Bryde, D. and Leighton, D. (2009) ‘Improving HEI Productivity and Performance through Project Management’, Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 37 (5), pp. 705-721.

This article reports the findings of a benchmarking survey of Project Management maturity in one Higher Education Institution (HEI). It relates the need to become more successful in the implementation of projects to the need for institutions to become more business-like – an area I will need to investigate further. I’m not sure Universities necessarily need/or are becoming more business like. They are, perhaps, becoming better at demonstrating their value and delivering that value in the face of diminishing funds.

The paper states two reasons for using project management techniques:

  1. The adoption of business management techniques
  2. The ability to manage specific types of change

A survey instrument was developed from existing models and existing literature, focusing on the process of project management as opposed to the effectiveness of projects. The survey focused on six domains :

  1. Culture
  2. Leadership
  3. Staffing
  4. Project management structure methods and system
  5. Project management office
  6. Partnerships

329 questionnaires were distributed to: staff involved in research/project activities; those holding a managerial position; and those with an appropriate job title. 110 were returned. The overall maturity of the HEI came back as 2.94 which is regarded as a low maturity when compared with other industries cited by Ibbs and Kwak (it will be worth looking up this study).

This survey could be a good place to start in investigating the types of questions I’ll need to ask. The one thing that concerns me at the time of writing is who will I be sending my survey to? Can I rely on one person to provide an overview of their organisation’s maturity in project management?

Other key quotes

“As the management of projects is considered integral to the management of contemporary organizations (Söderlund, 2004), overtly strengthening the project-related infrastructure and leadership in terms of both support for PM and in facilitating individual project delivery could be a key step for the HEI towards viable and sustained operation in new business arenas.”


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