ARTICLE ARCHIVE

ARTICLES 2019

DETERMINING THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGY SELECTION IN AFRICA

M L Barry, Herman Steyn, Alan C Brent

The supply of sustainable energy is crucial for sustainable development in Africa. The aim of the study summarised in this paper is the identification, and prioritisation, of the factors that must be taken into account when selecting the most sustainable technological systems in the African context, by applying the Delphi technique. The questionnaire of the first round was based on factors already identified during a focus group exercise with energy experts. The Delphi participants were required to comment on the factors, add new factors, and rate all the factors. The results were fed back during the second round where respondents were again asked to rate the factors for feasibility, desirability, and importance.
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DEVELOPMENT OF A PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY FOR THE CONSULTING ENGINEERING INDUSTRY

J.T. Labuschagne, H. Steyn

Abstract
This paper describes the characteristics of a project management methodology that is currently used in the consulting engineering industry in South Africa. Based on currently-used methodologies in other industries, and on a Delphi survey conducted in several consulting engineering companies, guidelines for a project management methodology for the consulting engineering industry are proposed. Respondents of the survey were in full agreement on typical project life cycle phases. They were also in agreement that a lack of project management knowledge and maturity prevents the successful implementation of such a methodology in a company.
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EFFECT OF SCOPE READINESS ON CAPITAL PROJECTS IN MINING: A NAMIBIAN CASE STUDY

T.S. Kagogo, H. Steyn

Abstract
Although project scope definition is regarded as a key element in successful project management, research on the subject is sparse. This paper investigates the relationship between project scope readiness and project performance in the Namibian mining industry. A survey was done on ten projects from seven Namibian mining companies, using the project definition readiness index (PDRI) tool as a scope definition indicator, while cost and schedule performance were used as performance indicators.
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THE MEGAPROJECT SPONSOR AS LEADER

Willem Louw, Jan Wium, Herman Steyn, Wim Gevers

Abstract

The importance of the sponsor role, including its contribution to the success or failure of a project, is widely recognised in the project management literature. References to the sponsor’s leadership, and the substantial component it represents in the profile of the sponsor, are equally prevalent in the literature reviewed. A megaproject is a large-scale, complex venture that typically costs US$1 billion or more, takes many years to develop and build, involves multiple public and private stakeholders, is transformational, and influences millions of people. Executive sponsors are primarily allocated to projects of strategic importance that are complex, carry a considerable degree of risk, and are very visible. A megaproject is thus entitled to a sponsor from the executive (most senior) ranks within an organisation.
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THE ROLE PLAYED BY PMOs IN THE TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE BETWEEN PROJECTS: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Brighton Tshuma, Herman Steyn, Corro Van Waveren

Abstract
Projects are unique, temporary structures that produce unique knowledge. For organisations to gain competitive advantage, this knowledge needs to be transferred effectively between projects. Knowledge transfer across projects is thus an important and decisive competitive factor. However, project teams typically focus on short-term project goals, and often fail to regard capturing and transferring project knowledge between projects as important for the long-term benefit of the organisation.
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ARTICLES 2017

EXPLORING THE USE OF COMPUTER MEDIATED VIDEO COMMUNICATION IN SOUTH AFRICAN ENGINEERING PROJECTS

I.P. Meyer , T.J. Bond-Barnard, H Steyn, J Jordaan

It is widely accepted that project leaders should adapt their behaviour to meet the unique leadership demands of a variety of situations. Recently, vertical and shared (horizontal) leadership has gained prominence, especially in project management literature. Several factors are believed to play a role in determining an appropriate balance between these two leadership styles. This study explores the influence of project types, the stage in the project life cycle, organisational project management maturity and the level of trust and collaboration between project team members on the appropriate balance of leadership styles in projects.
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ARTICLES 2016

EXPLORING THE INFLUENCE OF INSTANT MESSAGING AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ON THE QUALITY OF PROJECT COMMUNICATION

Taryn Bond-Barnard, Lizelle Fletcher and Herman Steyn

Growth in computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies such as instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing (VC) has led to a need to explore the utilisation and influence of these tools on the quality of project communication, which must still be established. This article reports the results of a survey conducted among 210 project practitioners using CMC in various industries to determine how, why and what each medium is used for, and how these media influence factors that promote quality communication. Some results showed that the use of both instant messaging and video conferencing in projects is moderate.
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THE EFFECT OF A PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE ON PROJECT AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE: A CASE STUDY

Jaco van der Linde and Herman Steyn

Depending on the specific needs of the host companies, Project Management Offices (PMOs) are created and mandated for different reasons. As a result of varying mandates and functions of PMOs, there is no agreed upon method to determine the value of a PMO. By studying a case of an organization that recently implemented a PMO, this paper provides some insight on ways to determine the value of a PMO. Three new methods of determining the value of PMO are proposed.
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THE USE OF EARNED VALUE MANAGEMENT FOR INITIATING DIRECTIVE PROJECT CONTROL DECISIONS: A CASE STUDY

Ntokozo H. Nkiwane, Werner G. Meyer, Herman Steyn

Abstract
With large infrastructure backlogs in Africa, well-controlled projects will play a significant role in African infrastructure development. In this paper, the monitoring and/or directive use of Earned Value Management (EVM) is investigated and linked to project management maturity. This case study also investigates the use of EVM based on the financial and schedule risk distribution among project role players, and the effect of EVM on project performance. The results show minimal use of EVM in the directive control of projects; at best, the directive use of EVM is found to be implied rather than deliberate and methodical.
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ARTICLES 2015

CHARACTERISTICS OF MATRIX STRUCTURES, AND THEIR EFFECTS ON PROJECT SUCCESS

R. Schnetler, H. Steyn & P.J. van Staden

This paper investigates the characteristics of matrix structures and their relationships with drivers of project success, such as communication, collaboration, and trust between project team members. Matrix characteristics that were expected to correlate positively with project success mostly did correlate with the success drivers. However, characteristics expected to impact negatively on project success did not show such significant correlations; some even correlated positively with success drivers.
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CONCURRENT PROJECTS: HOW MANY CAN YOU HANDLE?

H. Steyn & R. Schnetler

The number of projects a person can handle simultaneously is a relevant factor in strategic planning and in project portfolio management. Internationally the de facto standard seems to be that a person should not work on more than two or three projects simultaneously; but several factors could influence this figure. Empirical evidence indicates that, in some South African sectors, people tend to work on many more than two or three projects simultaneously. In this paper, factors that influence the number of projects a person can work on are identified so that they can be investigated in further studies.
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CORPORATE STRATEGY AND PROJECTS – MIND THE GAP

Herman Steyn

Abstract

A model that links the management of individual projects to corporate strategy is used as the basis for identifying typical shortcomings in the processes that synchronize projects with corporate strategy. The processes that link projects to strategy include project screening, project portfolio design and project prioritization, as well as overall scheduling of key resources and projects. A list of typical shortcomings in practice is presented to guide organizations in improving their internal processes. The list can also serve as a basis for future case study research in industry. A project management office (PMO) as well as a person with the role of project portfolio manager can contribute significantly to managing the processes that link strategy to individual projects.
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HISTORY OF PM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA

Education and project management skills development training at the University of Pretoria has a long history; the discipline was already well established in the Department of Civil Engineering in the 1980s. Project management is a multi-disciplinary field of study and, as a credible, large multi-disciplinary university, it was recognized that the University of Pretoria is ideally suited to lead in this field.

While short courses had been offered before, a more comprehensive (16 to 20 days on campus) continuing education program, the PPM, was launched in 1997 and was later supplemented by a more advanced programme with similar duration for people who completed the PPM successfully. In January 1999 the MPM (Masters in Project Management) programme was launched. This programme obtained the accreditation of the Global Accreditation Center of the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2008 and it is currently still the only programme on the African Continent with this status. While the MPM is specifically aimed at graduate engineers and scientists, the PPM benefits from the MPM as the PPM is to a large extent taught by the same lecturers.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR PROJECT TRUST, COLLABORATION AND SUCCESS

Taryn Jane Bond-Barnard and Herman Steyn

This paper reports on a survey with 160 respondents that explores whether the perception of practitioners involved in projects in developing countries – regarding variables of an existing model that predicts trust, collaboration and success in a project – differ from those of their counterparts in developed countries. The results of a Mann-Whitney U test indicate that the model of project management success, verified in previous research, is applicable to both projects in developing and developed countries. The main finding of the study is that proximity (the extent to which a practitioner is co-located with his team members) is greater for developing countries than for developed countries.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING COURSE POPULAR BEYOND THE BORDERS OF SOUTH AFRICA

The University of Pretoria contributes significantly to the development of project management skills in other African countries.

A number of people from other African countries are enrolled on the 4th intake of the 20-day project management training course, the Programme in Project Management (Referred to as PPM 4 of 2015).

Countries represented include:

Zimbabwe (3 people – including one from the World Bank)
Malawi
Namibia
Ethiopia (from the African Union Commission)
Nigeria
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ARTICLES 2014

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION AND GATE REVIEWS OF TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION PROJECTS

B. Binneman and H. Steyn

Abstract

This paper describes appropriate project selection criteria and gate review-point criteria for government agencies that fund technology innovation projects in South Africa. Data was gathered via a Delphi survey in which seven expert respondents participated. The most significant project selection criteria and relevant gate reviewing criteria were established. The proposed basic framework consists of fourteen selection criteria, their associated weights, and forty relevant gate reviewing criteria. Commercial risk and feasibility was considered the most important criterion, followed by the team’s skills and competence in second place.
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ARTICLES 2013

ESTABLISHING PROJECT MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING RESETTLEMENT PROJECTS

W.J. Human and H. Steyn

Although millions of people globally are displaced annually, resettlement has a poor history for achieving the objective of leaving people who are resettled ‘no worse off after project implementation than before’. While excellent guidelines and policies for resettlement have been established, resettlement/displacement projects still do not succeed in resettling affected peoples in a way that they are eventually better off. Consensus was reached by a Delphi panel of experts on a set of guidelines for resettlement projects.
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ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGIC DRIVERS AND CORE COMPETENCIES APPLIED IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN MINING SECTOR

FC de Jager & H Steyn

This paper compares the organisational strategic drivers of a South African mining house with those of industries abroad. It furthermore compares the key competencies or capabilities of the mining house with those of the overseas industries. A Delphi panel comprising of fourteen experts - with a combined experience base of over 240 years - provided the data. The strategic drivers as well as the key competencies of the South African mining house showed marked similarities to industries such as petrochemical and engineering & construction industries abroad.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES

Management in general is often described as planning, organizing, leading and control. Project management draws heavily on general management and utilises many of the principles of general management. However, project management differs from general and other types of management to allow focus on schedule, budget and quality of the deliverables, to deal with the complexity inherent to projects and to provide the flexibility required by projects.

Effective project management not only necessitates the use of the powerful tools and techniques that have been developed, but also requires a disciplined team and first-rate leadership on the part of the project manager.

An important difference between project management and other forms of management is that a project has a definite start and a well-defined end. That necessitates project initiation and project closure.
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PROSPERUS REPORT - THE AFRICAN EDITION

Project Management South Africa, December 31, 2013

Authors: Carl Marnewick, Les Labuschagne, Herman Steyn, Mariki Eloff, Dr Peter Tobin

Despite the facts that projects are indispensable for economic development, and that corporate and national strategies are implemented by way of projects, the success rate of projects remains dubious. Project management maturity of organizations is normally measured on a 5-point scale that ranges from Level 1 (little or no formal process) to Level 5 (optimized processes; measured and continually improved upon). The Prosperus Report 2008 described the results of an extensive survey that determined the organizational project management maturity in South African IT organizations, as well as the success of the related IT projects.
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THE APPLICATION OF EARNED VALUE MANAGEMENT TO MANAGE PROJECT COSTS WITHIN THE SOUTH AFRICAN MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR

D Pillay, H Steyn, J Sommerville

If not managed properly, the cost of South African municipal infrastructure projects could represent a major financial burden on the country’s fiscus. Cost management on these projects is therefore a significant parameter that needs to be managed appropriately. Earned Value Management (EVM) is a control tool that integrates project budget and schedule in a single monitoring and control mechanism that has potential to improve overall project performance in this sector. However, it is necessary to first investigate factors that would lead to increased acceptance of EVM within the sector.
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THE EVOLUTION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Project managers have been known as prima donnas: Dynamic, assertive people who understood the art of sticking to tight schedules and budgets. While projects still attract energetic people who like challenges and diverse work experiences, the prima donna status of project managers is gradually changing and their role demystified as project management becomes an established vocation and as companies increasingly develop standardized methodologies for managing projects.

When the term ‘project management’ was coined in the 1950s the emphasis was entirely on scheduling, budgeting and control. In 1981 when, as a young engineering manager, I first studied project management at the University of Pretoria, the emphasis was still to a large extent on scheduling, budgeting, control and project information systems (that ran on main- frame computers).
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THE IMPACT OF A CALL CENTRE ON COMMUNICATION IN A PROGRAMME AND ITS PROJECTS

Taryn Jane Bond-Barnard, Herman Steyn, Inger Fabris-Rotelli

Call centres are increasingly being utilised in public sector programmes to facilitate and manage communication between numerous stakeholders. Yet, the impact of call centres on projects has not been investigated. This paper reports on a survey with 92 respondents that assessed the impact of a call centre for a repair and maintenance programme. An empirically verified model is presented to illustrate the relationship between call centre communication and project performance.
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THE PROGRAMME BENEFITS OF IMPROVING CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION IN ITS PROJECTS USING A CONTACT CENTRE

Taryn Jane Bond-Barnard and Herman Steyn

A contact centre (a.k.a. call centre) is used to facilitate and manage communication in a South African national programme to repair government infrastructure. An important question is how the contact centre benefits the programme and its projects. This study discusses the findings from a survey which quantified the realised programme benefits when the communication between team members in a programme was improved by utilising a contact centre.
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WHY ARE CAPITAL PROJECTS OFTEN LATE AND OVER-SPENT? PUTTING THE PUZZLE TOGETHER

The implications of overspending on capital projects and of late delivery by such projects can hardly be overemphasized. One mining corporation, for example, budgeted US$ 6,9 billion to be spent on projects during 2007 and the profitability and even the feasibility of these endeavours obviously depend on executing the projects on time and within budget. Yet, it cannot be disputed that many major projects are late and/or over-spent when measured against estimates and commitments made early in the project lifecycle. Figure 1, for example, illustrates the cost performance on major transport projects completed during the previous century.
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ARTICLES 2012

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN PROJECT ENVIRONMENTS

Knowledge management is widely acclaimed to be a source of considerable financial advantage for organisations. Various authors realise that project environments could also benefit from the creation and re-use of knowledge, including from the lessons learned that should be documented during project close-out. Projects face specific challenges (limited time spans, changing and dispersed teams) and the reduction of project risk, time and cost through knowledge management, may well prove worthwhile.

This paper reviews the literature on knowledge management, both in organisations in general and in project environments specifically. A framework for knowledge management is derived from literature. The paper also reports on an investigation of knowledge management practices in four cases within a single South African business environment.
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PPM CONTRIBUTES TO OTHER OBJECTIVES OF THE UNIVERSITY

We regularly get positive feedback from people who did the Program in Project Management (PPM) but does this program also contribute to other objectives of the University such as research?

People who did the PPM and the APPM (Advanced Program in Project Management) are sometimes asked to participate in surveys that contribute to project management research in South Africa and beyond our borders. One such survey on project management maturity in the engineering and construction industries was recently published.

While previous studies attempted to determine how the success of South African Information Technology (IT) projects related to the project management maturity of the organisations that executed the projects, this study was conducted in the engineering and construction sectors. The paper reports on a structured questionnaire distributed to 1625 individuals mainly in the South African engineering and construction industries from which 255 responses were received.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT MATURITY AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT SUCCESS IN THE ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES

Abstract

Previous studies have attempted to determine how the success of South African IT projects related to the project management maturity of the organisations that executed the projects. The study reported in this article was conducted during 2010 in the engineering and construction sectors. This paper reports on a structured questionnaire distributed to 1,625 individuals mainly in the South African engineering and construction industries.
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THE BENEFITS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The reward of sound project management is, first of all, a satisfied customer. The customer could be some external organisation or a senior manager within your own organisation who requested the work to be done. You could also be the customer of your own project, for example, when you are renovating your house.

For contractors a successful project is often rewarded by increased future business and an improved market share.

For the project manager, a successful project brings the satisfaction of having led a successful effort, an improved reputation and, possibly, improved career prospects.

Too much specialisation is sometimes risky for one’s career: if the need for a specialised skill decreases, a specialist might have to start a different career from a lower level, or he or she might face unemployment.
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WHAT IS A PROJECT?

Through the ages, mankind undertook many different kinds of projects. Ancient projects typically involved construction and resulted in structures such as the pyramids, the Great Wall of China and cathedrals in Europe. In modern times man continued to build physical structures such as buildings, roads, bridges and railway systems and also developed a vast range of products such as motor cars and electronic equipment and even undertook space travel. All these endeavours involved projects.

Project management developed in the engineering industry and is still part-and-parcel of the work of most engineers in all parts of the world. The construction industry, aerospace and defence industries contributed significantly to the develop­ment of this discipline. However, project management also proved to be very effective in many other situations where change and uncertainty prevail. The result is that, during the last number of decades, project management has found wide application outside the engineering profession.
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