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The influence of Agile Project Management on Knowledge Sharing in a Team

A study conducted at an engineering consultancy firm

Written by L. Gabrielsson, Z. Hasan

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Management




Master Thesis: Consulting Firms and Project Management Jang and Lee (1998) and Visscher (2006) pointed out that the management consulting industry has developed rapidly in the past few decades and offers a wide range of expertise. Due to the lack of adequate expertise in organizations, external experts are required to provide advice, so the demand for consultants is increasing. As a result, the number of consulting companies is increasing globally, which affects corporate communication between companies and public institutions and within (Engwall and Kipping, 2013). Turner and Müller (2003) defined a project that carried out various work activities within a limited period of time and had one or more clear goals. According to the research of Cheng et al. (2005), consulting organizations are mainly project-based. In addition, in these project-based workplaces, short-term interactions and participation occur in a team-oriented environment. Generally, if the project is completed on time, the total cost does not exceed the expected budget, all initial goals have been completed, and the customer approves the results, the project is considered successful (Eduard-Gabriel et al., 2017). These projects will produce unpredictability and require managers to respond flexibly to the rapidly changing project environment. However, this can be challenging for individuals responsible for managing performance, as projects have become more complex due to changes in customers and globalization. Therefore, project management requires new and updated methods (Adesi et al., 2015), especially within consulting firms (Cheng et al., 2005). There are several project management methods available; however, the most common are the traditional PMI/PMBOK (Project Management Institute/Project Management Body of Knowledge), IPMA (International Project Management Association), PRINCE2 (Projects in a Controlled Environment) and APM (Agile project management) methods (Jovanovic and Berwick, 2018). This report only focuses on traditional management and agile management methods and the reasons behind the transition between them. Today, traditional management methods are intended to be replaced by new methods that are more effective in a dynamic and changing environment, such as agile methods (Laanti et al., 2011). These two management methods will be discussed further in the following sections. 2.2. Traditional project management According to Haas (2007) and Hallin and Karrbom Gustavsson (2015), traditional management methods emerged in the defense and aerospace industries, where the first project model was developed. These are called phase gate models, and they decompose the overall goal of the project into sub-goals. 2.4.1. The project team in agile project management The team in agile project management is determined to be collaborative, small in team size, multidisciplinary, diversified decision-making and effective customer participation. Such teams are studied to be self-organizing, so since they do not involve strong leaders, they can make decisions, prioritize, and delegate tasks together. In addition, through daily meetings, cross-functional teams enable all members to contribute and encourage mutual support, communication, collaboration and interaction among team members. In addition, communication within the team is considered less formal (Lindsjørn et al. 2016). 2.4.2. Projects suitable for agile project management Since agile methods are created in the context of small projects, they are generally considered not suitable for larger situations. Dingsøyr et al. (2014) mentioned that Williams and Cockburn stated in IEEE Computers in 2003 that “Agile value sets and practices are most suitable for co-location teams of about 50 people or less, who can easily reach users and business experts and Those who are developing projects are not life-threatening." However, after gaining many successes and positive experiences in small projects, APM aroused interest in applying its methods to large projects. Dingsøyr et al. (2014) emphasized that it is important to recognize whether, when, and how APM is applicable and implemented on a large scale. Nevertheless, there is still some discussion about what "large scale" is. Some people think it is the number of members in a team, while others think it can be a project composed of multiple teams, or it can be a combination of specialization, distribution, and scale. Dingsøyr et al. (2014) carried out a scale classification, in which the small scale consists of one team, the large scale consists of two to nine teams, and the super large scale consists of more than ten teams. However, the author points out that this classification includes generally available and reliable factors, such as increased coordination costs as the team size increases, which includes advance decision-making and feedback in management science. In addition, the author points out that it can be considered that the taxonomy is based on a theoretical model of the project. In fact, a project can have technical or functional sub-projects. In addition, Keshta and Morgan (2017) mentioned that there are disagreements on how many team members should be in a team for agile methods to be applicable. The author presented a survey in which most participants believed that the team could be agile, regardless of its size. Read Less