The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management


Management of projects

prof management


The management of projects (MoP) extends the domain of project management beyond its traditional execution focus. It addresses the strategic development of projects at the front-end, that is, prior to project sanction and execution, and is particularly concerned with the effects of, and the need to influence, project context. It is especially interested in project leadership and in improving project effectiveness: hence topics such as strategy alignment and development, success measures, value enhancement and benefits management figure strongly. In doing this, it provides a vital link between enterprise management and project, program and portfolio management (P³M) as well as being concerned about new, innovative issues such as Agile.

It is particularly interested in how, and where, PM [MoP/ P³M] is focused: its areas of application. It is especially interested in the contribution that MoP/ P³M can, and should, be making to addressing society's broader challenges, such as climate change, the provision of new infrastructure or the application of new technologies; or in improving organizational performance.

Its work is rigorous. It employs a range of methodological approaches, applied in large measure according to the nature of the problem domain. Staff are active publishers and the School is internationally recognised as 'world leading' in this area.


A broad range of projects has been conducted. Notable examples that illustrate the range include those listed below.

Open Planning for Operationally Ready Acute Healthcare Estate: a multi-factorial framework. Phil Astley (Principal Investigator) Commissioned under the Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC) programme and funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

Developing a Health & Safety Culture. Professor Hedley Smyth (Principal Investigator) with Dr Aeli Roberts, John Kelsey and Adam Wilson. Commissioned and funded by Brookfield Europe.

Scoping Study for a Client-driven, Knowledge-based Industry. Professor Peter Morris (Principal Investigator), Professor Andrew Edkins and Professor Hedley Smyth. Commissioned and Funded by the National Platform.

Managing Bridge Maintenance Projects Using Neuro-Fuzzy Systems - BRIMS. Taha Elhag (Principal Investigator). Funded with an EPSRC Grant.

Procurement for Innovation: Developing a Framework for Continuous Innovation Diffusion and Knowledge Transfer through Integrative Procurement Systems - ProFIK. Taha Elhag (Principal Investigator) and Tabarak Ballal (University of Reading). Funded with an EPSRC Grant.

Roll-out of Sustainability Legislation and Best Practice. David Adamson (Principal Investigator), Professor Peter Morris, Professor Andrew Edkins, Dr Stephen Pryke and Professor Hedley Smyth. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) through UrbanBuzz.

Demonstration Projects and Corporate Support for Best Practice Knowledge Management and Dissemination. Professor Hedley Smyth (Principal Investigator) and Raymond Olayinka. Funded by Government through a Knowledge Transfer

Partnership with Constructing Excellence. An Analytical and Comparative Study of Construction Procurement and Management Strategies in Liaoning Province, North East China. Dr Stephen Pryke. Funded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

An Analytical Anglo/French Comparative Study of Construction Procurement and Management Strategies. Dr Stephen Pryke and conducted as a collaborative study with GTM Vinci in Paris. Funded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Revising the APM Body of Knowledge. Professor Peter Morris (Principal Investigator) with Ashley Jamieson. Funded by the Association of Project Management (APM).

Moving from Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy Professor Peter Morris (Principal Investigator) with Ashley Jamieson. Funded by the Project Management Institute (PMI).


The area of work has been developed from the seminal work of Professor Peter Morris and led by him over the three decades. His work has particularly focused upon the project management bodies of knowledge, knowledge management and recently around "2050 sustainability" issues. Dr Stephen Pryke has led the work on supply chain management using social network analysis. Professor Andrew Edkins and Dr Taha Elhag contribute expertise. Dr Joana Geraldi has joined this research team from Cranfield University. They are supported by others, including David Adamson, Dr Aeli Roberts, Dr Hedley Smyth, John Kelsey and Ioanna Kougia. 


Outputs take several forms: reports to funding organisations and industry, academic outputs and practical tools and guidance for industry. A sample of recent outputs is listed below. Further outputs can be traced following staff links.

Morris, P.W.G., Pinto, J. and Söderlund, J. (2011) Oxford Handbook on the Management of Projects, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Astley, P. Open Scenario Planning and its Application to Emergency & Urgent Care, HaCIRIC Report.

Geraldi, J. G. and Adlbrecht, G. (2007) On faith, fact and interaction in projects, Project Management Journal, 38 (1), 32-43.

Müller, R., Geraldi, J. and Turner, R. (In Press 2011) Relationships between leadership and success in different types of project complexities, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management Review.

Morris, P. W. G. and Geraldi, J. (In Press 2011) Managing the institutional context for projects, Project Management Journal.

Kelsey, J. M., Roberts, A., Smyth, H. J. and Wilson, A. (2010) Culture and Health &
Safety, Report for Brookfield Europe, School of Construction and Project Management, UCL, London.

Smyth, H. J. (2010) Construction Industry Performance Improvement Programmes: the UK case of Demonstration Projects in the "Continuous Improvement" programme, Construction Management and Economics, 28 (3), 255-270.

Pryke, S. D. (2009) Construction Supply Chain Management: Concepts and Case Studies, Blackwell, Oxford.

Anvuur, A. M. and Kumaraswamy, M. M. (2008) Better collaboration through cooperation, Collaborative relationships in construction: developing frameworks and networks, Smyth, H. and Pryke, S. (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp.107-128.

Edkins, A. E., Morris, P. W. G. and Smyth, H. J. (2008) Building a Client-Orientated, Knowledge-Based, Value-Driven Industry, National Platform, Constructing Excellence, London; and on http://www.nationalplatform.org.uk.

Pryke, S. D. (2007) An analytical Anglo-French comparative study of construction procurement and management strategies, RICS Research paper series, Vol. 7, RICS, London.

Elhag, T.M.S. and Wang, Y.M. (2007) Risk assessment for bridge maintenance projects: neural networks versus regression techniques, ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, 21 (6), 402-409.

Morris, P. W. G., Crawford, L, Hodgson, D., Shepherd, M. M. and Thomas, J. Exploring the Role of Formal Bodies of Knowledge in Defining a Profession - the case of Project Management, International Journal of Project Management, 24, 710-721.

Morris, P. W. G., Jamieson, H. A. J., and Shepherd, M. M. (2006) Research updating the APM Body of Knowledge 4th edition, International Journal of Project Management, 24, 461-473.

Edkins, A. J. and Smyth, H. J. (2006) Contractual Management in PPP Projects: Evaluation of Legal versus Relational Contracting for Service Delivery, ASCE Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 132 (1), 82-93.

Morris, P.W.G., Jamieson, H. A. J., and Shepherd, M. M. (2006) Research updating the APM Body of Knowledge 4th edition, International Journal of Project Management, 24, 461-473.

Pryke, S. D. and Smyth, H. J. (2006) Management of Complex Projects: A Relationship Approach, Blackwell, Oxford.

Elhag, T.M.S., Boussabaine, A.H. and Ballal, T.M.A. (2005) Critical Determinants of Construction Tendering Costs: Quantity Surveyors’ Standpoint, International Journal of Project Management, 23 (7), 538 - 545.

Morris, P.W.G. and Pinto, J. (2004) The Wiley Guide to the Management of Projects, John Wiley, New York. Morris, P.W.G. and Jamieson, A. Revising the APM Body of Knowledge. APM.

Morris, P.W.G. and Jamieson, A. Moving from Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy. PMI. 


Research on the management of projects has had serial impacts at the level of firms,

project sectors and institutions, furthering academic knowledge and influence on practice through teaching. An impact case upon The Body of Knowledge for Project Management is provided below as an illustration.

Impact has been over a sustained period (1984 to date) research, led by Professor Peter Morris, first at Oxford, later at Manchester, finally at UCL. The research has re-defined the paradigm through which the professional project management community perceive the domain - the discipline - of project management to be. This architecture of knowledge is what the professional project management community terms 'the Body of Knowledge' (BoK). Project Management BoKs exist essentially in four locations: UK, USA, Japan, and 'internationally'. The UK BoK serves some 15,000 p.m. members; the US serves about 375,000; the Japanese about 10,000; and the international about 50,000.

A phenomenal amount of work and number of people have been involved in producing these project management BoKs. A conservative estimate would be about 36,000 hours of practitioners' time, in over 80 countries.

As is explained below, the US BoK (the project management paradigm) was published first but, following the research described here, all subsequent BoK work (bar the American and Australian) has followed the UCL model.

The timeline is as follows:-

1984-87: The basis of the research is the investigation into the success and failure of major projects, published as "The Anatomy of Major Projects" Morris & Hough (1987).

1990-91: Drafting by Morris of the APM's Body of Knowledge (1st edition)(APM, 1990) using theoretical framework derived from Morris & Hough (1987).

1996-97: The International Project Management Association - the association of over 50 national project management professional bodies - adopts APM's Body of Knowledge as the basis of their Body of Knowledge/ Competency Baseline.

1998-99: Major review of 'what topics project managers think they should be knowledgeable about' leads to revision of APM's Body of Knowledge (4th edition)(APM, 1999) - papers published.

2003: UCL launches two MSc programmes based on APM's Body of Knowledge 'management of projects' framework: average throughput is over 40 students p.a. for these two courses and approximately 70 students p.a. including the MSc in Construction Economics and Management.

2004: Major publication "The Wiley Guide to Managing Projects" explicitly promotes the 'management of projects' framework.

2006: 'Management of projects' framework used as input for assessing government project management (p.m.) competencies.

2000-10: 'Management of projects' framework used as for assessing p.m. maturity for many companies - AstraZeneca, BA, BG, BP, Camelot, Ericsson, FKI, GSK, Hamworthy, Magnox, National Australia Bank, Pfizer, PowerGen, Premier Oil, Procter & Gamble, Rolls-Royce and Spirent among others.

2004: Second major review of 'what topics project managers think they should be knowledgeable about' leads to revision of APM's Body of Knowledge (5th edition)(APM, 1999) - papers published.

2005: Morris recipient of the Project Management Institute's Research Achievement Award; 2008 APM's Sir Monty Finniston Life Time Achievement Award; 2009 of IPMA's Research Award - the only person to date to be so honoured by all three of the principal project management professional societies.

2010: Morris, Smyth and Geraldi all of SCPM, edit/ contribute to "The Oxford Handbook of Project Management" - state of knowledge publication in the field - first truly research-driven such book.

2010-11: Morris in lead editorial group for Body of Knowledge (6th edition revision).

2010: Chartered Institute of Building issue a 'Construction Management' framework which is remarkably similar to 'the management of projects' one.

The research development path is set out below:-

Public interest in project management began really in the late 1960s. The discipline was then strongly systems- and tools-based, often heavily bureaucratised, and essentially middle management in character. Slowly, project management 'professional' associations matured into semi-professional bodies. One of the attributes of professionals is evidence of the mastery of a distinct body of knowledge leading to a 'license to practice' - Certification. This obviously implies some definition of the knowledge area, a path mooted within the US professional body (PMI) in the mid 1970s. As a result, in 1983 PMI published its Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) leading to its certification program. Certification has proven incredibly popular and the PMBOK Guide® has become concomitantly enormously influential. As of March 2010, there were over 3 million copies of the PMBOK Guide® in circulation with 375,959 people certificated by PMI as PMPs (Project Management Professionals). All over the world people (though by no means everyone) recognise PMBOK® as the model of project management. Yet there are several problems with it, not least that it has several important omissions, such as no treatment at all of: strategy, value, and benefits; or of some people issues (roles, such as the sponsor; and 'behaviours' such as leadership); technology management; estimating; and various matters relating to procurement (for example, partnering). Above all, the model of project management represented by PMBOK® is one of delivery execution: one where the requirements are defined, where the cost, schedule, scope and other targets have been set. It completely misses the developmental nature of project front-end management.

Between 1985 and 1987 Morris reviewed the performance of 1,653 projects. This showed that typical sources of difficulty lay well beyond the topics identified in the PMBOK model of project management. As a result, a new model was developed - known colloquially as 'the management of projects' model - focused around aligning the project strategy with the sponsor's; managing technology; influencing stakeholders; establishing an appropriate commercial platform; scheduling and budgeting the work; identifying risks, value creation opportunities and benefits realisation; demonstrating leadership and building teamwork; and ensuring appropriate governance and control; and doing all this in the project definition stage as well as in the down-stream execution phases. Subsequent analyses have confirmed the appropriateness of this broader model, which is now widely accepted by industry and academia - though, as can be seen from the previous paragraph, not by everyone.

Over 50 nations now follow 'the management of projects' model for conceptualising the domain of project management.

Several universities now follow the model - Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Cranfield, Imperial College, Reading, Southampton, Oxford, Stanford, Penn State, Linköping, Umeå, Berlin, Hamburg, Lyon, Lille, and Sydney amongst others.

Grants related to this work include:-

Rethinking Project Management EPSRC: January 2005.

Revising the APM Body of Knowledge Association for Project Management: January 2004.

Project Management Body of Knowledge APM, AMEC, Bechtel, Duhig Berry, Marconi, Unilever, Unisys: January 1998.

Some of the key outputs not listed earlier pertaining to BoK development and impact include:-

Morris, P. W. G. (2001) Updating The Project Management Bodies Of Knowledge, Project Management Journal, 32 (3), 21-30.

Morris, P. W. G. and Dixon, M. (2000) The new APM Body of Knowledge, Paper at IPMA World Congress, May, London.

Morris, P. W. G., Patel, M. B. and Wearne, S. H. (2000) Research into revising the APM Project Management Body of Knowledge, International Journal of Project Management, 18 (3).

Morris, P. W. G. (2000) Benchmarking project management Bodies of Knowledge, IRNOP Conference, January, Sydney.

Morris, P. W. G. (1999) What project managers need to know IEE Review, 45 (4), 173-175.

Morris, P. W. G., Caupin, G., Möetzel, H., and Pannenbacker, O. (1999) The International Competency Baseline, International Project Management Association, Zurich.

Morris, P. W. G. (1994) The Management of Projects, Thomas Telford, London.

Morris, P. W. G. (1990) The Strategic Management of Projects, Technology in Society, 12, 197-215.

Morris, P. W. G. and Hough, G. (1987) The Anatomy of Major Projects, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.