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Improving research labs’ performance through project management guidelines: a case study analysis

Pacheco Junior, MA and Anholon, R and Rampasso, IS and Leal Filho, W (2020) Improving research labs’ performance through project management guidelines: a case study analysis. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. ISSN 1741-0401

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Abstract

© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The article aims to critically analyze the project management developed by research laboratories of a Brazilian university in order to enhance their performance. For this, a critical analysis was performed to identify existing opportunities about the management of schedules and resources. Additionally, a software was developed to enable performance improvement. Design/methodology/approach: The methodological procedures used were literature review, for a theoretical foundation, and case study conducted with semi-structured interviews, documentary research and on-site visits. Through a detailed critical analysis of the laboratories' management, it was possible to understand the activities developed and map the main difficulties observed. Findings: A total of five plausible points of improvement were identified, namely reduced teams and accumulation of activities; team seasonality; centralized management; deviations from projects and schedule control. Based on the theoretical foundation, it has been proposed adjustments to minimize the mentioned difficulties that can greatly contribute for better management efficiency of multiple research projects. In addition, a software was structured based on the proposed improvements. The laboratories' performance was monitored for a month and significant improvements were observed. Practical implications: The information presented here may be of great value to other researchers interested in enhancing research laboratory performance. Originality/value: The academic literature presents several examples of project management guidelines application in different organizations; however, there are few studies about the application of them in research laboratories and how to improve their performance.

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