Application of Experimental Research to Project Portfolio Management

Mario Arlt

Experimental research has been successfully applied in economics and other social sciences for decades. As project and portfolio management research has evolved and increasingly focuses on behavioral and decision aspects, experimentation can be a useful tool for both inductive and deductive research. Research principles, validity of findings, ethics concerns and the research process of human subject experimentation are discussed, as the approach is adopted, based on the experiences gathered in Economics research. Furthermore, an example for an experimental research effort in project portfolio management in the format of an A-B test of three propositions is provided, including a detailed discussion of the experimental planning and design, specific ethics considerations, the conducting of the actual experiment in a laboratory setting and the analysis of findings to illustrate the benefits of the approach. Lastly, experiences and lessons learned from the use of experimental validation in the PPM context are shared.