To date, little research exists on the actual costs and benefits of project management. Much of the information that exists is a product of advertising materials distributed through the project management firms. Little unbiased information regarding the value of project management exists. This research will provide an unbiased view of the benefits and costs of the project manager. Aviation managers will be able to use this information to make decisions about whether to use a project manager or whether to find another way to perform those duties that may be more cost effective.
This study will use quantitative analysis to determine if aviation officials feel that project managers represents an operational efficiency in terms of cost-effectiveness or if they represent inefficiency and waste. The research will use a survey methodology that will ask aviation manager's questions that will ask them to quantify both the tangible and intangible benefits of the project manager. There are several advantage and disadvantages to this method. This method poses several limitations that may affect the ability to apply the results to various circumstances that may exist in the industry.
This study will ask managers to quantify the benefits of project managers. It will ask them to reflect on past projects and provide their assessments of the benefits and costs associated with the project manager of that particular project. In this way, the project will serve as case analysis of the project in mind. Every project is different and the needs of the various companies will be different as well. Specific situations and conditions may exist that might influence the applicability of the results to future projects and to other companies. It is expected that the results will vary according to the sector of the aviation industry in which the company operates. Therefore, the results of the study will only be applicable to companies and situations that are similar to those used in the test analysis.
The study will use a survey technique that will include both quantitative and qualitative research questions. Quantitative research questions will provide the researcher with definitive yes/no answers to the value of the project manager. However, they will not be able to address all of the complexities of the subject matter. It is important to understand both the tangible and intangible benefits and costs of hiring a project manager. The quantitative research questions will focus on the tangible benefits and costs. Although this will provide a definitive answer to the research questions, they do not provide the level of knowledge that is necessary to address the primary research goals. The limitations of strictly quantitative research methods will not provide the ability to make an informed decision regarding the costs and benefits of the project manager.
In order to provide the most reliable and applicable information to aviation managers, many aspects of the research topic will be addressed using qualitative questions in the survey instrument, in addition to the quantitative instruments mentioned earlier. The use of qualitative information will allow for a more comprehensive examination of the research topic. However, qualitative research has its own set of inherent limitations.
Qualitative research methods are subject to biases in their interpretation and in the answers provided by the survey respondents. It is possible that the survey respondents may have personal or professional reasons for answering a certain way. They may intentionally or unintentionally represent their responses in a certain way out of fear of retribution or for some other reason. It is also possible that the researcher may introduce a source of bias in their interpretation of the study results. Both of these circumstances would place limits on the reliability and usefulness of the study results. The researcher must be aware of these potential biases in order to make attempts to spot them during the data analysis phase of the project.
Another factor that may limit the ability to interpret the data discovered during the study is that individual experiences with project managers may vary. These may be due to a number of factors, such as education and ability of the project manager. They may reflect personality conflicts or other problems that are not a reflection of the project management industry as a whole. Many of these factors will be difficult to detect and could serve as confounding variables in the research study. These are often beyond the scope of the research study and may be difficult to detect. It is expected that these individual circumstances will be reflected in one sample, but that they will not affect the entire sample population uniformly. Therefore, they can be detected through anomalous results, allowing that individual case to be examined more closely.
These limitations are not unique to this study and will be present in any study that addresses cases within a certain industry. However, they are not expected to prevent the ability to apply the results of the research study to the industry as a whole. Simply being aware that they are a possibility will allow the researcher to address them, should they arise. It is expected that the results of this study will provide a valuable tool upon which to make decisions about whether to hire a project manager in the aviation industry.
In very study, certain assumptions must be made in order to provide the foundation of the research to be undertaken. The first assumption of this study is that the companies being examined will be familiar with and will have worked with project managers. This assumption is based on the prevalence of project managers in the aviation industry. Using project managers is considered standard in the industry and it is not expected that one would find many in the industry that do not adhere to this standard.
It is also assumed that the managers being asked to respond to the survey will be objective and honest in their answers. We discussed their inability to be objective as a specific limitation to the applicability of the study results. However, it is assumed that this will not be the norm and that for a majority of the respondents; their answers will be objective and will represent their true attitudes and feelings regarding the project manager and their performance.
It is assumed that the reliability of the data sources will be reflective of the overall attitudes of the aviation profession. It is also assumed that the companies and managers chosen will be the industry "average" and that no special circumstances will exist in any significant amount in the study population so as to bias the study results. It is expected that the sample population will represent the norm in the industry.
Several factors may exist that might affect the accuracy of the data obtained. Items such as actual labor costs in the area, the local unemployment rate, taxes, local fuel costs, electrical generation costs and other such factors may influence the outcome of this study. These factors will be assumed to be affected by a normalizing affect due to the proximity in geographic location of the survey respondents. It is expected that companies operating in the same industry in the same geographic location will have similar costs associated with operation and project management.
Definition of Terms
Many of the terms used in this research study are standard and are universally understood by those in the industry. However, the scope of this study addresses a specific research question and population. The terms used in this study are common and being such, have come to mean different things to different people and in different circumstances. Therefore it is necessary to derive an operations definition for many of the terms that will be used throughout this study, specifically those that apply directly to the research study.
Aviation -- This term refers to those companies operating in the aviation field. They may
Include a number of specialties within the field, including manufacture, maintenance, airline companies, and airports. They include anyone involved in any aspect of the airline industry on a full-time basis.
Aviation Industry - The aviation industry refers to anyone involved in any direct or support role in the aviation and aerospace industry.
Consulting Company -- A consulting company, for the purposes of this study will be limited to those who perform project management services for the aviation industry. They may provide their services for short or long-term projects and will specialize in project management in the aviation industry.
Efficiency -- Efficiency will refer to efficient use of financial resources in the total operational management of the company. Efficiency will refer to financial resources only.
Intangible Costs and Benefits -- Whereas efficiency will refer to tangible costs and benefits of project management. Intangible costs and benefits will refer to those items that cannot be counted directly, but that have a measurable effect on the overall efficiency…