Advertisement

Exploring the Use of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) in Front-Ending Public-Funded Rural Bridge Construction Projects in Bangladesh

  • Shah Saadi
  • Gary Bell
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter highlights some limitations of traditional project management through examples of unsuccessful rural bridge projects in Bangladesh. Many of the causes can be linked with poor front-end practice, and provides further evidence to support the Management of Projects paradigm. The three distinctive Management of Project levels (i.e., technical core, strategic envelope, and institutional context) are outlined. We discuss the public value idea, value creation concept, soft systems methodology, and a project strategy framework which have connectivity with project front-ending. Moreover, project front-ending is an integral component of the strategic envelope. Soft systems methodology is applied to improving the approach to commissioning of rural bridges. It guides “learning our way” to developing an agreed purposeful process, which may facilitate projects that consistently achieve project success.

Keywords

Management of projects Project strategy Public value Soft systems methodology Value creation 

References

  1. Ackoff, R. L. (1979). The Future of Operational Research Is Past. The Journal of the Operational Society, 30(2), 93–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. APM (Association for Project Management). (2006). APM Body of Knowledge (5th ed.). Buckinghamshire: Association for Project Management.Google Scholar
  3. Artto, K., Kujala, J., Dietrich, P., & Martinsuo, M. (2008). What Is Project Strategy? International Journal of Project Management, 26(2008), 4–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Artto, K., Ahola, T., & Vartiainen, V. (2016). From the Front End of Projects to the Back End of Operations: Managing Projects for Value Creation Throughout the System Lifecycle. International Journal of Project Management., 34, 258–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashmore, C. (1997). BPRC Focus Group: Project Management, the Motivations and Conditions for Change. http://bprc.warwick.ac.uk/focus12html. Accessed 31 Oct 2001.
  6. Atkinson, R. (1999). Project Management: Cost, Time and Quality, Two Best Guesses and a Phenomenon, It’s Time to Accept Other Success Criteria. International Journal of Project Management, 17(6), 337–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Badewi, A. (2016). The Impact of Project Management (PM) and Benefits Management (BM) Practices on Project Success: Towards Developing a Project Benefits Governance Framework. International Journal of Project Management, 34(4), 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. bdnews24.com. (2017). Tk 6m Bridge Breaks Down Before Inauguration in Chittagong. Available from: http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/07/10/tk-6mn-bridge-breaks-down-before-inauguration-in-chittagong. Accessed 15 July 2017.
  9. Bell, G. A., Cooper, M. A., & Qureshi (2002). The Holon Framework and Software Process Improvement: A Radiotherapy Project Case Study. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.sussex.ac.uk/doi/10.1002/spip.155/epdf. Accessed 11 July 2017.
  10. Benington, J., & Hartley J. (2001). Pilots, Paradigms and Paradoxes: Changes in Public Sector Governance and Management. In Hartley, J. (2005). Innovation in Governance and Public Services: Past and Present. Public Money Management, 25(1), 27–34.Google Scholar
  11. Benington, J., & Moore, M. (Eds.). (2011). Public Value: Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Benington, J., & Turbitt, I. (2007). Policing the Drumcree Demonstrations in Northern Ireland: Testing Leadership Theory in Practice. Leadership, 3(4), 371–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bovaird, T., & Loeffler, E. (2012). From Engagement to Co-production: The Contribution of Users and Communities to Outcomes and Public Value. International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 23(4), 1119–1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bradley, G. (2010). Benefit Realization Management (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Bryson, J. M., Barbara, C. C., & Bloomberg, L. (Eds.). (2015). Creating Public Value in Practice. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  16. Buzan, T., & Buzan, B. (2010). The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life (1st ed.). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  17. Checkland, P. (1981). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Checkland, P. (2000). Soft System Methodology: A Thirty Year Retrospective. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, 11–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Checkland, P., & Poulter, J. (2006). Learning for Action. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
  20. Checkland, P., & Winter, M. (2006). Process and Content: Two Ways of Using SSM. Journal of Operational Research Society, 57, 1435–1441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chih, Y., & Zwikael, O. (2015). Project Benefit Management: A Conceptual Framework of Target Benefit Formulation. Internal Journal of Project Management, 33, 352–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cooke-Davies, T. (2009). Front-End Alignment of Projects – Doing the Right Project. In T. Williams, K. Sunnevag, & K. Samset (Eds.), Making Essential Choices with Scant Information (pp. 106–124). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cooke-Davies. (2010). Project Success. In P. Morris & J. Pinto (Eds.), The Wiley Guide to Project, Program and Portfolio Management. Hoboken: Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  24. DDM (Department of Disaster Management). (2016). Construction of 12 Meter Bridges on Rural Roads (3rd Phase). Available from: http://ddm.portal.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/ddm.portal.gov.bd/page/b4ffbd83_c019_4bb7_bcbc_2d354bb28cc8/bridge_culvert1.pdf. Accessed 15 Apr 2017.
  25. Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Christian, L. M. (2014). Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (4th ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Dunsire, A. (1997). Rethinking Public Policy-Making: Questioning Assumptions, Challenging Beliefs. Essay in Honour of Sir Geoffrey Vickers on His Centenary. Public Administration, 75(Autumn, 1997), 587–600.Google Scholar
  27. Duxbury, J. (1994). The Development and Testing of a Model Relevant to the Decision Making Process Concerning the Provision of Health Care in Morecambe Bay, M.Sc. Dissertation. Lancaster University, UK. In Ckeckland (2000). Soft Systems Methodology: A Thirty Year Retrospective. Systems Research and Behavioural Science, 17, S11–S58.Google Scholar
  28. Edkins, A., Geraldi, J., Morris, P., & Smith, A. (2013). Exploring the Front-End of Project Management. The Engineering Project Organization Journal, 3(2), 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Flyvbjerg, B., Bruzelius, N., & Rothengatter, W. (2003). Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heifetz, R. (1994). Leadership Without Easy Answer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Johnson, G. (1992). Managing Strategic Change- Strategy, Culture and Action. Long Range Planning, 25, 28–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Klakegg, O., Williams, T., & Magnussen, O. (2009). Governance Framework for Public Sector Project Development and Estimation. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.Google Scholar
  33. Kotter, J. (1990). What Leaders Really Do. Harvard Business Review., 68(3), 103–111.Google Scholar
  34. Laursen, M., & Svejvig, P. (2016). Taking Stock of Project Value Creation: A Structured Literature Review with Future Directions for Research and Practice. International Journal of Project Management., 34, 736–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meier, S. R. (2008). Best project management and systems engineering practices in the preacquisition phase for federal intelligence and defense agencies. Project Management Journal, 39(1), 59–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, R., & Lessard, D. R. (2001). The Strategic Management of Large Engineering Projects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mintzberg, H. (1987). Crafting Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 65(4), 66–75.Google Scholar
  38. Moore, M. (1995). Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Moore, M. (2003). The Public Value Scorecard: A Rejoinder and an Alternative to “Strategic Performance Measurement and Management in Non-Profit Organizations” by Robert Kaplan. Cambridge, MA: Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.Google Scholar
  40. Moore, M. (2013). Recognizing Public Value. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Moore, M. H., & Hartley, J. (2008). Innovation in Governance. Public Management Review, 10(1), 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morris, P. W. G. (1994). The Management of Projects. London: Thomas Telford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Morris, P. W. G. (2002). Science, Objective Knowledge and the Theory of Project Management. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, ICE Civil Engineering, 50(2), 82–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Morris, P. W. G. (2009). Implementing Strategy Through Project Management: The Importance of Managing the Project Front-End. In T. Williams, K. Sunnevag, & K. Samset (Eds.), Making Essential Choices with Scant Information (pp. 39–63). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Morris, P. W. G. (2013). Reconstructing Project Management (1st ed.). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morris, P. W. G., & Geraldi, J. (2011, December). Managing the Institutional Context for Projects. Project Management Journal, 42(6), 20–32.Google Scholar
  47. Morris, P. W. G., & Hough, G. H. (1987). The Anatomy of Major Projects. Chichester: Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  48. Morris, P. W. G., & Jamieson, A. (2005). Moving from Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy. Project Management Journal, 36(4), 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morris, P. W. G., Pinto, J. K., & Soderlund, J. (Eds.). (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Project Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Mulgan, G. (2009). The Art of Public Strategy: Mobilizing Power and Knowledge for the Common Good. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Norman, R. (2007). Managing Outcomes While Accounting for Output: Redefining “Public Value” in New Zealand’s Performance Management System. Public Performance and Management Review, 30(4), 536–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Normann, R., & Ramirez, R. (1993). From Value Chain to Value Constellation: Designing Interactive Strategy. Harvard Business Review, July–August, 1993.Google Scholar
  53. OGC. (2007). Managing Successful Programs. Norwich: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  54. Patanakul, P., & Shenhar, A. J. (2012). What Project Strategy Really Is: The Fundamental Building Block in Strategic Project Management. Project Management Journal, 43(1), 4–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pinto, J., & Slevin, D. (1988). Critical Success Factors Across the Project Life Cycle. Project Management Journal, 19(3), 67–75.Google Scholar
  56. PMI (Project Management Institute). (2006). The Standard for Program Management. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.Google Scholar
  57. PMI (Project Management Institute). (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) (5th ed.). Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute.Google Scholar
  58. Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Advantage: Creating Sustainable Superior Performance (2nd ed.). New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  59. Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  60. Porter, M. E. (1996). What Is Strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61–79.Google Scholar
  61. Reiss, G., Anthony, M., Chapman, J., Leigh, G., Pyne, A., & Rayner, P. (2006). The Gower Handbook of Program Management. Aldershot: Gower.Google Scholar
  62. Rosenhead, J., & Mingers, J. (Eds.). (2001). Rational Analysis for a Problematical World Revisited: Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict (2nd ed.). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Google Scholar
  63. Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2016). Research Methods for Business Students (7th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  64. Sawhney, M., Wolcott, R.C., & Inigo, A. (2006). The 12 Different Ways for Companies to Innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review, 47(3, Spring), 75–81.Google Scholar
  65. Schon, D. A. (1987). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: BasicBooks.Google Scholar
  66. Serra, C. E. M., & Kunc, M. (2015). Benefits Realization and Its Influence on Project Success and on the Execution of Business Strategies. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2015), 53–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Snowden, D. J., & Boone, E. M. (2007). A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making. Harvard Business Review, 85(11), 68–76.Google Scholar
  68. The Daily Star. (2015a). Bridge Lies Unused for Want of Approach Roads. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/country/bridge-lies-unused-want-approach-roads-181663. Accessed 24 May 2017 (SYMP3).
  69. The Daily Star. (2015b). Bridge Lies Unused Due to Lack of Approach Roads. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/bridge-lies-unused-due-to-lack-of-approach-road-19034. Accessed 24 May 2017 (SYMP4).
  70. The Daily Star. (2015c). Bridges Lies Useless for Want of Approach Roads. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/bridges-lie-useless-for-want-of-approach-roads-53475. Accessed 24 May 2017 (SYMP 5; SYMP 6).
  71. The Daily Star. (2016). Bamboo Ladders Set to Make Bridge Usable! Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/country/bamboo-ladders-set-make-bridge-usable-1315393. Accessed 18 Feb 2017 (SYMP1).
  72. The Daily Star. (2017). Bridge Without Approach Road. Available from: http://www.thedailystar.net/bridges-lie-useless-for-want-of-approach-roads-53475. Accessed 24 May 2017 (SYMP 7).
  73. The Independent. (2015). Bridge Lies Unused for Want to Approach Road. Available from: http://www.theindependentbd.com/arcprint/details/7985/2015-07-16. Accessed 10 Mar 2017.
  74. Thiry, M. (2004). Program Management: Strategic Decision Management Process. In P. Morris & J. Pinto (Eds.), The Wiley Guide to Managing Projects. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  75. Thiry, M. (2010). Value Management: A Group Decision-Making Process to Achieve Stakeholders’ Needs and Expectations in Most Resource-Effective Ways. In P. Morris & J. Pinto (Eds.), The Wiley Guide to Project, Program and Portfolio Management. Hoboken: Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  76. Vickers, G. (1965). The Art of Judgement. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  77. Vickers, G. (1995). The Art of Judgement: A Study of Policy Making (Centenary Edition). London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  78. Williams, T., & Samset, K. (2010). Issues in Front-End Decision Making on Projects. Project Management Journal., 41(2), 38–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Williams, I., & Shearer, H. (2011). Appraising Public Value: Past, Present and Future. Public Administration 2011. Available from: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/social-policy/HSMC/publications/2011/appraising-public-value.pdf. Accessed 7 June 2017.
  80. Winter, M. (2006). Problem Structuring in Project Management: An Application of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). Journal of Operational Research Society, 57, 802–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Winter, M. (2009). Using Soft Systems Methodology to Structure Project Definition. In T. Williams, K. Sunnevag, & K. Samset (Eds.), Making Essential Choices with Scant Information (pp. 125–143). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Winter, M., & Checkland, P. (2003). Soft Systems: A Fresh Perspective for Project Management. Civil Engineering, 56, 187–192.Google Scholar
  83. Winter, M., & Szczepanek. (2008). Projects and Programs as Value Creation Process: A New Perspective and Some Practical Implication. International Journal of Project Management, 26, 95–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Winter, M., Smith, C., Morris, P., & Cicmil, S. (2006). Directions for Future Research Management: The Main Findings of a UK Government-Funded Research Network. International Journal of Project Management, 24(2006), 638–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Yin. (2014). Case Study Research: Design and Methods (5th ed.). London: SAGE Publications Inc.Google Scholar
  86. Zwikael, O., & Globerson, S. (2006). From Critical Success Factors to Critical Success Processes. International Journal of Production Research, 44(17), 3433–3449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zwikael, O., & Smyrk, J. R. (2011). Project Management for the Creation of Organisational Value. London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zwikael, O., & Smyrk, J. R. (2012). A General Framework for Gauging the Performance of Initiatives to Enhance Organisational Value. British Journal of Management, 23, S6–S22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shah Saadi
    • 1
  • Gary Bell
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of Public AdministrationDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.University of Sussex Business SchoolUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

Personalised recommendations