What is Theme B?

Front- and back-end management practices and their influence on project performance - Lead by Michael Lewis, University of Bath and Andrew Edkins, University College London

In this theme we are exploring the challenges encountered during the (very) early and late phases of major projects. In short, why do so many projects start and land badly? Although key aspects of project and portfolio performance are determined during these critical ‘book-end’ periods that, by definition span organisational and temporal boundaries, they are frequently overlooked in practice and poorly understood in theory/education.

Following a series of preliminary interviews (workshops, etc.) the preliminary activities of the theme include:

1. Understanding the (very) front end of project (the policy/concept - project nexus). Following further exploratory fieldwork, a preliminary conceptualisation of the dimensions connecting front-end activity and project performance will be developed and then tested using IPA data set (Universities of Bath and Brighton)

2. How can we handover projects better? How do we improve the transition of a project from the project team delivering in a project life cycle to the end users’ business as usual activities, to ensure the realisation of the benefits the project set out to achieve?

3. An investigation into the back-end of delivery’ when projects morph into operational delivery. Research conducted so far has used cases of major organisations (infrastructure clients) dealing with projects with diverse and substantial deliverables. For example, Heathrow and the new Terminal 2 Queen’s Terminal (where the transition to operations was dominated by the need to avoid replication of the problematic opening of the previously completed terminal – Terminal 5). Similarly, Transport to London has looked at the development in electronic ticketing using contactless bank-cards, such as debit and credit cards. Here, the issue was to follow the success of the deployment of the dedicated electronic ticket system known as Oyster (UCL)

Our Research Projects

Theme B does not currently have any research projects.