MT - Using BIM as a PM Tool: 2.1 – Project Complexity and Inter-Organizational Collaboration

Master Thesis. Sub-Chapter 2.1 Project Complexity and Inter-Organizational Collaboration
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A project is “a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (PMI, 2004: p. 5). Defining what a Complex Project is may not be that easy, but some attempts have been made. Simon (1982, cited in Williams 2002) defines a complex system as “one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a non-simple way”. Morris and Hough (1987, cited in Williams, 2002) analyzing complex projects state that they “demand an exceptional level of management, and that the application of conventional systems developed for ordinary projects have been found to be inappropriate for complex projects”.

Construction Projects tend to be more and more complex (Chan et al., 2004 and Williams, 2002). This is due to an increase in the use of CE (Williams 1999) and the increase of number of stakeholders and PM tools and methods used (Bosch-Rekveldt et al. 2010).

Baccarini (1996) mentioned organizational complexity as a key defining element of complex projects. On the other hand, Williams (1999) defined project complexity as characterised by two dimensions, with two sub-dimensions each (Figure 2.1).

Complex Projects require inter-organizational associations (Maurer, 2010). To ensure success in inter-organizational project ventures, trust between the different project partners is acknowledged as a key success factor (Maurer, 2010 and Kadefors, 2004). Because of the nature of work in these inter-organizational ventures there is “highly recognized need for better integration, cooperation, and coordination of construction project teams” (Cicmil & Marshall 2005, cited in Maunula, 2008).

Figure 2.1 Dimensions of Project Complexity (after Williams, 1999: p.271)

Inter-organizational information systems [IOIS] are one possible way to cope with the integration, cooperation, and coordination challenges faced in construction (Maunula, 2008). IOIS are sometimes referred to as Web-based Project Management Systems [WPMS] (Forcada et al., 2007; Nitithamyong and Skibniewski, 2004), Web-Collaborative Extranets [WCEs] or Document Management Systems [DMS] (Ajam et al. 2010). This research will use the term IOIS for it seems more generic and able to encompass all these different nomenclatures while highlighting the multi party collaborative nature of their use.

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