Beyond Failure and Success: A Process View on Imperfect Projects as Common Practice

Alfons van Marrewijk*, Iben Stjerne, Jörg Sydow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientificpeer-review

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This editorial scrutinizes the dichotomy of a project’s success and failure, which, in our opinion is too rigid, inflexible, and unnuanced. The aim of this special issue is to nuance this dichotomy by moving toward a process view on how imperfection is brought about in projects. We introduce and discuss five topics important for such a process view: (1) improvisation, (2) temporality, (3) power and politics, (4) transition, and (5) intentionality. We argue that a holistic, processual view of imperfections premises emergence and continuous learning and judgments of the project both in and over time. All five articles in this special issue deal with at least one of the discussed themes of our proposed process view on imperfect projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalProject Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • failure
  • imperfect project
  • learning
  • process
  • success


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