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Project management practice, generic or contextual: A reality check

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to contribute to a better understanding of project management practice by investigating the use of project management tools and techniques and the levels of support provided by organizations for their use. The study examines both general levels of use and variations among project types and contexts. Many aspects of project management practice are common to most projects in most contexts, while others vary significantly among different types of projects and among projects in different contexts. The purpose of this paper is to present empirical results that show both the common elements and the significant variations. The paper is based on a survey of 750 project management practitioners. The use of tools and techniques is seen here as an indicator of the realities of practice. The study found some aspects of practice to be common across all types of projects and all contexts, but on this background of similar patterns of practice, several statistically significant differences have also been identified. The primary focus of this paper is on these variations in practice.

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