טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentOrhof Ori
SubjectCritical Components Analysis - A Framework for Planning
Sub-project Contingencies in Large, Complex
Projects
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Dov Dori
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Early organizational theory suggested that organizations would be more effective if they created the right fit between structure and processes and their environment. Later contingency studies at the project level have identified specific variables for adapting project levels of innovation and complexity to their unique environment. This research expands the theory of project management by refining the organizational contingency theory and applying it to the sub-project level?the level of individual project components. The study shows that just as for the higher levels, the sub-project level is non-homogeneous, and different components may present different characteristics, which would require specific managerial actions. Thus, to help achieve effective project performance, the concept of fitting the management style to the nature of the project is also valid at the sub-project level.

This research introduces the framework of Critical Components Analysis (CCA), which can determine the criticality of specific components (sub-projects) to the overall project success. Furthermore, a component’s level of criticality would impact the way this component is handled. A component’s criticality is determined by two dimensions: challenge and vitality, which represent the extent of difficulty to complete the specific component and the importance of the component to the success of the product, respectively. Combining challenge and vitality levels determines the component’s extent of criticality on a three-level scale of low to high. Critical components must be treated with specific care and attention, to guarantee their availability at the project’s completion.

Challenge and vitality are each distinguished through intrinsic and extrinsic variables. The intrinsic variable of challenge is the solution uncertainty, which stems primarily from the degree of innovation involved in the component, while the extrinsic variable is determined by constraints such as regulation, management policy, and industry codes. Similarly, the intrinsic variable of vitality is determined by the centrality of the component’s function to the overall product performance, while the extrinsic variable is determined by the competitive advantage and the value to the customer which is added to (or reduced from) the final product by the specific component.

These four contingency dimensions are further developed into a “mini-diamond,” which defines three levels for each one of the contingency dimensions and then suggests a specifically adapted managerial type derived from the level of the contingencies.

As a proof of concept, the CCA framework has been applied to explain the events and the extensive delays in the building of the Denver International Airport due to difficulties that stemmed from the innovative baggage handling system. The research establishes how CCA can be incorporated into the prevailing project management framework (PMI's PMBOK), and concludes with results of a field study on a real-life project from the domain of civil aviation, where the CCA was applied to an airport's planning process.