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Table of Contents

NON-STANDARDISATION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES: A CASE STUDY OF ERICSSON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Part 8

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3.6 RESEARCH CONSTRAINTS

Research constraints pertain to any inhibiting factor which would in any way constrain the research student’s ability to conduct the research in a normal way” (Watkins, 2006:54).

According to Watkins (2006:54) (citing Hussey, J. & Hussey, R., 1997), research constraints consist of two concepts:

  • Limitations – mentioning the identified weaknesses in the research.
  • De-limitations – explaining that the scope (demarcation) of the study will be focused only on one particular area or entity, as opposed to a wider or holistic approach.

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3.6.1 Limitations

The limitations pertaining to this research are the following:

  • Analysis, building a new business process map and implementing it, requires a large amount of the selected team’s and researcher’s time in order to be effective and add value.
  • The researcher could experience ‘tunnel vision’ due to a long service history with the target group specified.
  • Internal audit findings and scoring are subjective; meaning that it could vary depending on the interpretation of the auditor combined with the level of motivation supplied by the person being audited.

3.6.2 De-limitations

De-limitations pertaining to this research are:

  • The scope of the study will be focused on the staff forming part of four Project Offices in sub-Saharan Africa only.
  • All stakeholders within the ambit of this dissertation are internal to the organisation and consist mostly of project management resources representing the Nigerian and South African Project Offices.
  • Other departments within the organisation will receive limited focus, as only matrix interfaces will be considered.
  • The research is performed within the ambit of the telecommunications industry.

3.6.3 Ethical principles of research

Approval is granted to the researcher by Prof. Dr. J A Watkins from Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management to proceed with the creation and submission of this research. Approval is based on a minimum score being obtained in ‘A research proposal for a dissertation’. In addition, written consent is given by Mr. Gary Dewing in the capacity of Vice President Global Services for Ericsson in market unit sub-Saharan Africa. This letter is on file with the academic institution for further reference. Approval from Ericsson is granted to perform research of ‘Non-standardisation of project management processes: A case study of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa.’ It is stated that the research is in support of a Master of Commerce degree as offered by said academic institution. No project and or individual names shall be disclosed as part of the research. A non-disclosure agreement is in effect and, therefore, no Ericsson proprietary information may be divulged.

3.6.4 Questionnaire design

As part of the research, a questionnaire was submitted to all participants within the Project Offices in order to solicit their opinion. The questionnaire can be found in Appendix A and it is based on investigative questions posed. Two main sections are depicted to represent questions and statements pertaining to the Project Office, as well as Project Management.

In the first section the participant’s view of the Project Office(s) is solicited. Participants are requested to select the option that best describes their opinion regarding ten statements and/or questions posed; only one selection is allowed per statement and/or question. The following statements form part of the Project Office section in this questionnaire:

  1. The processes and procedures used in the Project Office in my service hub are clear to me.
  2. The process requirements from the MUSA Project Office are clear to me.
  3. The four Project Offices should align with the MUSA Project Office. What is your opinion?
  4. The four Project Offices are currently aligned with the MUSA Project Office.
  5. Project Offices in MUSA must all follow the same processes and procedures.
  6. The Project Office in my service hub or the MUSA Project Office allows me to make contributions towards new processes and procedures.
  7. The Project Office ways of working are aligned with the company’s corporate strategy.
  8. Resource management could benefit from aligned ways of working.
  9. Communication will improve when alignment of the Project Offices occurs.
  10. The customer will perceive Ericsson as being more professional if our ways of working are standardised.

Participants have the option to select one of the following responses:

  • Strongly Agree.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Strongly Disagree.

The researcher assigns a numerical value to each level of response in the questionnaire in order to aid with the calculation of percentages, as well as graphing of the data. Watkins explains this type of data as being ordinal (qualitative), where an opinion is assigned a numerical number (Watkins, 2006:120). Four options are represented as follows:

1 = Strongly Agree.

2 = Agree.

3 = Disagree.

4 = Strongly Disagree.

Questionnaire responses are divided into two sections, each representing the Project Office that the participant forms part of. This will enable the researcher to make a comparison in the level of maturity present in the South African and Nigerian Project Offices. In conclusion, the level of maturity for the market unit as a whole is also reflected by combining the results from both Project Offices.

In the second section the participant’s view of how the project management processes and procedures impact their day-to-day activities is solicited. Participants are requested to select the option that best describes their opinion regarding eleven statements and/or questions posed; only one selection is allowed per statement and/or question. With the conclusion of this section, the participant would supply feedback on a total of twenty one questions and/or statements. The following statements form part of the Project Management section in this questionnaire:

  1. Following specified processes adds value to my project during its life cycle.
  2. It is easier to deliver a project in MUSA if we all use the same processes and procedures.
  3. The Project Office in my service hub supports me when I need it.
  4. Process changes and/or updates are communicated to employees.
  5. I believe that standardised processes and procedures can reduce project operating costs.
  6. Customer satisfaction will improve if everybody uses the same processes.
  7. Time-to-customer could be shortened if processes are followed.
  8. Process adherence impacts positively project profitability.
  9. Project quality will increase if I follow the specified processes and procedures.
  10. Project risk and exposure could be minimised if standardised processes are followed.
  11. It is possible to establish best practice processes within my service hub.

Participants have the option to select one of the following responses:

  • Strongly Agree.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Strongly Disagree.

The researcher assigns a numerical value to each level of response in the questionnaire in order to aid with the calculation of percentages, as well as graphing of the data. Four options are represented as follows:

1 = Strongly Agree.

2 = Agree.

3 = Disagree.

4 = Strongly Disagree.

Questionnaire responses are divided into two sections, each representing the Project Office that the participant forms part of. This will enable the researcher to make a comparison in the level of maturity present in the South African and Nigerian Project Offices. In conclusion, the level of maturity for the market unit as a whole is also reflected by combining the results from both Project Offices.

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3.7 SUMMARY

This chapter covered the research methodology and design for this investigation. Aspects of the theory of what constitutes the research process, sampling, the ethics of research, limitations and delimitations of the research, as well as questionnaire design and scaling methods were discussed. In creating the data capturing instruments the researcher drew on the sub-research (investigative) questions, which require answering, as posed in chapter 1, namely:

  • What are the current processes utilised in each standalone Project Office?
  • Which of these processes can be seen as ‘best practice’?
  • Can gaps be identified and eliminated between the current position and the desired position?
  • Is there buy-in from top management and support from local drivers to influence the process change?

Making use of the research design and methodology discussed in this chapter, the next chapter contains data extracted as its result. In the next chapter primary, as well as secondary data sets are defined and analysed. In conclusion, some comments will be offered.

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