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Managing change in the delivery of complex projects: Configuration management, asset information and ‘big data’

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This article provides insight into how change is managed in three organisations delivering complex projects – Airbus, CERN and Crossrail – and how those methods are evolving in the era of ‘big data’.

It has been taken from the International Journal of Project Management.

Keywords

  • Complex projects
  • Configuration management
  • Change
  • Asset management

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What does the paper cover?

The paper starts from the idea that asset information, as well as physical products, are becoming a deliverable of complex projects.

As digital technologies such as mobile hardware, cloud computing and integrated software become increasingly used in project delivery, they are changing established approaches, enabling more rapid and agile forms of organisation, but they bring new challenges.

The new approaches to project management are being developed in industries such as consumer electronics and biotechnology, which operate in dynamic situations where data analytics and visualisation using large digital data-sets provide the basis for more responsive, flexible and real-time decision-making.

But how can organisations manage complex projects in an era of ‘big data’?

Complex projects are high-tech, capital-intensive engineering projects that are of a significant scale, relatively long duration and require firms to work collaboratively.

Information about complex product systems is developed across multiple firms, involving diverse professions and trades as these organisations interact through digital systems.

The paper considers the emerging new practices of managing change in complex projects as asset information is becoming a project deliverable, and as internal and external data-sets become linked.

There is a tension between the need for control, to manage the configuration of complex systems (particularly in regulated and safety-critical industries), and the responsive, flexible and real-time decision-making implied by new approaches to project management.

 

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