Time to make space for practice-based research in project portfolio management

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
2015, pp. ? - ? (16)
Issue Date:
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Practice-based research is extending understanding in the disciplines of strategy and project management, in part as a result of strong advocacy of research from ‘strategy-as-practice’ and ‘projects-as-practice’ perspectives. Such perspectives provide holistic contextual information and reveal the evolutionary and responsive nature of project and strategy processes. As environments shift and become more complex, dynamic capabilities are required for projects to flourish. Normative project management approaches are being challenged and practice-based project portfolio management (PPM) research is emerging. Increasingly, PPM defines the space between strategy and project management, with a key project focus on temporality. There is a need for further development and encouragement of practice-based approaches in PPM research that are alert to the becoming of projects as spatial manifestations that unfold in (different conceptions of) time. We identify three themes in project and portfolio management research that employ practice-based and strategically anchored perspectives. We illustrate the trajectory of early work on strategy and the front end of projects through to the development and application of increasingly sophisticated theoretical perspectives in project portfolio management (PPM) research. The dynamic capabilities perspective is shown to provide a strong theoretical foundation for investigating PPM and its role in implementing and informing strategy through projects. Theoretically grounded and practice-based research represents the interplay between structure and practice, with these reciprocally and recursively shaping each other over time. Building on these examples we call for practice-based research in PPM, and we suggest a convergence of strategy-as-practice perspectives and practice-based PPM research.
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