This requires several assumptions (Hofstede, 1978): that there is a performance standard that can be defined and measured; that there is a causal relation between management actions and project outcomes; and that management actions can return the project to the desired state.
However, without a theory that explains the explicit relations between observables, there is no guarantee that any specific action by a project manager will fix, or even affect, the observable in question.
Thus, we are able to establish a relation between the theoretical structure of the project and practical quantities, such as the cost and schedule.
Different theoretical structures behave differently over time.
Paper presented at Project Management Institute Research and Education Conference, Phoenix, AZ. It is rarely explained that the ubiquitous estimate at completion (EAC) assumes a linear cumulative labor curve.
Project management theory: deriving a project's cost and schedule for its network structure.
Both Turner (1993) and Koskela and Howell (2002) observe there is little to report on theories of project management and that either there are none, or it is not believed they are significant.
For schedule estimation, therefore, one might argue that there is not even an "implicit and narrow" theory.
We address these issues by proposing a formal theory and begin with the assumption, which was highlighted by both Turner (1993) and Koskela & Howell (2002), that project activities are related by sequential dependencies.
We add this inter-relatedness of activities to the definition of a project, which we consider as a system.
From this we inherit theoretically powerful concepts, such as observables, which, we propose, in the project management context are quantities such as the cost and schedule.