Academic journal article URISA Journal

Relating GIS&T and Project Management Bodies of Knowledge to Projects Perceived as Successes

Academic journal article URISA Journal

Relating GIS&T and Project Management Bodies of Knowledge to Projects Perceived as Successes

Article excerpt


The most common metric used to assess effective project management is project success or project failure. Certain measures are used for determining failure rates in the oft-cited Chaos Reports of 1995 and 2004 (The Standish Group). Using data collected from surveys, interviews, and focus groups, projects were assigned to three categories based on measures of cost and time overruns, as well as assessments of content deficiencies (The Standish Group 1995). According to the 2004 Chaos Report, 18 percent of projects failed, 53 percent were challenged, and 29 percent succeeded.

These studies have merit for providing straightforward evaluations of project success when detailed data on cost, timing, and scope--the so-called triple constraint of project management--are available. Their focus on project performance in a small number of managerial knowledge areas, however, may oversimplify planning approaches to achieve project success. For example, issues of cost may have arisen because of poor communication practices, which might be remedied in future projects at no additional cost.

When projects include requirements in specific technical areas such as geospatial technology, consideration of project success must encompass both general project management issues as well as domain specific issues. One way to conduct an analysis of successful geotechnical projects would be to consider all areas of knowledge related to geospatial technology and project management simultaneously. Such analysis is facilitated by geospatial technology and general project management both having reference frameworks, the geographic information science and technology (GIS&T) and project management (PM) bodies of knowledge (BoK), respectively.

Although these frameworks are well established as a series of knowledge areas, extensive datasets of geospatial projects are not readily available, and procedures for mapping project components to the BoKs are not well established. This study looks at 101 reports on predominantly geospatial projects written by geospatial industry professionals. Their reports discussed geospatial projects, focused on geospatial and managerial issues that arose, and included their opinions on whether the projects were successful. This study uses these reports to map geospatial components of the projects to the GIS&T BoK knowledge areas, and management issues to PM knowledge areas. This study also offers the author's perception, based on observations in the report and the author's opinion, on each project as successful or failure-prone. The procedure for mapping geospatial components to the GIS&T BoK, managerial issues to the PM BoK, and criteria for judging projects perceived as successful and failure-prone are discussed in the methodology.

Within these frameworks, the overall objective of this study is to determine how the perceived success of geospatial projects is related to both project management issues and geospatial knowledge. The specific objectives of this study are to determine:

1. How frequently projects perceived as failure-prone are associated with geotechnical issues;

2. If projects that integrate more numerous GIS&T knowledge areas are more often perceived as failure-prone;

3. If projects that experience problems in a greater number of PM knowledge areas are more often perceived as failure-prone;

4. If projects experiencing problems in any pair-wise combinations of PM functions (summary categories of PM knowledge areas) are more often perceived as failure-prone; and

5. What types of project management problems might be expected with projects utilizing various GIS&T knowledge areas, and which of these cross-discipline combinations are most often associated with projects perceived as failure-prone.

This analysis extensively utilizes the GIS&T and PM BoKs, two examples of professional fields that recognize the importance of comprehensively inventorying areas of knowledge. …

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