughly tested to develop a project vision. This protocol was found to be successful for the projects it was trialed on and reasons for its acknowledged success were explicated. Third, the study highlighted four emergent issues that require further investigation but for the moment may be risks that need to be managed or opportunities to be exploited. These are: the benefits of an incremental or phased approach; the need for sustainment; the necessity of addressing horizontality; and the imperative of vision champions. Practical implications - Project practitioners should find the approach outlined by the protocol model as being valuable to replicate and adapt to their own project context. Originality/value - While the concept of a clear and well-communicated project vision is now well-accepted there are few examples of rigorous thesis that examine how a vision may be best developed and communicated.
Subject Building Construction Management and Project Planning
DOI - identifier 10.1108/17538370810906291
Copyright notice © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN 1753-8378
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