Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

An Evolutionary Software Project Management Maturity Model for Mauritius

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

An Evolutionary Software Project Management Maturity Model for Mauritius

Article excerpt

Introduction

There is ample evidence that the inherent principles of project management have been practiced already for thousands of years (Kwak, 2003). The results are that many human achievements, for example the pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China, are recognised as wonders of the present-day world. It is unfortunate that the Manhattan project (Kwak, 2003), although considered as a successful human undertaking (the development of the atomic bomb) at a later stage caused the loss of lives on a large scale.

Apart from the construction and engineering areas, applied principles of project management made inroads into virtually all avenues of work by encompassing sectors such as the military, social and community development, medicine, agriculture and education to name just a few (Kwak, 2003). Today, the impact of project management is most profound in the area of Information Technology (Gray & Larson, 2000) where new hardware and software products are constantly flooding the world market. Increased pressure to reduce cost and delivery time in a highly global and competitive environment has given due credit to project management principles, techniques and tools. Software project management, in particular, is an area of research with a view to achieve higher levels of quality and to improve both cost and schedule estimates. This is evident from frequent new releases of project management methodologies like the Project Management Body of Knowledge[R] (PMBOK[R] Guide, 2004), PRojects IN Controlled Environment (PRINCE) (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency [CCTA], 2002) and the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI Product Team, 2002). These methodologies were studied prior to the development of a suitable methodology for Mauritius. A software project management methodology is being proposed since it has been noted that a software project has certain specificities that are different from traditional engineering projects. Hughes and Cotterell (2006) argued in favour of the specificities of managing software projects. Some pertinent differences between software projects and traditional engineering projects were also elaborated on by Sukhoo, Barnard, Eloff and Van der Poll (2004b).

A plethora of project management methodologies is now available and many methodologies are subject to continuous improvement. Project management methodologies are generally generic in nature, in that they cut across various disciplines and are used in many countries. Some studies, for example Muriithi and Crawford (2003) and Stuckenbruck and Zomorrodian (1987), have revealed that such methodologies are not necessarily universally applicable because factors like economic rationalities are too often assumed and legal, political as well as cultural and religious variations occur across nations and cultures. Hofstede's dimensions as applied to African countries (Muriithi & Crawford, 2003), Kuwait (Aladwani, 2002) as well as Mexico, India and Russia (Rao, 2004) have been discussed in terms of high power distance and high uncertainty avoidance as compared to Western/European countries. Open discussions are not favoured and low tolerance for ambiguities is noted in developing countries. It is plausible to expect that these factors may negatively influence the successful outcome of software projects, particularly in developing economies, as these factors are seldom taken into account by a particular methodology. By and large, developing countries constantly face problems of insufficient skilled staff, funds, and political and social incentives (Muriithi & Crawford, 2003). Mauritius, for example, is facing such problems at a crucial moment in its history as the Government has embarked on a vision to develop it into a "Cyber Island" while at the same time allowing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to emerge as the fifth pillar of the economy besides sugar, tourism, textile and the financial services (Eid, 2002). …

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