Introduction and Purpose of the Study
Activities are executed as projects in organizations by governments and industries as a means to take advantage of the formality of processes and best practices associated with being characterized as a project (Geraldi, Maylor, & Williams, 2011, p. 966). According to Geraldi, Maylor, and Williams (p. 967), despite the promotion of “best practices” by professional program management associations that use of their methods lead to positive project outcomes, improved performance is not consistently realized. The authors argue that the associations’ one size fits all approach to best practices is insufficient for project success and thus conducted ...view middle of the document...
, 2011, p. 967). The case is made that while previous research recognizes that projects can both be complex and be conducted in a complex environment, however the research is disjointed because there is not a common taxonomy. Thus, they continue, research needs to be conducted to describe the concept of complexity. Once described, a typology can be developed that provides academics and practitioners a common language to identify and study the existence and implications of complexity in the context of projects (p. 968). This typology can then support tests of the hypothesis that complexity is IV associated with project success. Thus the need for the SR is well established.
The authors used narrative synthesis to review twenty-five articles to develop a framework containing five dimensions of project complexity and nearly 200 individual dimension indicators. They then concluded the framework was a comprehensive typology of complexity that could support future research such as testing the hypothesis of complexity as an IV to project success (Geraldi et al., 2011, p. 984).
A well-developed systematic review is transparent, replicable (Briner & Denyer, 2012, p. 120) and conducted with sufficient rigor that the study is trustworthy (Gough et al., 2012). Transparency in research is the extent to which the process of developing the knowledge is open to scrutiny (Gough et al., 2012, p. 157). Rigor is the extent to which a study undertakes internal and external quality assurance processes (p. 38) such as those associated with internal project management and external formal quality procedures (p. 81) and thus is an indicator of the study’s quality. The assessment will be conducted using the questions in Briner and Denyer’s (2012, p. 121) protocol structure by mapping the questions to the sections of the common stages (Gough et al., 2012, p. 8). Developing the SR review question will be the first phase assessed.
The research question (RQ) was not explicitly stated nor is there evidence an advisory group was used to develop the research question. It could be argued that since the quality and relevance of a study is judged in relation to its question (Gough et al., 2012, p. 160) and a good relevant question is developed using an advisory group, that there may be a weakness in both the transparency and rigor of this phase. However, the objective and the relevancy of research to develop the complexity topology to advance further studies was established earlier.
The authors’ search strategy is transparent but lacks robustness. The authors clearly specify the search starts using the two bibliographic databases, and two relevant journals and the search terms. They used a six step filtering process to excluded articles at each step, from the first step that used initial search terms to the final step that excluded article that did not explicitly provide a complexity framework or definition (Geraldi et al., 2011,...