IPMA International Project Management Association
15 June 2017 / 5:25

Impressions from the IRNOP 2017 conference – Developing new knowledge in project management

By Yvonne Schoper and Helgi Ingason

One of the most relevant international research conferences in project management is the bi-annual IRNOP (International Research Network on Organizing by Projects). This year IRNOP took place at Boston University from June 11 – 14. IPMA was one the conference sponsors and also sponsored the best paper award.

IRNOP is network that connects scholars and researcher from all over the world who share a passion for projects, project organizing and temporary organisations. This network was founded in 1993 and held its bi-annual conferences, in Europe, Australia, China, Canada and  now for the first time in USA.

The topic of this year’s IRNOP was “The Modern Project: Mindsets, Toolsets, and Theoretical Frameworks.” More than 75 presentations were given in three tracks, in addition to keynote speeches and a plenary session. A good impression of the main focus areas and a complete conference brocure can be downloaded from http://irnopboston.org.

The conference had 24 different tracks, focusing on topics like Mega-projects, Time Cost & Value, Stakeholder management, Programs & Portfolio or Agile Project Management. The editors of the five academic project management journals presented the aims and scope of their specific journals, which are quite different from one journal to another. For instance, the IJPM aims to focus in the future on organisational behaviour, PMJ focuses on innovations but also on PM careers , IJMPB on the implementation of project management in business and innovativeness  and PMRP on how projects and their management can affect meaningful, social responsible change in societies.

The plenary session on theory development in project management revealed that so far there is not a singular theory behind project management. It must be stated that the major competence baselines in project management are so far not based nor built on academic research but rather on the perspectives and experience of the practitioners. As a consequence, the discipline of project management still struggles with being recognised as an independent, meaningful and ambitious academic discipline.

The winner of the best paper awards is Hedley Smyth for the paper “Projects as preconditions: Creating the preconditions for routinized operations in use”. The winner of the best student paper awards is Maude Brunet for the paper “The Governence of Major Public Infrastructure projects”.

The next IRNOP conference will be held in Melbourne Australia in December 2018.

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Helgi Thor Ingason

Author of this post

Helgi Thor Ingason holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, MSc from the University of Iceland and a SAPM degree from Stanford University. He is a Certified Senior Project Manager by IPMA. Dr. Ingason is an professor at Reykjavik University. He is the co-author of 6 books on management in Icelandic and English. He is a management consultant and a member of the Research Management Board of IPMA.