Project Management: IS/IT Research Challenges

By Tesch, Debbie; Ireland, Lewis R. et al. | Journal of International Technology and Information Management, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Project Management: IS/IT Research Challenges


Tesch, Debbie, Ireland, Lewis R., Liu, Julie Yu-Chih, Journal of International Technology and Information Management


ABSTRACT

A major challenge in Information Systems and Information Technology is to improve the ability to conceptualize, design, develop and deliver information systems that meet customer requirements. Project management is often adopted to create solutions that work and meet customer needs. The principles of project management as defined by the Project Management Institute, can improve project success rates. Researchers in the project management need to help practitioners understanding the impact of different principles on the success of IS development. This study undertakes a survey of project management experts on the state of practice and research to examine the need for improving project management, and suggest areas that can be improved. Research may be the most effective means of defining opportunities for enhancing project success rates by tapping the wealth of literature and complementing it with the expertise of project management practitioners.

INTRODUCTION

Software development applications require frequent changes and updates in order to support enterprise systems. These frequent changes to IS/IT comprise a large volume of software development efforts. These efforts, undertaken as projects, are generally complex and take place in a dynamic environment where business conditions and technologies change frequently during the life of the project (Chen, et. al., 2004). The factors of project success include user involvement and project size, management and planning (Schmidt, et al., 2001). A fully operational project management system in an enterprise offers the best opportunity for project success through the implementation of methods and tools for planning, organizing, and managing team-based activities to accomplish specific directives (Jurison, 1999).

Project management is widely adopted in Corporate America embraces project management to implement system changes (Muriithi & Crawford, 2003; Park & Pena-Mora, 2003; Yilmaz & Phillips, 2007), which are even considered as too significant to outsource (Fish & Seydel, 2006) or having high risk of leading to undesirable consequences (Wei & Peach, 2006). However, many projects fail, even when performed using project management techniques. Such project failure reduces the capability of technology components. The 2004 Chaos report by the Standish Group found that only 28% of IT projects were successful, down from 34% in an earlier report; The proportion of IT projects canceled before completion increased to 18% (from 15%), and a further 51% of IT projects were considered "challenged" as they are seriously late, over budget and missing expected features (The Standish Group, 2004; The Standish Group, 2007). Possible causes for these findings are the size and expense of large projects, a return to traditional development practices on large projects (Boddy, 1993), the absence of user involvement (Turner & Cochrane, 1993; Akbulut & Motwani, 2005), and lack of executive support (Munns & Bjeirmi, 1996). Thus, scope management is regarded as a key area of successful project management in practice (Hayes, 2004).

Although some project failures are because of technical reasons, most are directly related to the failure of stakeholders to embrace the principles of good project management (Jurison, 1999). As part of the project management process, project teams must understand the standards to which their projects are being held in order to ensure that project performance is emphasized appropriately (Crawford, 2005). The Field Guide to Project Management (Cleland, 2004) suggests that project management should be "an easy sell" to organizations because it enhances business performance and increases revenue. An organization can manage project effectively by identifying its goals in applying project management principles (Aladwani, 2002). For most organizations, these goals are to apply a proven practice, optimize resources, serve customer needs and save time and money (Turner & Cochrane, 1993). …

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