Exploratory study into the application of formal project management methodology within the higher-level education sector in Ireland

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O'Donnell, Gregory
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MBA in Project Management
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this research study is to review the current application of Project Management Methodologies (PMM) within Irish Higher Education Institutions (IHEI) to ascertain the extent of its use, the benefits it can deliver and the rationale for its implementation, or not, within IHEIs. With the growing utilisation of the Project Management Office (PMO) across industry the research aims to ascertain if IHEIs had considered or indeed adopted a PMO. Such a study is important in order to ascertain the level of implementation of Project Management (PM), PMM and the PMO within IHEIs which are facing into an increasingly complex environment with studies, such as National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, outlining the opportunities and threats facing the sector. The research approach adopted in this dissertation is an interpretivist research philosophy using an inductive approach, based on grounded theory. The findings of this research is that PM is implemented in a number of institutions and that those institutions not currently utilising PM see it as worthwhile in the future. The main conclusions drawn from this study is that PM is accepted as a viable solution to the challenges facing IHEI and that it is already implemented in those institutions that face governance or compliance issues due to sources of income and regulations. PMO’s are not currently part of the PM process and apart from one case where a limited PMO is being considered, PMO’s are not seen as beneficial to the institutions The dissertation recommends that further research is undertaken into the area of PM within IHEI and that bodies such as the PMI and Enterprise Ireland should be leading the effort to create PM templates for use within all institutions to ensure best practice.