Managing portfolio interdependencies: The effects of visual data representations on project portfolio decision making

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2017, 10 (4), pp. 856 - 879
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to improve decision quality, and therefore project and portfolio success, by testing the influence of different visual representations of interdependency data in a simulated decision experiment. A network mapping approach to visualize project interdependencies is introduced and compared with matrix and tabular displays. Design/methodology/approach: A simulated decision task in a controlled classroom setting tested five hypotheses though a sample of 480 experiments. Findings: The type of data representation used is associated with differing levels of decision quality, and the use of network mapping displays is aligned with the best results. Research limitations/implications: The findings are limited as this experiment-based study presented a simplified decision scenario and involved students rather than practicing managers. The findings are best interpreted in combination with organization-based research. Practical implications: The findings of this study suggest that visual data displays, particularly network mapping displays, can provide benefits and improve project portfolio decision quality. Managers may draw upon this study to design ways to include visual data representations in their project portfolio management decision processes. Originality/value: This study uses experimentation to complement organization-based studies to better understand the influence of different methods of visualizing data and managing interdependencies between projects. This research provides an important contribution to meet the acknowledged need for better tools to understand and manage project interdependencies.
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