The Paradox of Integrating Temporality and Permanence
Although organizational management operations and project management functions are multidisciplinary and thrive on maximizing the return of capital, they are separate in terms of their nature, function, and perception (Kuura et al., 2013; Malbasic et al., 2014). Organizational management teams and PM practitioners achieve their overarching objective through mobilizing resources, planning, organizing, controlling, and coordinating multiple tasks and activities. While PM is established to function temporally (Gransberg et al., 2013; Project Management Institute, 2013), PPGE-based organizations are structured to operate semi-permanently or permanently. Ylijoki (2016) indicated that a project is inherently time-dependent: it is temporal, provisional, complete tasks within a fixed period, begins and ends, and does not promise or commit to function in perpetuity.
The integration of PM temporaneous function and the continuous operation of PPGE-based organizations has raised not only significant conceptual, contextual, and theoretical challenges to PM, as a distinct field of academic discipline including PM practitioners, but seems downright paradoxical. How does the current concept of the trilogy, for instance, effectively perform in manifold complex, uncertain, and nonlinear structures in which PPGE operate? How will PM practitioners handle macro, horizontal, and vertical levels in PPGE-based organizational hierarchy? Jalocha (2012) noted that due to projectification expansion drives, the European Union had created thousands of mega projects throughout member countries and an attempt to harmonize public and private programs is becoming a reality. Godenhjelm et al. (2014) explained that PM temporal existence and innovative capacity might be overshadowed or fragmented by the complex and monolithic structure that PPGE creates. In other words, the conflation of permanent and temporal functions presents a paradigm shift and a significant organizational and cultural change.
To better explain, describe, and predict the success and failure of PPGE-based organizational objectives, the PM practitioners must absorb the knowledge about these new conceptualizations, cultural, and organizational changes. Miles (2012) noted that organizations that incorporate new knowledge are prone to become innovative, competitive, and successful.
PMT 2.0 is being developed to resolve the epistemological gap that exists between the current PM theory, and what PM domain has become because of the PPGE efforts (Wilkinson et al. 2015). Andersen (2015) and Bredillect (2008) classified project management practitioners into two perspectives: task management team and organization management team. They explained that while the former team focuses on temporal nature of phenomena, i.e., to create a unique product or service and deliver it on time, on budget and without diminishing its quality, the latter is focused on achieving short, as well as long-term, strategic goals. Scranton (2014) indicated that PM is distinguishable from organizational management because of time constraints, the urgency of project completion, a focus on the target, temporal project team, and achieving predetermined change.
The PMBOK Guide also pins down practitioners to observe the processes of a project’s life cycle-composed of initiation, planning, implementation, and a closure including PMBOK knowledge areas (Brunson, 2013). These areas consist of project integration, scope, cost, time, quality, human resource, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders’ management (Project Management Institute, 2013).
In PM’s perspective, tasks are prescribed and planned at the onset of the project and followed through to completion. The stock-in-trade that practitioners apply to achieve this perspective includes work breakdown structure (WBS), critical path method (CPM), precedence diagramming method (PDM), project evaluation review technique (PERT), network planning, and risk analysis, to name few examples. If a change management problem arises such as added work or risk, the preplanning phase process is reiterated, time is extended, additional resources are added, and the communication plan is updated. The project’s stakeholders or owners may also decide to prematurely terminate the project if the total costs -including administrative, risk, net present value, and sink costs-are higher than the potential benefit of the project (PMI, 2013). This perspective is also bereft of or detached from the rest of the community, society or the world (Brunson, 2013).
Regarding organization perspective, practitioners pursue business opportunities, contribute to productivities, organizational success or value creation on a regular or permanent continuum and seriatim. This organizational perspective involves planning, organizing, controlling, and coordinating. Pugh and Hickson (2007) noted that organizations might also be included in the pursuit of perpetual activities such as manufacturing, commercial, marketing, security, accounting, and managerial endeavors. Thus, practitioners-many of whom are hired permanently rather than temporarily- set strategic and long-term goals, rather than short time and temporal objectives. Moreover, rather than focusing on controlling cost, quality, and earned value analysis as task management practitioners do, the organizational perspective tends to embrace a holistic view on business or organization value creation.
Greenwood and Miller (2010) also indicated that the duration or longevity of PM and organizational functions are unparalleled. PM choice of design focuses on its innovativeness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Its design is also based on normative and prescriptive standards and tools used to complete a project’ deliverables in a timely fashion. Collectively, project and organizational stakeholders perceive PM as an antidote to bureaucracies, inefficient management, and prolongation of management functions (Kwak et al., 2015). The pursuit of this lofty ideal compels PM practitioners to work on a tight budget, time, quality, and scope that is unambiguously defined and executed.
Contrarily, organizational functions are not constrained by temporality, bureaucratic structure, and the triple constraint conceptualizations (Garel, 2012). PM methods and approaches, especially the trilogy concept, cannot address complex issues beyond the scope (technical), cost (budget), quality, and time (schedule). Consequently, irrespective of astronomical investment in managing projects, the rate of project successes continues to shrink. Kwak et al. (2015) argued that in project-based organizational milieus, projects become the units of control and PM, the governance of the relationships between the units and other activities that exist inside and outside of the organizational settings.