Building project capabilities: from exploratory to exploitative learning

Tim Brady, Andrew Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a model of project capability-building consisting of two interacting levels of learning. First, it describes the bottom-up, ‘project-led’ phases of learning that occur when a firm moves into a new technology/market base: an exploratory ‘vanguard project’ phase; a ‘project-to-project’ phase to capture lessons learned; and a ‘project-to-organization’ phase when an organization increases its capabilities to deliver many projects. Second, it addresses the ‘business-led’ learning (within which the project-led learning is embedded) that occurs when ‘top-down’ strategic decisions are taken to create and exploit the company-wide resources and capabilities required to perform increasingly predictable and routine project activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1621
Number of pages21
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Projects
  • Learning
  • Resources
  • Capability
  • Strategy
  • Complex Product Systems (CoPS)


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