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Conceptual Frameworks Underpinning Project Delivery and Implications for Optimizing Project Outcomes

Executive Summary

The evolution of delivery of projects can be best understood through three primary historic eras: Era 1 – Productivity, Era 2 – Predictability and Era 3 – Profitability. Each era focused on a different aspect of project performance. Collectively, they have had significant influence on how projects are delivered today and form the basis of current trends in thinking about how to improve performance.

Once executive and project professionals being to understand the three-era construct, they quickly want to determine where their organizations stand, and they can optimize the delivery of capital projects and to avoid schedule delays and cost overruns.

Current thinking suggests two primary approaches for the development of a maturity model to determine where the project execution capabilities of an organization are positioned within the framework of the three-era project management construct. First is the more traditional consulting approach which uses a grading system to compare one organization to another based on the adoption of specific elements from each era. The second is based on determining how an organization understands and configures each of the parameters of a project production system.

Project Production Institute (PPI) envisions making available a practical means for organizations to assess the current and future state of their project delivery capabilities. The tool they envision is analogous to the product-process matrix, which is a graphical method to illustrate the processes used to produce those products. A comparable tool for assessing current and desired states for project delivery capabilities will be a fundamental tool for organizations to use in developing their adoption plan for Project Production Management.

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