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Project Management Practices at the Front-End of Management Consulting Projects: An exploratory study of the perspectives of Swedish management consultants
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The present investigation looks at management consulting engagements through the project management lens, and explores what practitioners do in the initial stages of their projects. In the understanding that the front-end of the project is a very critical and important stage, this text begins by examining the literature on management consulting and on the definitional phase of projects, and demonstrates that the situations encountered in both domains are quite similar. For this reason, this study explores the project management practices that Swedish management consultants employ in the initial phases of the consulting projects. Particularly, it focuses on the practices that reconcile possible gaps in perspectives and expectations that often exist between client and consultant when this relationship is being formed. 

The study had an inductive character and is cross-sectional in terms of time-horizon, focusing on the previous experiences of management consultants. In collecting the data, a survey strategy was usedwith semi-structured interviews involving nine Swedish management consultants from eight different consultancies. The process of analysis implied the use of template analysis, which provided researchers with enough flexibility to code, categorize, and interpret necessary findings.

The results show that consultants favor practices that revolve around communication and interaction with the client, including interviews, workshops, and meetings, among others. In addition, they stress the importance of the use of documentation in order to reach an agreement on what the project is about. Moreover, these practices were often clearly connected to the issues that they, as project managers, must resolve at the front-end of projects. Interestingly, the results indicate that these challenges, identified by the management consultants, mostly match the ones identified in the project management literature. There is indeed a connection between project management practices and management consulting, from which both fields can benefit. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 101 p.
Keyword [en]
project definition phase, project management, management consulting, practices, project front-end
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51566OAI: diva2:484091
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-01-31 Created: 2012-01-26 Last updated: 2012-01-31Bibliographically approved

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