Rethinking how projects are managed: meeting communication across the organizational hierarchy
This chapter examines one aspect of how software system development projects of various kinds are managed in a large IT company: meeting communication between project managers and senior managers. In our observations we discovered that one of the main difficulties that system engineers working on external customer projects had was communicating with their senior managers. System engineers work primarily at the external customers' premise while their senior managers work predominately at their own company's premise. Since project members are on their own working with the customer, problems often accumulate and senior managers remain uninformed of the situation until it becomes acute. To improve project management, the organization instituted a new kind of meeting where senior managers meet with project managers to evaluate and discuss their projects. We studied a series of the meetings, and shared our observations and suggestions to improve the meeting with the senior managers as well as project managers. In the paper, we overview the meeting process as well as discuss our methodological approach to organizational issues and lessons learned.
Vinkhuyzen, E.; Ikeya, N. Rethinking how projects are managed: meeting communication across the organizational hierarchy. Chapter in Making work visible: ethnographically grounded case studies of work practice, edited by Margaret H. Szymanski and Jack Whalen. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2011; 312-323.