Project Management in the Swiss Federal Administration

This thesis investigates the decision-making process regarding the project management method in the Swiss Federal Administration. It examines the integration of agile practices into the HERMES framework and highlights the impact of organizational experience and project complexity on these decisions.

Project Management in the Swiss Federal Administration
The Federal Palace in Bern, where many important decisions are made.


The evolving landscape of public administration requires consistent and flexible project management methods. This thesis examines the decision-making process within the Swiss Federal Administration regarding the choice of project management methods, with a particular focus on the adoption and implementation of the HERMES framework, which encompasses both classic and hybrid approaches. The thesis examines the criteria that influence the decision-making process regarding project management methods and the integration of agile practices in a traditionally structured environment. It is important to understand these dynamics as the Swiss Federal Administration continues to strive to improve its efficiency and adaptability in project management.


The topic is highly relevant as it addresses the practical challenges of deciding on and implementing appropriate project management methods in a complex public sector environment. Understanding the factors that influence these decisions can lead to more efficient and effective project outcomes, especially when integrating agile practices into traditional frameworks such as HERMES. This knowledge helps practitioners navigate the unique constraints of public administration and ensure that projects are delivered on time, on budget, and meet the needs of stakeholders, ultimately improving the delivery of public services.


The results show that the choice of project management method in the Swiss Federal Administration is mainly influenced by existing project experience. Criteria for the decision on the project management method are primarily the experience and maturity of the organization, the experience of the project manager and his team as well as the framework conditions and the complexity of the project. Although the HERMES framework provides a flexible basis, there are challenges to its consistent application, especially when integrating agile practices. The study highlights the need for ongoing training and a supportive culture to improve project management outcomes.

Implications for practitioners

  • Standardize decision-making: Develop clear and concise policies and decision trees to ensure consistency across departments.
  • Improve training: Implement ongoing training programs to improve understanding and application of agile methods.
  • Remove barriers: Remove cultural and structural barriers to the adoption of agile methods.
  • Streamline processes: Reduce the burden of extensive documentation and procedural requirements within HERMES.
  • Promote agile integration: Focus on further integrating agile practices into the HERMES framework.


The research for this thesis used a qualitative methodology that focused on semi-structured interviews to gain deeper insights into the decision-making processes within the Swiss Federal Administration in relation to project management methods. Interviews were conducted with federal administration executives, project managers and external consultants to ensure a broad range of perspectives. Data collection included detailed notes and audio recordings, followed by transcription using various tools. Analysis was conducted using software, with interview data iteratively coded and categorized to identify patterns and themes related to decision-making criteria and the practical application of project management methods within the Swiss Federal Administration.