What is Theme E?

Capability & knowledge management - Lead by Professor Tim Brady, University of Brighton and Andrew Davies, University College London

Delivering public infrastructure and services is dependent on projects and programmes of various sorts, many of which have been bedevilled by poor performance, especially as size and complexity increase. Development of appropriate project capability - an umbrella term which encompasses project management, programme management and portfolio management - is key to improving project delivery performance. Project capabilities are distributed in many locations around the organisation and sometimes brought in from other organisations.

This theme examines the capabilities needed to deliver successful public sector projects and programmes, how they are built and distributed. Our definition of project capabilities is based on three dimensions identified in previous research (Davies and Hobday, 2005):

  • strategic project capabilities - the high level management skills and experiences which enable organisations to design and deploy projects for strategic purposes

  • project structures - which refers to the ways in which capabilities are located and distributed within an organisation including informal structures and resources (e.g. key individuals and networks within organisations

  • project processes - including hard or tangible systems, procedures and tools such as published standard operating procedures, project management toolkits, IT systems, manuals and flowcharts and ‘soft’, or human dimensions of project activity, such as leadership, team motivation and communications.

These three sub-sets of capability are dynamic and changing and closely related to each other. The outputs of the other themes will provide an important input into theme E and vice versa.

Our Research PRojects

1. Understanding leadership in the context of organisational change projects (Brighton)

2. A PhD project to examine project capability in the public sector (Brighton)