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Empowering project scope decisions: introducing R&D content graphs

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There have been several studies confirming the strategic and operational importance of choosing a proper project scope. There is a lack of empirically tested managerial tools to assist in this matter, and studies with longitudinally analysed R&D projects with respect to content are scarce. This article discusses the management of advanced engineering in the automotive industry. The study presents a structured approach where individual project leaders together with top management could prepare project material, discuss, visualize, and evaluate the content around a common tool. This tool, i.e. the R&D content graphs, facilitates project content selection, both during the start‐up and during the execution phase of the project. The studied project has been studied for nearly two years using an abductive case‐based research design. Since the project has been longitudinally studied, it has also been possible to test the graphs’ predicting capabilities. The graphs are based on a visualization of the project content along five identified dimensions. The results reveal that the tools bring structure to project scope discussions, have some predictive value, and can also function as a vertical as well as a horizontal communication tool.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9310.00215

Affiliations: Chalmers University of Technology, Dept. of Operations Management & Work Organization, SE‐412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden. dennis@mot.chalmers.se

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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