Mission accomplished? - DiVA 826063/   Mission accomplished? ... Organizational Life

download Mission accomplished? - DiVA 826063/   Mission accomplished? ... Organizational Life

of 140

  • date post

    04-Aug-2018
  • Category

    Documents

  • view

    230
  • download

    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of Mission accomplished? - DiVA 826063/   Mission accomplished? ... Organizational Life

  • Mission accomplished? Measures of Success and Critical Success Factors in

    Startup Project Management

    Authors: Pertti Jussila

    Kirsten Wenderholm

    Supervisor: Zsuzsanna Vincze

    Student

    Ume School of Business and Economics Spring Semester 2015 Master Thesis, Two-Year, 30 hp

  • ii

    Summary

    This research studies project success in the context of decision-makers in young,

    entrepreneurial companies, namely startups. More precisely the companies are European

    companies that are independent, active and under 10 years of age, and furthermore

    identified as startups through a framework created from literature derived from

    Organizational Life Cycle theory and other pluralistic literature about startups. The main

    concentration is in the concepts related to project success: Project Success Criteria and

    Critical Success Factors, based on two research questions:

    1. What success criteria are perceived to be most relevant in the project management of startup firms?

    2. What critical success factors are perceived to be most relevant in project management of startup firms and why?

    Previous studies on project management have been mostly conducted in the context of

    large organizations and typically in a quantitative form. Studies in project management

    of startups have been scarce, and in project success, nonexistent. Researchers have called

    upon project literature that concentrates on particular organizational context. In this study,

    existing theories are studied to find the most suitable framework for success criteria.

    This study is conducted as a case study, wherein interviews were conducted with startup

    founders, partners and CEOs, located in Finland, Sweden and Germany. The data

    collection in the interviews consisted of both semi-structured questions and rating of

    importance regarding the elements of aforementioned theoretical frameworks of Project

    Success Criteria and Critical Success Factors, creating a rich set of data, forming holistic

    cases of the view of project success.

    The resulting indicate that the most relevant success criteria for startup decision-makers

    are connected to customer relations, which dictates also the importance of short-term and

    long-term goals. The economic goals as well the preparation for future were more

    polarizing. The concentration on customer criteria is not divergent from previous

    research, but the importance of team criteria is a noticeable difference and a common

    theme across cases. It is also noticeable in the statements of interviewees that in the

    startup context the uncertainty regarding products, customers, and economical factors

    create certain tensions in project success assessment. In Critical Success Factors, there

    were also clear themes that mirror the aforementioned results. It furthermore became

    apparent that startups do not have clearly established tools or methods for their project

    management, which may distinguish them from larger, more established organizations.

    Key terms: Critical Success Factors, Startups, Project Management, Success Criteria

  • iii

    Acknowledgements

    We need to thank our families for their continuing love and support. Also, gratitude

    should be shown to our friends, who have supported our cause along the way.

    Furthermore we want to thank Zsuzsanna Vincze, for providing the right kind of criticism

    and support and being a great supervisor throughout the whole process. We also greatly

    appreciate the support of the members of the faculty of Ume University, who have shared

    their experience, advice and wisdom with us.

    Finally, we are also thankful to our interviewees for their co-operation and the time they

    spend on helping us finding answers to our questions.

    Additionally, I need to thank Jessica for giving my life purpose and goals, both for longer

    and shorter terms.

    Pertti Jussila

    I would like to thank Eli, who has been the best co-habitant I could have imagined during

    this time and my best friend Simon, who is always there in case I need him.

    Kirsten Wenderholm

    Ume University, 22.05.2015

  • iv

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 List of Abbreviations ...................................................................................................... 4

    1.2 Research Objectives ...................................................................................................... 5

    1.3 Research Questions ....................................................................................................... 6

    1.4 Unit of Analysis .............................................................................................................. 6

    1.5 Knowledge Contributions to Existing Research ............................................................ 7

    1.6 Practical and Social Contributions ................................................................................. 7

    1.7 Disposition of the Study ................................................................................................ 8

    2. Theoretical Framework ....................................................................................................... 10

    2.1 Projects ........................................................................................................................ 10

    2.2 Project Management ................................................................................................... 11

    2.3 Project Success and the Factor School ........................................................................ 12

    2.4 Project Success Criteria ............................................................................................... 15

    2.4.1 The Development of Project Success Criteria ..................................................... 16

    2.4.2 The Current State of Project Success Criteria ..................................................... 18

    2.4.3 A Framework of Project Success Criteria ............................................................ 22

    2.5 Critical Success Factors................................................................................................ 26

    2.5.1 The Development of Critical Success Factors in Project Management ............... 28

    2.5.2 Current State of Research on Critical Success Factors ........................................ 29

    2.5.3 The Project Implementation Profile (PIP) ........................................................... 32

    2.6 Startup Companies ...................................................................................................... 34

    2.6.1 Organizational Life-Cycle Theory ......................................................................... 35

    2.6.2 Distinctive Features of Different Stages .............................................................. 36

    2.6.3 Different Definitions and Connection to Entrepreneurial Orientation ............... 39

    2.6.4 Startup Framework Factors ................................................................................. 40

    2.7 Project Management Research in Startups................................................................. 42

    2.8 Summary of the Theoretical Framework .................................................................... 43

    3. Research Methodology ....................................................................................................... 45

    3.1 Reflection on the Choice of Literature ........................................................................ 45

    3.2 Research philosophy ................................................................................................... 47

    3.3 Ontology ...................................................................................................................... 47

    3.4 Epistemology ............................................................................................................... 47

    3.5 Research Approach ..................................................................................................... 48

    3.6 Research Strategy ........................................................................................................ 50

  • v

    3.7 Data Collection ............................................................................................................ 51

    3.8 Interview Design .......................................................................................................... 53

    3.9 Participant Selection and Participants ........................................................................ 55

    3.10 Quality Criteria ............................................................................................................ 57

    3.10.1 Reliability ............................................................................................................. 57

    3.10.2 Generalizability .................................................................................................... 58

    3.10.3 Validity ................................................................................................................. 58

    3.11 Ethical Considerations ................................................................................................. 59

    3.12 Data analysis ................