What is the importance of different project types?
Now that we have established that there are different types of projects as well ways of identifying those, we need to answer the question what the importance of knowing the project type is.
As we have seen from the different attributes that determine the type of project, the main reason to know/determine the project type is that each requires a different leadership and management style.
Ralf Müller and Rodney Turner in a 2006 study in the International Journal of Project Management conclude that:
- The project manager’s leadership style influences project success;
- Different leadership styles are appropriate for different types of project.
Without going too much into detail this conclusion makes a lot of sense as we can all appreciate that different situations require different approaches.
Looking at some of the project types they conclude as well:
- On medium complexity projects, emotional resilience and communication are important;
- On re-positioning projects, motivation is important, whereas on renewal projects, self-awareness and communication are important;
- On fixed price contracts, sensitivity and communication are important, whereas on re-measurement contracts influence and communication are Important;
- On home-based, multi-cultural projects, motivation and managing resources are important and strategic perspective detrimental.
So what does this mean?
It means a few things, first of all, something Müller and Turner do not address and that is, from the project manager's perspective, that you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. This may sound self evident and somewhat corny but it is very important because we as project managers have a tendency not to (be able) to say no and to take on any project that comes our way.
Secondly, now from the perspective of the Project Manager's manager, make sure to select the right project for the right project manager.
Lastly, from an project management office and organizational development perspective, when developing project managers and project management capabilities make sure to adopt the curricula to fit the expected project types and to address leadership (style) development.
- Müller, R., & Turner, J. (2007). Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type. International Journal Of Project Management, 25(1), 21-32. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.04.003