Renee Škulić named 2017 best young PM researcher in Croatia



Young researcher from University of Rijeka wins coveted recognition

10 January 2018 – IPMA Young Crew Croatia has announced the winners of their annual Project Management Awards for 2017.  The award for Best young researcher in the field of project management went to Renee Škulić, a 24 year old young woman from Rijeka, Croatia. She graduated in July 2017 from the University of Rijeka, Faculty of tourism and hospitality Management in the top 10% of her graduating class. The award was announced at a ceremony in Zagreb on 9 December 2017.

Since October 2017 Renee works as the expert associate in the Centre for EU projects on the same Faculty. Her bachelor’s thesis (The importance of Goals Setting for a successful project realization) and master’s thesis (Virtual Project Teams as a Feature of Contemporary Business) were both related to project management and with her master’s thesis she won the prize of the best young researcher in the field of project management under the Project Management Awards by the IPMA Young Crew Croatia. She is a project management enthusiast and will stream to develop her career in the field of project management.

Renee Škulić (on right) with friend Tina Gojak; photo courtesy of Young Crew Croatia

Award winning research

With the increasing globalization and development of communication technologies, more and more people work in multifunctional, geographically distributed teams. The challenges of virtual project teams’ operations are to create trust among members and to choose the right information communication technology. Based on the aforementioned, a survey was conducted with the aim of obtaining specific data. Research questions that were being explored and verified are: Are virtual project teams a feature of contemporary business, is it more difficult to gain trust in virtual teams than in traditional ones, and can, once that the high level of trust is achieved within the team, a virtual project team be as efficient as the traditional one.

The above mentioned research questions have been empirically proven in the research part of the paper. The research was conducted through an online survey that contained 23 questions and covered 5 research areas. Most questions contained statements with which the respondents had to agree with according the Likert scale of five degrees. The sample consists of business consultants for projects and 90% of them usually work in virtual teams within which most of them carry out the duties of project managers. The research has shown that virtual teams require a significant level of trust between virtual team members and that the impossibility to read nonverbal signs is one of the greatest challenges for this type of team. In exploring the effectiveness of virtual teams, the respondents believe there are no significant differences in the issue compared to traditional teams.

Furthermore, the research has shown that sophisticated communication technology improves collaboration within virtual teams, and that the defined communication plan contributes to the success of virtual teams. The respondents for everyday communication with team members mostly use e-mail and phone. The conducted research has resulted in project management contributions through understanding of the general features of virtual project teams, understanding the importance of trust and collaboration for virtual and traditional teams, and through various findings related to ICT and effectiveness in virtual project teams. Contributions to this paper can also be found in defining the methodological approach to researching this interesting issue within the project management. The application of defined methodologies in other researches and other samples of respondents would increase the comparability of results and their generalization.

Practical contribution to the work relates to the fact that the research results point to project managers on which elements to pay more attention and invest more effort while leading virtual project teams (and partly traditional ones). The conducted research and the obtained results represent a foundation for future research regarding the virtual project teams. It can be concluded that the virtual project teams have more room for improvement, and after realizing the potential of improving virtual team operations, and after implementing them in practice, high quality virtual project teams could become the key competitive advantage of each organization.

Young Crew Croatia (YCC) is a part of IPMA Young Crew, the global network for young professionals enthusiastic about project management. It is a platform for young project management professionals and students up to the age of 35 and it is a key component of IPMA’s growth and development of the leaders of tomorrow. Young Crew is a part of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).

IPMA Young Crew is a key component of IPMA’s growth and development of leaders of tomorrow. Young Crew is an active network of young professional project managers and students aged 25 to 35 who believe in community and the building of a worldwide young professional project management family. With over 20 member countries, IPMA Young Crew provides experiential learning through interaction and information exchange among young project managers. For more information visit www.ipma.ch/young-crew/

Founded in 1965 and registered in Switzerland, the IPMA is the oldest global project management professional organization. IPMA is an international federation of 60+ national project management societies in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. For further information navigate to www.ipma.world