The application of system dynamics to project management : an integrated methodology
Over the last decades, project management has become increasingly important for social progress. As projects are the vehicle to implement change, "management by projects" has become the current way of living of many organisations. Since the project management discipline first merged in the early 1920s, a wide collection of processes, tools and techniques has been developed. This traditional approach to project management has been focusing on the operational issues. However, problems of systemic nature have been emerging, where the many various interactions among human and social factors determine behaviour. The traditional approach is not aimed at addressing these issues. System Dynamics (SD) modelling has emerged with considerable success to analyse these systemic issues in social systems. A number of past applications to project management suggests that SD is effective in addressing these issues. However, it has been used in isolation from the traditional project management process. This research proposes that it is beneficial to integrate SD within this process. The author has investigated the potential distinctive roles of SD, and has developed a formal integrated methodology. Following an exhaustive review of past applications, a conceptual integrated framework was developed. This framework was refined through tentative applications within a large-scale software intensive project, for the period of 18 months. The formal integration of SD has proven beneficial. As a result, a formal System Dynamics-based Project-management Integrated Methodology (SYDPIM) was developed. SYDPIM comprises two main methods. The project management method articulates the use of a SD project model within the modified project management process, while formally linked with a PERT/CPM model. The model development method provides a structured framework to support the development and validation of SD project models. Practical applications of SYDPIM undertaken within the fieldwork project are here described. The more important future developments are identified and discussed.