An Application of Focus Theory to Project Management Processes

Fang Chen, Jay F Nunamaker, Robert O. Briggs, Gail Corbitt, James Sager, Stanley C. Gardiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents the findings of an exploratory study of the degree to which Focus Theory, a general theory about group productivity, can be used to improve the productivity of project management activities. Guided by the theory and the principles of collaboration engineering, we developed a collaborative template for project progress status reporting. We evaluated the template in both face-to-face and distributed group interactions. The study indicated that a collaborative template helped structure status reporting activity and provided a permanent record of project status for future reference. As a result, it was efficient and effective for team leaders to prepare topics for project status meetings by using the template. The meetings became focused on topics outlined on the template and meeting participants commented that the meeting record helped them keep track of what had been either accomplished or decided. The major limitation observed for use of the template was that, when used in distributed and synchronous interactions, it needed to be augmented by voice communication because communication in text-only format, as provided by the template, was too time-consuming. We discuss implications of the research outcomes with respect to the usefulness and limitations of Focus Theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-978
Number of pages18
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

project management
Project management
Productivity
Group theory
Speech communication
productivity
group interaction
communication
Communication
leader
engineering
Management process
Template
interaction
Group

Keywords

  • Collaboration engineering
  • Focus Theory
  • Group Support Systems
  • Project management
  • Project process management
  • Project progress tracking
  • Virtual project
  • Virtual team

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

An Application of Focus Theory to Project Management Processes. / Chen, Fang; Nunamaker, Jay F; Briggs, Robert O.; Corbitt, Gail; Sager, James; Gardiner, Stanley C.

In: Group Decision and Negotiation, Vol. 23, No. 5, 2014, p. 961-978.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chen, Fang ; Nunamaker, Jay F ; Briggs, Robert O. ; Corbitt, Gail ; Sager, James ; Gardiner, Stanley C. / An Application of Focus Theory to Project Management Processes. In: Group Decision and Negotiation. 2014 ; Vol. 23, No. 5. pp. 961-978.
@article{e5afed1a74b046ac9aa7d6c87f11c120,
title = "An Application of Focus Theory to Project Management Processes",
abstract = "This article presents the findings of an exploratory study of the degree to which Focus Theory, a general theory about group productivity, can be used to improve the productivity of project management activities. Guided by the theory and the principles of collaboration engineering, we developed a collaborative template for project progress status reporting. We evaluated the template in both face-to-face and distributed group interactions. The study indicated that a collaborative template helped structure status reporting activity and provided a permanent record of project status for future reference. As a result, it was efficient and effective for team leaders to prepare topics for project status meetings by using the template. The meetings became focused on topics outlined on the template and meeting participants commented that the meeting record helped them keep track of what had been either accomplished or decided. The major limitation observed for use of the template was that, when used in distributed and synchronous interactions, it needed to be augmented by voice communication because communication in text-only format, as provided by the template, was too time-consuming. We discuss implications of the research outcomes with respect to the usefulness and limitations of Focus Theory.",
keywords = "Collaboration engineering, Focus Theory, Group Support Systems, Project management, Project process management, Project progress tracking, Virtual project, Virtual team",
author = "Fang Chen and Nunamaker, {Jay F} and Briggs, {Robert O.} and Gail Corbitt and James Sager and Gardiner, {Stanley C.}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1007/s10726-012-9323-5",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "961--978",
journal = "Group Decision and Negotiation",
issn = "0926-2644",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - An Application of Focus Theory to Project Management Processes

AU - Chen, Fang

AU - Nunamaker, Jay F

AU - Briggs, Robert O.

AU - Corbitt, Gail

AU - Sager, James

AU - Gardiner, Stanley C.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - This article presents the findings of an exploratory study of the degree to which Focus Theory, a general theory about group productivity, can be used to improve the productivity of project management activities. Guided by the theory and the principles of collaboration engineering, we developed a collaborative template for project progress status reporting. We evaluated the template in both face-to-face and distributed group interactions. The study indicated that a collaborative template helped structure status reporting activity and provided a permanent record of project status for future reference. As a result, it was efficient and effective for team leaders to prepare topics for project status meetings by using the template. The meetings became focused on topics outlined on the template and meeting participants commented that the meeting record helped them keep track of what had been either accomplished or decided. The major limitation observed for use of the template was that, when used in distributed and synchronous interactions, it needed to be augmented by voice communication because communication in text-only format, as provided by the template, was too time-consuming. We discuss implications of the research outcomes with respect to the usefulness and limitations of Focus Theory.

AB - This article presents the findings of an exploratory study of the degree to which Focus Theory, a general theory about group productivity, can be used to improve the productivity of project management activities. Guided by the theory and the principles of collaboration engineering, we developed a collaborative template for project progress status reporting. We evaluated the template in both face-to-face and distributed group interactions. The study indicated that a collaborative template helped structure status reporting activity and provided a permanent record of project status for future reference. As a result, it was efficient and effective for team leaders to prepare topics for project status meetings by using the template. The meetings became focused on topics outlined on the template and meeting participants commented that the meeting record helped them keep track of what had been either accomplished or decided. The major limitation observed for use of the template was that, when used in distributed and synchronous interactions, it needed to be augmented by voice communication because communication in text-only format, as provided by the template, was too time-consuming. We discuss implications of the research outcomes with respect to the usefulness and limitations of Focus Theory.

KW - Collaboration engineering

KW - Focus Theory

KW - Group Support Systems

KW - Project management

KW - Project process management

KW - Project progress tracking

KW - Virtual project

KW - Virtual team

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84905235400&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84905235400&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10726-012-9323-5

DO - 10.1007/s10726-012-9323-5

M3 - Article

VL - 23

SP - 961

EP - 978

JO - Group Decision and Negotiation

JF - Group Decision and Negotiation

SN - 0926-2644

IS - 5

ER -