Information Management: The Organizational Dimension

By Michael J. Earl | Go to book overview

15 Project Management: Lessons From IT and Non-IT Projects
PETER W. G. MORRIS
Introduction
Information technology projects have a notorious reputation, in many respects justly deserved. Information technology touches us all, increasingly. We are seduced with the benefits that IT will bring but are often disappointed with delays in implementation, with costs which exceed budgets, and with poor operating performance. The record of some large information technology projects has been very bad and the consequences to the businesses which have come to rely on information processing for their operations can be enormously damaging.Why do information technology projects have this poor reputation? Is it that IT projects are inevitably more difficult to manage? Or is it that those working on IT projects are in some primitive state of ignorance of the benefits that project management can bring them? The answer ought not to be the latter. It is often not recognized in fact that information technology was one of the pioneering industries in the development of project management and has remained at the forefront of the discipline throughout the years since its development.We can date the emergence of modern project management from the Manhattan Project in World War II and, particularly, the USA's intercontinental ballistic and missile programmes in the early 1950s ( Morris 1992). The essential 'project management' features of these programmes were:
1. an emphasis on identifying management as a separate special requirement;
2. the provision of that management by specialists, particularly firms of systems engineers and managers such as TRW who concentrated on (a) defining and accomplishing the overall needs of the system as a whole, and (b) doing so within specified time, to specified technical performance, and (frankly to a much lesser extent) within budgetary requirements;
3. the development of a series of planning and control techniques to assist in this systems and programme management effort, the earliest,

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