Imperfections-as-practice: Projects as Becoming Processes of Imperfections

Sunny Mosangzi Xu*, Marcel L. A. M. Bogers

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article provides an alternative conceptualization of a project as a series of becoming processes of imperfections. Through a longitudinal ethnography of a Research and Innovation Project, our study uncovers that imperfections emerged as uncertainty, ambiguity, unknown, and emergence over time. These emerging imperfections enacted project managers to focus on retaining, reframing, exploring, and embracing the project in time. Our findings advocate an imperfections-as-practice approach, which extends the projects-as-practice perspective by focusing on emerging imperfections. Following this, we suggest imperfect project management thinking, which allows project actors to embrace imperfections and make a project become successful.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProject Management Journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Published online: December 19, 2023.


  • Project success
  • Project imperfections
  • Projects-as-practice
  • imperfections-as-practice
  • Over time
  • In time
  • Ethnography

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