Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Assessment of Software Project Management Maturity in Mauritius

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Assessment of Software Project Management Maturity in Mauritius

Article excerpt

Introduction

IT professionals generally have a grasp of the success rate of software projects as compared to other types of projects. The CHAOS report is published regularly to show the percentage of, among others, successfully completed software projects in the USA. The Standish Group (2002) reports that only 34% of projects were completed successfully.

It is sometimes very difficult for an organization to adopt a specific software project management methodology in a short space of time. It requires sufficient time, adequate financial support and skilled human resources in order to start with a comprehensive methodology. A maturity model can allow organizations to progress from one maturity level to the next at their own pace.

Basically, project management maturity, and software project management maturity in particular, is the progressive development of an enterprise-wide project management approach, methodology, strategy, and decision-making process (Project Management Experts, 2004). A number of maturity models has been developed to allow organizations to progress at their own pace and some of these models has been summarized by Schiltz (2003) and Sonnekus and Labuschagne (2004). In a survey carried out in some Swiss organizations, Schiltz (2003) showed that project management maturity could be associated with project success. Such a correlation was also demonstrated by Sonnekus and Labuschagne (2004). Therefore, in an attempt to achieve a higher rate of successfully completed projects, it is worthwhile to consider enhancement of the project maturity level.

Although not all companies use project management maturity models, it is possible to assess their maturity levels. One such framework was put forward by Kwak and Ibbs (2002). An assessment exercise was carried out by Sonnekus and Labuschagne (2004) in the South African context by means of distribution of a questionnaire to various stakeholders. These assessment methodologies provide useful information on the state of project management, particularly software project management, within a country with the intention of bringing about improvements. Furthermore, this survey by Sonnekus and Labuschagne (2004) together with the survey carried out by Schiltz (2003) showed that project management success is linked to a high project maturity level.

A similar exercise as the one conducted by Sonnekus and Labuschagne (2004) in South Africa, was carried out in Mauritius to determine its software project management maturity level. A statistical approach is adopted with respect to the data gathered. Although Mauritius is facing a shortage of skilled labor, various programs have been initiated (Website of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, 2004), for example:

* a computer proficiency program has been launched to allow the public to benefit from Information Technology (IT) courses at a nominal fee;

* a second university has been set up to offer IT degree courses;

* access to Internet is now provided in most post-offices on the island or in public places;

* a school IT program will be launched to prepare the young generation to master basic IT skills; and

* a loan scheme at a low interest rate has been launched to allow each family to purchase a computer.

A previous survey was conducted to evaluate the current status and use of software project management methodologies in Mauritius (Sukhoo, Barnard, Eloff & Van der Poll, 2004a). This survey showed that necessary steps should be taken to increase the rate of software project success. Furthermore, a substantial number of Mauritian software companies indicated that they were not comfortable with methodologies developed and used exclusively by Western countries that did not account for the economic rationality and cultural differences and the need to cope with political and community demands on the projects' resources in a developing country environment (Sukhoo et al. …

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