Project Profiling Models

Keywords: Management Tools, Planning, Project Tools


  1. Understand different methods of typing projects.
man following a design plan
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Shenhar and Dvir observed that the project execution approach was connected to the project type. The study identified different management patterns associated with project type as well as different management tools and practices. As the project system scope became more complex and the system scope of the project became larger, more sophisticated management tools were put in place to reduce project uncertainty. As project technology increased, project managers became more invested in processes to manage technical issues such as redesign and testing. As projects increased in system scope, project managers became more invested in formal planning and control issues. In later research, Shenhar2 developed recommendations for adjusting the project management approach based on the project typology. For example, project managers will use more risk management techniques (see Chapter 11) when the technological uncertainty is high.

Robert Youker3 identified basic differences in project types. Among the attributes he used were the uncertainty and risk, level of sophistication of the workers, the level of detail in the planning, the newness of the technology, and the time pressure. Youker also looked at project size, duration, geographic location, number of workers, cost, complexity, urgency, and organizational design as attributes that help determine a project profile.


  • There are many different typology methods to consider when characterizing a project in order to meet its specific needs and scope. Some things to consider might be technological uncertainty and complexity of scope, risk, worker sophistication, location, urgency, and organizational design.

[1] Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir, “Toward a Typological Theory of Project Management,”Research Policy 25 (1996): 607–32.

[2] Aaron J. Shenhar, Adapting Your Project Management Style: The Key to Project Success (Hoboken, NJ: Stevens Institute of Technology, 1999).

[3] Robert Youker, “Defining the Hierarchy of Project Objectives,” IPMA Conference (Slovenia: American Society for Advancement of Project Management, 1998).


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