How New Technology can Overcome the Barriers in Virtual Project Management

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Product development (MPPDE), MSc
Björk, Jasmine
Hallberg, Ellinor
In line with the increased digitalization and globalization of organizations, new demands emerge regarding how team members manage the work and information flow in an efficient way. This Master’s Thesis covers an investigation of barriers in virtual project management, along with an analysis of existing digital tools that possibly can be used to overcome the identified barriers. The project was conducted at the global automotive organization, Volvo Group, which was used as a case company for the investigations. The literature research showed that most of the identified barriers when working digital are connected to the organizational culture and trust. To support the virtual work, new management skills and tools are required. The implementation of digital tools creates greater opportunities for sharing and re-use knowledge and experience in the organization, which in turn could lead to a more resource-efficient way of working, to sustain competitiveness. The research also stated that it becomes even more important when working in virtual teams to focus on the methods and processes, before the implementation of a digital tool can be performed. The existing barriers within a Case Project at the Case Company were investigated by interviews, observations, and surveys. The investigation resulted in a list of identified barriers, as well as a requirement specification list with functions that a software would require to be able to overcome the identified barriers. Further on, existing digital software were investigated and evaluated with the use of the requirement specification list. None of the existing digital tools was able to fulfill all the listed requirements. A conclusion was made that a tool might not be able to fulfill all the functions, but could still be useful and create value for the organization if the tool consists of the functions with the highest priority. Most of the identified barriers had their roots in the organizational culture and norms of how to act in a virtual environment. With the increased digitalization the Case Company has tried to adapt and use old processes and methods in the new digital way of working, which in turn led to a wide range of digital tools, miss-matches, and variations in the work. Hence, the company needs to put the primary focus on the methods and processes, and secondly on the implementation of a digital tool.
virtual project management, digitalization, knowledge management, , lean, agile, cross-functional, new technology, software, tools
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