3.6 Conclusion

I asked the question at the beginning of this section on Sundanese gamelan music: how is it possible for a group of musicians to play highly complex music, in a cohesive manner, without the use of notation and without having to memorise impossibly large amounts of music? My answer came in a number of stages.

  1. Rather than reading, or memorising vast amounts of music, the musicians memorise the simple frameworks of pieces (the Javanese term for this, bal
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3 The Efficient Markets Hypothesis (EMH)

The classic statements of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis (or EMH for short) are to be found in Roberts (1967) and Fama (1970).

An ‘efficient’ market is defined as a market where there are large numbers of rational, profit ‘maximisers’ actively competing, with each trying to predict future market values of individual securities, and where important current information is almost freely available to all particip
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7.4 Avoiding decision traps

While it is not possible to change our human natures, it is possible to immunise ourselves to some extent against common decision traps. Useful strategies include:

  • Get in the habit of reframing problems. For example, if you are considering strategies for avoiding a loss of €10,000 try asking yourself if you would feel differently if you consider them as strategies for making a gain of €10,000.

  • Think about the information you have
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6.2 A rational-economic perspective on risk

A rational-economic perspective generally represents risk as a combination of the expected magnitude of a gain or loss, combined with some probability distribution of anticipated outcomes. Economic ideas of risk behaviour are founded largely on expected utility theory. Expected utility theory predicts that investors will always be risk averse. The shape of the utility curve (utility plotted against increasing wealth) is such that utility increases with wealth, but at a declining rate. This is
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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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3.2 Evaluation during the planning stage

Evaluation at this stage is usually concerned with whether plans represent good value for money. It may be appropriate to evaluate inputs to the project, to ensure that their quality and quantities are sufficient to achieve the objectives. In large building projects, many specialist tasks are subcontracted. Specifications are developed, and potential contractors are invited to tender for work. The element of competition can lead to problems if some tenderers are over-anxious to win contracts.
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1.2 What is handed over, and when?

Not all handovers are at the completion of a project. In some projects there might be several different types of handover, which happen at different stages. For example, the Tate Modern was built within the shell of a disused power station, and an early handover point was when the building was purchased and became the property of the Tate Trustees. Such a handover is significant when a building may present long-term problems (in this case, contamination from its previous uses).


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1.1 Formal handover

The outputs of a project should be defined at the planning stage, including any conditions that will be required for a smooth transfer. Each outcome should be formally handed over to the sponsor who should confirm their delivery (‘sign them off’) so that there is no dispute about whether outcomes have been completed.

A closure list is likely to have sections to include the following groups of tasks, but each project will have different features to consider. A list of suggested areas
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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the key components of project closure and their importance;

  • plan an effective project closure;

  • ensure that the project activities have been completed;

  • be alert to problems that may need to be resolved at the closure stage;

  • contribute to evaluating a project;

  • plan personal development to improve your performance in managing projects.


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7.1 Sharing the project

As we have seen, the execution of a project may depend on the involvement and co-operation of several departments or functions within an organisation. If this is the case, then, for it to succeed, they must be prepared to share ownership of the project, be willing to work together to help the project achieve its objectives and be happy to release adequate resources when appropriate. The project manager and their team therefore have to create and maintain good relationships with all interested
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6.1 Introduction

Buchanan and Badham (1999) suggest that political behaviour can be usefully evaluated against four criteria to help determine whether it is acceptable or whether it is not:

Four criteria to determine whether political behaviour is acceptable

  1. Is the behaviour e
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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • identify why managing people is an essential part of project management;

  • establish which people and groups of people are important for the success of a project and why;

  • explain what issues are at stake in managing them;

  • evaluate how particular groups of people involved in a project might best be handled;

  • recognise which skills are most important for managing people in proje
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9 Summary

The project brief is a summary of previous discussions and research. If there is earlier documentation, the project brief can refer to these documents and summarise the key points rather than repeat everything. For example, there may have been previous documentation outlining the business case for the project so that commitment could be gained in earlier stages of the decision-making process. Similarly, there may be documentation that outlines the background to the project and the reasons for
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7.3 Risk and contingency planning

Risk in projects may be defined as ‘an event or situation … which can endanger all or part of the project’

(Nickson and Siddons, 1997).

Risk management is fundamental to project management and has an impact on estimates of time and effort required for the project. It is concerned with assessing the kinds of risk associated with trying to make something happen, for example the possibil
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7.1 Consider the purpose

A project that meets an important need for your organisation will contribute towards meeting wider organisational targets. Consider the purpose – what will the project contribute that will further the goals of the organisation? It is often useful to discuss this with the project sponsor and to align the project objectives with the strategic objectives of the organisation. If the ‘fit’ of the project with the organisational direction is considered at an early stage, it might be possible
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4 Project inputs and outputs

A project involves the transformation of inputs into an output or product. For example, people's mental and physical efforts, bricks and mortar, equipment or materials might be transformed into a new road, a municipal park or an advertising campaign. Or perhaps transformed into a stream of outputs or products, for example, attendances at a conference or exhibition, state school places or data from a new in-house costing system.

The output or outputs might be used within the organisation
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3.2 Mind mapping

The term ‘Mind mapping’ was devised by Tony Buzan for the representation of ideas, notes, information, etc., in radial tree-diagrams – sometimes also called ‘spider diagrams’. These are now very widely used. Try a web search on ‘Buzan’, ‘mind map’ or ‘concept map’. Alternatively, you could try Compendium. This is open source software that allows you to create a variety of mind, concept or knowledge maps. For more information, please refer to our Author(s): The Open University

3.1 The idea

Essentially, any project begins with an idea. The idea is often one about how to do something that seems to be needed. Transforming ideas into projects begins with recognising the nature of this driving force:

Projects arise in order to meet human needs. A need emerges and is recognized, and the management determines whether a need is worth fulfilling. If it is, a project is organized to satisfy the need. Thus, nee
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1.2 What is expected from projects?

  • The project may be expected to deliver financial benefits to the organisation.

  • In the public sector projects are usually expected to lead to social, economic and political outcomes.

All projects are different. The level of complexity differs and the context in which a project exists will affect it. There is no single right way to manage a project. All projects have customers.

There are three key dimensions to a projec
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3 Conclusion

This unit has introduced a series of ideas that relate to campaigning and how organisations can adapt their outlook in order to achieve their campaigning goals.


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