Project Management in the Information and Technology Industry

A Focus on Stakeholder Management


Master's Thesis, 2015

54 Pages, Grade: A+


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Table of Contents

Certification

Dedication

Acknowledgment

Abstract

Preface

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.0 Overview
1.1 Background of Study
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Research Hypotheses
1.5 Research Objective
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
1.8 Definitions of Key Terms

Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.0 Overview
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Factors that affect IT project management
2.2.1 Risk management
2.2.2 Issue management
2.2.3 Projects and operations
2.2.4 Technology
2.2.5 Market
2.3 Synthesis of Thought

Chapter 3: Improving Project Management
3.0 Overview
3.1 Project Management- Definition & Explanation
3.2 Importance of Project Management for Organizations
3.3.0 Project Management and Stakeholder Management Practice:

Chapter 4: Research Method
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Research Design
4.3 Research Period
4.3 Characteristics of Research Population
4.4 Sampling Technique Used
4.5 Data Collection
4.6 Limitations of the Research

Chapter 5: Data Presentation, Analysis, and Interpretation
5.0 Overview
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Analyses and Presentation of Primary Data
5.3 Summary of Major Findings

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendation
6.1 Summary
6.2 Conclusion
6.3 Recommendation
6.4 Suggestions for Further Research

References

Dedication

This project is dedicated to my family and friends, with whom I’ve learnt that even the largest task can be accomplished if it is done one step at a time. This project is also dedicated to my supervisor and instructors who have been very supportive in various ways during this research.

Acknowledgment

My wholehearted gratitude goes to the Almighty God, the source of my inspiration and strength during this project.

I would also deem it fit to express profound gratitude to my supervisor, Mr. Krzysztof Markowski, for accepting to act as the supervisor of this project. I will also like to thank Mr. Derek Mainwaring, Mrs. Kelly Delp and Mr. Chigbo Olua whose steadfast support for this project was greatly needed and deeply appreciated.

Abstract

In the world today, sustainable success for many businesses is directly associated with information technology and communication systems (ITC). However, many information technology and communication projects fail regardless of substantial efforts by enterprises to improve and guarantee project success. Many consider IT project failure to be closely related to technical problems. On the other hand, current research in IT shows that most IT projects fail due to non-technical problems such as management related issue as well as cultural and human factors. This research is geared towards identifying the critical factors that influence project success and performance. Furthermore, this research will present results of a survey of 30 IT project sponsors/owners, consultants, managers, contractors and suppliers on various projects. The empirical outcome will address questions that relate to success, performance, and stakeholder management in IT projects. The result of this research will be compared with project management practice across other industries. Findings in this study bring to light the critical need to identify and manage stakeholder expectations during an IT project in order to attain a high probability of success in project delivery irrespective of constraints such as time, resources, scope, and budget.

Keywords: IT project, stakeholder, project manager, expectation, communication, project constraints.

Preface

This is a master’s degree thesis project. The aim of this research is identify measures that can be adopted toward an effective project management practice. This research is subdivided into six sections.

Section one covers the introduction of this research work. It gives a summary of the objectives, problem, hypotheses, questions, significance of the study, scope, and limitation of this research.

Section two covers the review of articles, journals, and other print publications from reliable sources dealing with similar subject matter.

Section three outlines various ways the project management practice can be improved in the IT industry with a broader discussion of stakeholder management and its components.

Section four discusses the methodology used during this research including the research design, characteristics of research population, sampling technique used, questionnaire design, the data collection process and limitations of the research conducted.

Section five will present and analyze data collected during the research survey from various respondents.

Section six gives a summary and conclusion to the research.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.0 Overview

This chapter covers the introduction of this research work. It gives a summary of the objectives, problem, hypotheses, questions, significance of the study, scope, and limitation of this research. Furthermore, some key terms relating to this research will be defined in this section of the paper.

1.1 Background of Study

In a fast paced world, any kind of business, whether small or large, needs to wisely prepare for the future. It is very important that an organizations set its mission with proper intent although they have deep market penetrations as well as face enhanced and expanded rivalry from all edges. The success of a project largely depends on variables such as available information, project team, experience, and the competence to push back constraints such as time, cost etc. (Kathy Schwalbe, 2012).

Communication and information technology (IT) is a relatively new concept as it was created a decade ago with the advent of the web. Because of the amount of expert innovation and ground coverage, managers should be at a proper place to handle the current and future problems within the administration of a project. Speedy business globalization means the organization should essentially have a process in place to manage information and data accurately. Due to developing limits, additional dialogue is necessary to produce effective methodologies and forms of administration.

According to Bonnie Cooper, an efficient project manager knows how to get results and create an environment that encourages successful project delivery. The basis for the success of a project depends on the involvement of the stakeholders. A healthy 10 involvement of the stakeholder is supported through various means such as expectation management (attention to time, realistic metrics), quality relationships (structure and trust), and easy business communication. Stakeholders also make some other contributions for the success of projects that include the project manager’s emotional maturity and efficient utilization of the business ecosystem (facilities, infrastructure, legal, procurement, etc) to lead the project (Cooper, 2011). Stakeholders differ in emphasis, expectations and influence, but all have the potential to manage a few features of a project. The main goal of a project manager is to build coalitions and influence the stakeholder relationships that encourage the project accomplishment. Cooper (2011) also indicates that management of a stakeholder is difficult as it includes uncontrolled scope changes, churning, confusion, missing the deadline, and conflicts. In addition to these, some situations display priority conflict, commitment deficiency, and absence of focus.

The aim of communication as an approach towards stakeholder management is to minimize surprises and manage expectations. The main objective is to organize the information that people receive from observations and request various types of feedback to better understand the requirements for a successful project delivery. A communication scheduling matrix produces visual response by analyzing the responses of each stakeholder group or stakeholder, including their role in the project, what should be communicated, how (communication format), when (how often), and project team response. At the least, conventional evolution reports are important for distribution of high volume information. In addition to these, there are more personal ways to discuss the health of a project. These options may include handing over the tasks to efficient people so the correct decisions can be made. A project manager’s first responsibility is conversation - it is vital to show flexibility in conversation particularly while conversing with stakeholders, as it is key in keeping the stakeholder under observation.

Project managers today still make use of Gantt charts to communicate project status in regards to scheduling of activities to be carried out during the project, deliverables, dependencies between various tasks, etc. The main advantage of computers 11 in organizations is making charts as well as easily sharing and distributing these to stakeholders of the project. A few tools such as Microsoft Project, Primavera, OpenERP, SAP, and others are used for creating Gantt charts, network diagrams, and work breakdown structures. Today, these tools are the most commonly used software in project management (Kathy Schwalbe, 2012).

1.2 Statement of Research Problem

This research set out to educate its readers on the current practices adopted towards project management in the information technology industry. As such, it will be necessary to ask a question that will guide the course of this research - how can IT projects be managed successfully?

Furthermore, this research will explore the importance of managing stakeholders’ expectations during IT projects.

1.3 Research Questions

The following questions will help shape this research:

- What is project management?
- When is a project considered a success?
- What type of techniques or methodologies can be introduced in an attempt to improve project success?
- How do project managers meet stakeholder expectations?

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses are derivatives of the research questions framed:

1. H1: An effective project management approach plays a significant role in the success rate of IT projects and its attributes are positively related to change in technology.
2. H2: Stakeholder management is definitely related to various project management techniques and hence is a critical success factor in projects.

1.5 Research Objective

This research is tailored to procure answers to the research questions, and also to determine measures that can be put in place to enable IT project managers to achieve success in various projects.

A survey of 30 IT project sponsors/owners, consultants, managers, contractors and suppliers on various projects will be used to address questions that relate to success, performance, and stakeholder management in IT projects.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is significant because of the enormous growth in IT over the past decade. Getting acquainted with better project management practice in order to foresee future problems and to come up with outstanding solutions are vital components of companies’ success in a changing digital marketplace. Thus, this research will help IT managers to be more productive in the future.

1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study

This research is focused on project management within the information technology and communications industry, applying research findings to solve similar problems encountered in management across other industries. Adequate measures were taken to ensure that scenarios studied and surveys conducted were closely related to difficulties encountered by project managers while striving to deliver successful projects. This was accomplished by questionnaires issued to IT project sponsors/owners, consultants, managers, contractors, and suppliers on various projects. Questions contained in the questionnaire were strictly framed to findings extracted from secondary sources. The research spanned a period of three months.

1.7.1 Assumptions and constraints.

The following assumptions will guide the research:

- Successful use of IT within a company significantly depends on the IT department executives and the IT project managers.
- Stakeholders vary in regards to their influence, expectations, and interests. They all have the potential to impact the project.
- Management factors, such as proper administration and organizational practices for bringing the required modifications through ICT projects.
- To develop a successful project, the project manager should have a clear vision and proper planning.

1.8 Definitions of Key Terms

Project Management: The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to lessen risk, control budget and manage a scope of tasks (Kutsch, 2008, 7).

Stakeholder: A person, group, or organization that has interest or concern in an organization.

Project Constraints: Project constraints can be defined as anything that restricts or dictates the actions of the project team.

ICT: The study or business of developing and using technology to process information, as well as improve communication.

Project: A planned set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations.

Information: Data that is (1) exact and timely, (2) specific and organized toward an end goal, (3) presented within a context that gives it meaning and a basis in logic, and (4) can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty.

Project Manager: A project manager is an individual who is responsible for the planning, organization, resource management, and discipline necessary for the successful completion of a project or objective.

Risk: Possibility of threat or damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through preemptive action.

IT Project: A project with a primary intent to create a unique information technology product or service. This includes research projects and research initiatives.

Business: A business, also known as an enterprise or a firm. An organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers.

Stakeholder Management: A means for ensuring the satisfactory and successful delivery of a project, activity, or program.

Success: Completing an objective or reaching a goal (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2002, 10)

Failure: The omission of an expected or required outcome.

Quality: The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something (Karlson, Jan Terje, et. al., 2002, 2).

Communication: Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, where participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning.

Expectation: A strong belief that something will happen, or exist in the future.

Crucial: Decisive or critical, especially in the success or failure of something (Sargent, Hyland & Sawang, 2012, 4).

Role: The function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.

Performance: The action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function (Yang, Ahuja, Shankar, 2007, 2346).

Consultant: An experienced individual that is trained to analyze and advise a client in order to help the client make the best possible choices

Contractor: A person or business which provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract (Peansupap & Walker, 2002, 1238).

Industry: A classification that refers to a group of companies that are related in terms of their primary business activities (Roberts, Christopher Lee, 2014, 17).

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.0 Overview

This chapter covers the review of articles, journals, and other print publications from reliable sources, dealing with similar subject matter. This will give a solid foundation to this research work, as it eliminates the need of carrying out preliminary research.

2.1 Introduction

There are a number of factors to be considered in the management of information technology for the sake of effective operations and progress. This research focuses on both the business and the technical aspects. So far, four major factors have been identified: issue management, technology, operations, and risk management. The purpose of this paper is to discuss every one of these factors along with their effects on the management of information technology projects.

2.2 Factors that affect IT project management

2.2.1 Risk management.

Understandably, there are risks at almost every turn once a business is started. The need for devising a plan for risk management arises when the requirement and supply of resources suffer a major calculable gap (Roberts, Paul, 2013, 7). The foremost and perhaps the most important risk is a compromise of the organization’s business plan. The possible result of such a risk is a disaster in management plans. It often leads to the utilization of time and available resources in an attempt to salvage the situation, thus resulting in a halt in the business process. Such risks have the potential to start a cycle of 17 positive or negative effects, with lack of resources leading to the deterioration of business and subsequent steps leading to further depletion of resources.

Another major risk that a collapsing business faces is a stained reputation in the market. Once the customers of the concerned product become dissatisfied, it becomes very easy for the competitors to swoop in and replace the company. Priorities will shift and the projects that have started to suffer will not be given importance against those that are progressing according to plan. Not only will resources be allocated to other projects, but the cost of the product released is also affected, much to the dissatisfaction of the customers.

Finally, once risks start to flow in, if they are not quickly controlled, company employees may move to other companies in search of better opportunities. The lack of productivity creates a vacuum of opportunities and services and other companies are always prepared to absorb employees of competitors.

2.2.2 Issue management.

When literature presents the phrase “issue management”, it refers to raising a number of questions or issues in regard to the organization involved in the management of the business in question. The questions also include the priorities and the understanding of how maximum benefits can be gained with the least input (Roberts, Paul, 2013, 6). The curiosity factor that is necessary for raising these questions, the foresight to predict the problems, and the decision power needed to take the necessary action for the sake of the business progress are all absolutely crucial to issue management. All of such qualities may be summed up in three words: independence, integrity, and foresight (Anand, Sanjay, 2006, 1). These three elements form the pillars around which all projects are executed.

2.2.3 Projects and operations.

Projects and operations are interdependent upon one another. It has been shown that whatever the nature of the project may be, the main tools for the management and execution of those projects remain the same (Taylor, James, 2004, 1). Projects may be 18 defined as “unique, one-time initiatives, such as launching a new product, new organization, or new venture…” (Shenhar, Aaron and Dvir, Dov, 2007, 3). On the other hand, operations are defined as “repetitive ongoing activities such as manufacturing, service, and production…” (3). The major difference between a project and an operation is, thus, of the time frame involved. However, analysis of both definitions shows that successful projects give rise to successful operations. Both of these factors have been shown to combine in order to provide capabilities to businesses, regardless of the type of market (Kaplan, Robert S. AND Norton, David P., 1996, 1). Projects utilize the basic principles of information technology and the progress thereof to provide the business with some innovation that would increase the market of the product or the service being offered (Kolawa, Adam, 2009, 1). This, therefore, concludes that information technology and businesses must merge at some point, and the know-how to do so is a crucial step in the organization of projects and conducting subsequent operations in other to enhance productivity (Cramm, Susan, 2010, 3).

2.2.4 Technology.

With the word “pervasive” now attached to it, technology has become inseparable from all kinds of businesses (Grembergen, Wim Van, 2004, 1). Aileen Cater-Steel (2009, 3) referred to technology as an indispensable factor of running any business. However, not all businesses have managed to successfully merge with technology. Nevertheless, as more and more progress is made, documentation of the increasing harmony between businesses and technology has increased (Simon, Phil, 2010, 1). The magnitude of investment of a company in technology reflects the seriousness of its commitments to provide its customers access to services “whether centralized, decentralized, distributed, or outsourced” (23). Examples include POS devices, LAN’s, scanners, PCs, databases, security cameras, “integrated applications suites”, and word and image processing software (Weill, Peter & Broadbent, Marianne, 23, 1998). An example that we routinely see is the use of security systems for the protection of precious items (Norman, Thomas, 2007, 2). Thus it can be concluded that an information technology manager of a company must be fluent in knowledge of not only software but also the essential hardware of technology products (Champlain, Jack, 2003, 1). 19 For managing the technology aspect of the business, four concepts will be discussed. These include business values, investment, portfolios, and “alignment of resources with strategic goals” (23). The portfolio of information technology further consists of four pillars: transactional objectives, information, strategic objectives, and infrastructure (24). However, it is not always simple to harmonize the formed strategy with the portfolio available. Once a shift of technology is required, it may cause difficulties in adjustment, especially when the business is moving to the next level of productivity (Hackney, Ray, and Dennis Dunn, 2000, 1). Therefore, we see that strong psychological factors are involved in the management of technology. These factors are identified as aspirations, values, and attitude towards the risks and experiences and commitments (23). These factors and pillars are crucial because a company’s true success lies in the output it provides in the form of products or services (Brynjolfsson, Erik, and Adam Saunders, 2010, 1).

2.2.5 Market.

All businesses focus on the same goal: to create a product or a service and to sell it at a rate such that the selling price is higher compared to the initial cost price (Khalhid, Zahid, 2010, 1). The sales part of a business, however, requires a deep understanding of targeted customers and societies. Employees responsible for handling marketing must ask questions such as:

- Who are the customers?
- What factors influence their decision-making?
- What is the mindset of the target?
- What problems do they face? (189).

Thus, it is logical to emphasize upon the learning of individual psychology (Dierkes, Meinolf, et al, 2001, 1). Once these questions are answered, a company becomes capable of choosing its investments. Investments involve the consideration of three important elements: diligence, minimum risks, and maximum impact (Andriole, Stephen, 2009, 1). There are many ways to achieve these goals in correspondence within the multiple definitions and explanations of “economic development” (Raisinghani, Mahesh, S., 2008, 1).

2.3 Synthesis of Thought

Portfolio of services.

Portfolios are dependable upon their ability to deliver services that are reliable. There are a number of portfolios available. As an example, cell phone technology has almost completely replaced other communication devices that were in use years ago (Tainiar, David, 2009, 1). Where portfolios encompass infrastructure, they refer to the understanding of the customers and broadening the market reach of the company in an attempt to succeed and survive. Automated services are covered by transactional IT aspects, as in the example of the Walmart’s services. Walmart utilizes electronic marketing for long-term productivity (Turban, Efraim, Ephraim R. McLean, 2001, 1). Nevertheless, portfolios may seem a little complicated and it is important to avoid complicating them further (Hope, Jeremy, 2006, 1).

Strategy.

Strategy designing covers many aspects of business and is perhaps one of the most important parts of any business. Strategies are known to set companies apart from their competitors. One of these strategies is called distinctiveness (Carr, Nicholas G., 2004, 5). One aspect of a strategy is the decision of where and how to invest. Harvard Business Review of Corporate Responsibility (2003, 1) mentions the economic pyramid, which has been utilized by companies to accommodate individuals in a manner that profits those individuals and the company at the same time. Another aspect is foresight, which is an even more indispensable factor (Silberlitt, Richard, et al, 2006, 1). Analytic experts thus constitute the most important team of a company for it is they who have the maximum capability to predict correct decisions (Davenprt, 2010, 1), and therefore to steer the entire company (Pham, Tiffany, 2013, 2). Analytics are charged with the duty of obtaining and putting to use the important information technology for the sake of a progressive and effective environment (Hope, Jeremy and Player, Steve, 2012, 1). Considering the effort and the responsibility involved, analytics teams have to exert maximum cognitive powers (Crandall, et. al., 2006, 3). Without a concrete and a firm idea to build a project upon, one cannot hope for maximum success (24). Nayar and 21 Vinnet (2010, 2) state that analysis is just one element: the performance of the company is also an extremely important factor.

Before a strategy can be put to use, there must be a baseline for it to stand upon. This base is formed by transactional and infrastructure technologies. A good financial set up and a firm command of information technology may make the difference between success or failure (Kurihara, Yutaka, Sadayoshi Takaya, et al., 2006, 1).

H1 hypothesis presents us with the idea that good project management is required for success in information technology. Thus, technology and product management seem to be supporting each other and this counter-dependable situation must be considered.

Stakeholder management and identification is a major skill of all project managers, executives, and program managers. These are the people that have a direct impact on the success of a project and contribute towards the overall performance of an organization. Though they are outside the direct control of the managers, the project managers are responsible for their acts and their effects on the success of the project. That is the reason project managers pay special attention in identifying and analyzing the stakeholders of a particular project. It is therefore a key need of managers to have an official stakeholder management method or process in place where appropriate to be able to deal with various circumstances that may arise during a project.

Stakeholder management cycle.

The management plan for stakeholders varies from organization to organization and from department to department and from executive group to the individual project streams.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1 - Stakeholder management cycle (PMI, 2013).

The stakeholder management cycle that helps in the exact identification of the stakeholders and establishment of a successful plan for stakeholder management is applied in a similar way at each stage. This management cycle is comprised of the five steps and is followed in the manner shown in the diagram.

The above mentioned steps are usually followed in the mentioned logical sequence but sometime it occurs iteratively and concurrently according to the specific needs of the project (Hethew 2013).

Successful stakeholder management will aid a company to more successfully keep its business processes and activities, avail opportunities, understand risk, and lessen the issues that otherwise can cause delays in the project. Effective stakeholder management is considered an indicator to authorization and power in the organization. Moreover, it is the key ingredient to a successful project environment.

Chapter 3: Improving Project Management

3.0 Overview

This chapter outlines various ways the project management practice can be improved in the IT industry with a broader discussion of stakeholder management and its components. The study relies on the fundamentals of project management practice.

3.1 Project Management- Definition & Explanation

In order to define the term project management, it is imperative to first understand the term “project”. A project can be described as a transient group of tasks designed to develop an exclusive service, product, or a particular outcome (PMI).

A project can be defined as temporary when it has a very specific timeline with a start and end; hence it also has a defined range and resource.

It is vital to understand that a project is not an everyday operation and is therefore unique. Nevertheless, it has a predefined set of procedures that are drafted and designed in a way that paves the way for the accomplishment of a particular goal. This is why a project group usually consists of people who, under normal routine, do not necessarily work together. A project may also involve people belonging to different associations and from multiple geographic locations.

Examples of projects include relief efforts after a natural disaster, the progress of software for a better business practice, architectural construction, or sales expansion in a fresh geographic market (PMI). Regardless of the nature of a project, it must be skillfully managed to ensure timely delivery within the specified budget using the integration and learning required by the organization.

In any case, project management can be explained as the application of techniques, skills, and knowledge, all meant for the effective and efficient implementation of projects. Project management results in the development of strategic competencies for firms, thereby allowing them to incorporate the outcomes of the project to the goals of the business, and ultimately to compete with their rivals in a better way.

3.2 Importance of Project Management for Organizations

Before going further into the discussion, it is vital to understand the importance of project management for businesses of all sizes. Due to the fact that company executives and entrepreneurs are engaged with routine operations and management of the organization, dedicated project managers may supervise the projects within the organization from the initiation to completion phase. By understanding and utilizing various project management approaches and tools, it becomes possible for firms to carry out large-scale projects in a timely manner without interrupting daily business routines within the organization (Harbour).

3.2.1 Temporary and unique venture.

A business is an ongoing existing operation that is continuous in nature. Contrarily, a project is a temporary venture in nature that is directed towards the production of an exclusive outcome that can either be a process, product, or service. In many cases, this exclusiveness implies that there are no blueprints or steps available to develop the end product. In order to deliver a project effectively, it is necessary for the project managers to possess experience as well as expertise relating to the project’s domain.

Furthermore, project managers impeccably assimilate resources throughout different departments of an organization and make optimal use of communication, planning, and budgeting skills in order to complete the project within the stipulated limitations.

3.2.2 Project management skills.

It is possible that every department or different aspect of a business may or may not come under the impact of different business projects that typically involve large-scale planning. Execution of a project implies the involvement of human resources, working with restrictions associated with the supply of other resources and budget. Accredited project managers are skilled in project management techniques specific to dealing with 25 one-time projects and can create plans to manage interdependency and address resource conflict. Organizations that use project management to monitor and control processes and schedules can more effectively complete their projects on time and within a defined budget (Harbour).

3.2.3 Scheduling.

Coordination among project activities is required to be carried out in conjunction with ongoing business activities. It is the responsibility of the project manager to identify and define the detailed activities that are to be conducted in each stage of the project. The project manager also assigns team leads along with other members of the staff for each stage of the project. Managing the project within the defined parameters of the plan, a schedule, or a timeline provides target dates for completion of tasks within each stage. The schedule is directly associated with the scope of a project.

3.2.4 Scope and extent.

Whether the project is comprehensive or extensive, the organization needs to have proper project management process. The project extensiveness can be referred to as the scope. The scope can also be defined as extent of the effect on the business or the size of the project. It can also entail more specifications and planning required to successfully see the project to fruition.

3.2.5 Budget.

Budget is an important factor in any project, which is why project management is used to ensure that the project is executed within budget. One of the most positive effects of a good project management plan is the timely identification of potential cost and assistance in developing a realistic budget. Project managers in this case, have the opportunity to use their skills for solving resource conflict and minimizing the impact of new project funding on the operating capital. Optimizing the workers’ allocations usually helps managers accomplish this. In order to reduce inefficiencies, tasks should be coordinated and the goals or deliverables within phases should be clearly defined. This way the management can take into consideration the time factor and take measures to ensure that results have been achieved within the prescribed budget. 26 Project management has been practiced casually for some time but started to appear as a separate occupation in the mid-20th century. Displayed below are the five groups in which project management processes can be broadly classified in accordance with the project management book of knowledge (PMBOK5):

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2.0 - Project management process groups (PMI, 2015).

Project management facts draw on ten areas:

- Scope
- Integration
- Time
- Quality
- Cost
- Human resources
- Procurement
- Risk management
- Stakeholder management
- Communications

The management process is associated with all of the above, however it leads to a unique outcome formed by the goals, resources, and schedule of every project. The worth of that focus is proven by the rapid and global increase in the growth of project management:

As a career option, As a recognized and strategic organizational competitive advantage, and As a subject for training and education.

3.3.0 Project Management and Stakeholder Management Practice:

Whenever a project is introduced in an organization, there are many people or entities that are affected by the output or the final product of the project, or somehow 28 dependent on the outcome. These people or entities are in fact the stakeholders of that certain project. Discussing stakeholder management takes into consideration various stakeholders as well as the interests and values which are important to them. These factors are addressed during the course of the project to ensure their contentment at the end (PM-Partners Group).

Despite the fact that it is quite often deemed as unimportant, this branch of management is significant due to its role in assisting the organization in the achievement of its strategic objectives. Attaining these goals is possible through the involvement of both external and internal entities. It is of critical importance to create a positive relationship with stakeholders by proper management of their expectations.

The importance of stakeholder management cannot be ignored, as it helps in recognizing the existing positive relationships with stakeholders. Partnerships and coalitions are the outcomes of these affirmative relationships that lead to trust building and also encourage collaborative relationships amongst the stakeholders.

3.3.1 Components of stakeholder management.

Stakeholder management should work through a pre-planned strategy. Using a process model, information is gathered and analyzed. Below is an illustration as well as a summary of various components within this model:

- Stakeholder Identification - First, it is important to identify all the stakeholders who are involved in the project who have some sort of stake associated with it. Drafting a stakeholder map is the best way to do this.
- Stakeholder Analysis - This task is delegated to the manager to identify the needs of the stakeholder using the technique of stakeholder analysis. The manager must also realize the interfaces, expectations, authority, and common relationships between stakeholders.
- Stakeholder Matrix - While performing the stakeholder analysis, the manager positions the stakeholders by utilizing the information gathered during the analysis process. This helps the manager to access the various levels of influence each stakeholder has on the project. This process is useful to project managers in a situation where critical decisions are made concerning the project or certain deliverables.
- Stakeholder Engagement - One of the processes of high importance in stakeholder management is the practice of stakeholder engagement. The process is of significant value in the entire project management lifecycle because at this stage, all stakeholders get involved with the manager in order to know each other better and to gain more understanding at an executive level (Egeland). Communication is essential because both the manager and stakeholders are provided with an opportunity for discussion and agreement upon expectations. In addition, here the stakeholders are given a chance to reach a mutual agreement regarding the common set of values and principles, by which all the stakeholders will stand during the project.
- Communicating Information - At this stage, the expectations of the stakeholders in regards to communication are mutually agreed upon. This stage focuses on the manner in which communication will be established and executed between the stakeholders. It also includes the process and the format that information is communicated among various stakeholders.
- Stakeholder Agreement - The lexicon of the entire project, the stakeholder agreement includes the objectives which are set forth. All the stakeholders sign the stakeholder agreement. This is the collection of the decisions agreed upon by all.

3.3.2 Importance of stakeholder management.

In today’s world, project management has transformed into a modern practice. Stakeholders as well as managers like to develop an honest and transparent stakeholder relationship.

Stakeholder management can be defined as one of the most critical factors essential for the success of a project regardless of size or complexity. Despite its crucial nature, the subject is often the most undermined subject in project management.

In order to address issues faced by stakeholders and values that are important to them, it is important to understand them first, while keeping everyone involved in the project throughout its entire duration (PM-Partners Group). Listed below are a few reasons why and how results are well-shown by investment in stakeholder management:

With the help of stakeholder management, the communication can be effectively focused and diverted when needed. Stakeholders have a major impact in the failure of success of any project, therefore their actions as well as attitude can result in significant positive or negative consequences. The project may run into grave issues if it does not have sufficient buy-in from stakeholders that serve as resources. At its core, stakeholder management can be defined as a discipline that assists in identifying different stakeholders and seeking their support. Identifying key or non-key stakeholders is an efficient approach as it helps in the execution of suitable actions and communications.

Typically, project management mainly focuses on improving the project delivery practices. However, key business stakeholders as well as executives now have created a requirement of efficient portfolio and stakeholder management practices. For any project, regular communication is of prime importance, particularly as a part of an overall communication plan that results in stakeholders being better informed throughout the life of the project.

3.3.3 Why stakeholder management fails.

Poor stakeholder management practices still prevail in many organizations, due to the following reasons:

- There is always a delayed communication with the stakeholder and therefore there is not sufficient time available to revise according to the expectations of the stakeholder. As a result, their views are often ignored and not taken into consideration.
- The stakeholders are invited to be a part of the decision making process at a very initial stage. This gives birth to a complicated decision making process.
- A project involves the wrong stakeholders. This mistake leads to a reduction in the value of their contribution and in the end results in external criticism.
- The contribution made by the stakeholder is not given proper consideration or needed attention. The management views the participation of the stakeholder as inconsequential and insignificant (Egeland).

The stakeholder management aspect of projects should be done courteously in order to achieve the required results, regardless of the undergone process.

3.3.4 How stakeholder management can be achieved.

The factor that makes the highest contribution in project failure is ineffective communication and inadequate involvement with stakeholders. The following are a few ideas that can be used to achieve good stakeholder management practices:

- For a project to draw up and achieve a practical list of objectives and goals, it is necessary for the stakeholders and the management to work together closely. Project management in a business can witness significant improvement by engaging the stakeholders at every level and encouraging them to take interest in the project.
- The key to successful project management is communication. It is essential for the management as well as the stakeholder to realize the significance of communication on every stage of the project and to communicate with each other on regular basis throughout the course of the project. Doing so provides assurance that both the parties will be actively involved and will collaborate to ensure smooth progression in all stages of the project (Egeland).
- As with other factors, it is important to reach a mutual consent on the project deliverables. It is necessary to ensure that all parties are satisfied when the project ends. During the course of the project, developing prototypes and sample demonstrations help stakeholders in getting a clear understanding of the end product or solution.

Summarily, to achieve a successful project, it is important to have a practice of stakeholder management in place. Stakeholder management primarily revolves around effectively managing all participants in a project regardless of their nature, whether external or internal contributors.

Communication is the most significant element in the entire process of stakeholder management. This is due to the fact that a manager is required to spend about 90% time in conducting meetings, regularly task supervision, responding to e-mails, providing project deliverable updates and distribution of reports, etc.

Chapter 4: Research Method

4.1 Introduction

This chapter discusses the methodology used during this research. The following techniques were used as an adopted methodology to accomplish this research: review of literature in relation to project management in the IT industry, questionnaire for gathering data, interviews with some professionals within the IT industry, and data analysis of data gathered. This chapter will discuss the research design, characteristics of research population, sampling technique used, questionnaire design, the data collection process, and limitations of the research conducted.

4.2 Research Design

This research consisted of 5 stages (see Figure 3.0 below):

- Phase 1- At this stage, the problems were defined and objectives were established in order to develop a research plan that would be used as a baseline. At the end of this stage, a topic for this research was proposed, a research plan was developed and the research objectives were clearly established along with research problems.
- Phase 2 - At this stage, a literature review was conducted in relation to project management within the IT industry, a focus on stakeholder management, a few factors that affect stakeholder management, and identification of some effective approaches towards stakeholder management.
- Phase 3 - This stage of the research included the questionnaire design and field survey.
- Phase 4 - This stage of the research included the distribution of questionnaires in other to gather required data to meet research objectives.
- Phase 5 - This stage focused on data analysis, discussion, conclusion, and recommendations.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3.0: Research Design Flowchart

4.3 Research Period

This study began in November 2014 when the initial proposal and topic was approved. The literature review was completed by end of December 2014. The research review and questionnaire design and strategy took 1 month was completed in the first 35 week of February 2015. The research distribution, analysis of data gathered, discussion and conclusion spanned 5 weeks being completed in the first week of March 2015.

4.3 Characteristics of Research Population

The research population included IT managers, various IT professionals both in research and development fields of expertise, and individuals with experience in IT related projects. Considering the targeted population, participants in this survey were selected randomly.

The targeted population consisted of individuals and groups, mainly NGO’s, who are involved in stakeholder management in IT related projects. These individuals and experts come from diverse geographical locations and organizations and possess experiences through their professional careers in various consulting firms, international agencies, institutions, etc. focused in IT. See figure 3.2 below for sample category.

Table 3.2: Sample category

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 3.3: Classification of sample size

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

4.4 Sampling Technique Used

In this research work, the study was a descriptive survey and key standard frameworks enabled it to utilize questionnaires among the selected respondents in the field. However, the respondents were diversely classified based on their relevance to the study.

In this method also, there was important need to also acquire relevant field data from respondents by using interview schedules. These were distributed to individuals whose focus were based on their relevant experiences and input they demonstrated through additional provisions.

The study design was aimed at collecting data at a particular point and using it to describe the nature of the existing condition.

4.5 Data Collection

Questionnaires are widely used today as a medium of data collection for conducting surveys. Questionnaires are used for descriptive and analytical surveys in order to discover facts and various opinions. This is the basis for which a questionnaire was chosen as a technique to be used for collecting data during this research.

During the research, data is collected in a standardized form from sample population. This allows the researcher to carry out statistical analysis on data collected via various tools for example computer software analytical tools.

4.6 Limitations of the Research

This research was carried out in reference to the major objectives of the study. However, as established by the field study, key challenges were encountered, including poor coordination of the research and inadequate manpower to carry out the research. Furthermore, the questionnaire contained simple questions with no control over respondents’ answers. In some cases, respondents decided to give a general or non­specific response to a particular question.

Chapter 5: Data Presentation, Analysis, and Interpretation

5.0 Overview

This chapter will present and analyze data collected during the research survey from various respondents. The result of questions included in the survey will be discussed in two sections. Section one will present information on the respondent profiles. Section two will identify the factors that affect stakeholder management during an IT project. This chapter will conclude with a summary of major findings deduced from the survey questionnaire.

5.1 Introduction

Questionnaires have been increasingly used as a data collection technique for conducting descriptive and analytical surveys. During this research, a questionnaire was designed targeting the research objectives. However, the use of the questionnaire had some limitations, as it only contained simple questions and there was no control over respondents.

In the survey, the targeted population consisted of individuals and groups, mainly NGO’s, who are involved in IT related projects. These individuals are experts from diverse geographical locations and organizations, who possess experiences through their professional career in various consulting firms, international agencies, institutions, etc.

A descriptive survey was conducted for this research with the support of a questionnaire comprising of nine questions. A pre-selected group of respondents (20 persons) from various segments of the IT sector were requested to reflect their views on the questionnaire. The respondents were diversely classified based on their experience and relevance to the study.

The study questionnaire was designed with the aim of collecting data at a particular point and using it to describe the nature of the existing condition of IT sector. Quantitative data received through the questionnaire survey was analyzed using a computer software analytical tool (SPSS) to determine frequencies and percentiles.

5.2 Analyses and Presentation of Primary Data

There were 20 respondents out of which 3 respondents were excluded due to incomplete surveys. Based on the 17 participants, survey data received was analyzed and presented below according to the survey questions.

5.2.1 Section one: Respondent profiles.

Research question: 'What is your job title?'

Results collected from the survey showed that 23.53% of the respondents were project managers, 5.88% were IT engineers, 5.88% were IT directors, 23.58% were involved in academic research, 17.65% were IT consultants, and 23.53% were uncategorized due to unspecified job title or occupy designations not included in the answer options.

Respondent Job Title

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Research question: 'In which of the following stages of an IT related project have you been mainly involved?'

In response to this question, 58.82% of the respondents were actively involved in the initiation stage of an IT project, 76.47% were involved in the planning phase, and 64.71% were involved in the project execution phase, monitoring, control, and project closure.

Involvement in IT Project(s) Initiation Phase Planing Phase Execution Phase Monitoring & Control Project Closure

Research question: 'How many years of experience do you have considering your profession?'

In response to this question, 52.94% of the respondents indicated 0 to 5 years of experience in the IT industry, 35.29% indicated 6 to 1 years, and 11.76% indicated 16 years and above. Notably, no respondent indicated 11 to 15 years of experience.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

5.2.2 Section two: Factors affecting the stakeholder management process.

Research question: 'What would you consider to be a successful project in relation to managing stakeholder expectations?'

In view of this question, 35.25% of the respondents agreed that a project is successful if all stakeholders are satisfied. 5.88% of the respondents agreed that a project is successful if the financial sponsors are satisfied. 41.18% of the respondents agreed that a project is successful if the end users are satisfied. 17.65% of the respondents agreed that a project is successful if majority of the stakeholders are satisfied.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Research question: 'What is the level of influence of stakeholders during each phase of the project?'

The response received from respondents is shown statistically in the table below:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Research question: 'Considering the need to meet stakeholder expectations, which of the stakeholder groups have you encountered more problems with and at what stage of the project?'

In view of this question, response received from the respondents is shown statistically in the table below:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Research question: 'In your opinion, who is the best person to manage stakeholders?'

In response to this question, 9 out of 17 respondents indicated that the project manager is the best person to manage stakeholders during a project. However, 2 respondents identified the senior management within the organization as appropriate for managing stakeholders, while others suggested the functional consultants, business analyst, and the development team.

Research question: 'Do you have any comments that maybe useful in this research?'

In view of this question, majority of the respondents suggested that the project manager should adopt computer software as a tool for tracking projects and mitigating most of the problems identified.

5.3 Summary of Major Findings

In conclusion, the following findings can be deduced from the survey questionnaire:

a) There was a mix of technical and non technical respondents, as such their response vary depending on the job roles and experience in the IT industry;
b) Based on the survey, majority of the respondents shared the view that an IT project is only a success if the end users are satisfied.
c) It can be deduced that there is a high level of stakeholder influence during the project initiation and closure phase.
d) Most respondents identified the financial sponsors expectations to be problematic at the initiation phase of the project, and the end user expectations to be challenging during the project closure phase.
e) It can be deduced that adequate financial support during a project is vital to the project success. All respondents identified ‘lack of adequate finance’ as common problem.
f) Finally, the respondents identified the project manager as the most significant role player in an IT project.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendation

6.1 Summary

Expectations vary among various stakeholders such as the project sponsors, consultants, managers and others involved in an IT project. Thus, it is difficult to anticipate how much success will be achieved at the end of the project and what the performance level of the project team will be during the project life cycle. It can’t be assumed that everybody attached to an ongoing IT project will cope in an ever-changing scenario. There is a quest for more research with the aim of finding ways of successfully managing IT projects, as this will help project managers to enhance their level of productivity.

The first hypothesis of this research is formulated to help us with the idea that to be a successful information technology project manager, the project requires an effective project management approach. The project manager is required to manage people and resources as well as meet demands of a broad and complex form of management requisite. The project manager has to consider each of the following aspects to ensure a successful project:

a) Ability to make new resource combinations and adapt it in the project process;
b) Look into risk management;
c) Look into end-user management;
d) Enhancing domain knowledge;
e) Initiation of training to users;
f) Figuring out inappropriate procedures, routines and exclude them from the work process;
g) Improvement of management judgment; h) Retention of key personnel;
i) Improvement of vendor management;
j) Enhancement in productivity management;
k) Improvement of communication with stakeholders;
l) Improvement in financial management;
m) Improvement in project management skills;
n) Improvement in delegation and decision making; and
o) Taking care of unfulfilled promises to users and stakeholders.

It is important to note that there are a good number of factors to be considered in the management of information technology for the sake of effective operations and progress. This research focused on both the business and the technical aspects of the case. Furthermore, four major factors were identified and discussed, namely issue management, technology, operations, and risk management.

6.2 Conclusion

In the present era, business ventures require the support of information technology and communication systems. However, regardless of the rapid growth in technology, involvement of substantial efforts, funds, and investments, most projects still fail. Thus, this research was initiated to identify the key issues and possible solution needed to ensure project success.

A survey conducted within the scope of this research has generated a few facts that are useful towards an effective information technology project management. Furthermore, findings made plain in this research reveal that successful completion of IT projects greatly depend on the project manager. Moreover, IT projects need proper management of all stakeholders involved in the project through appropriate planning, clear vision and objectives, and adaptability to various project scenarios that cause change. The project manager plays a key role in the success or failure of a project. Emphasis is given mostly to timely communication during the project. This involves updates and sharing of information with all stakeholders involved in the project. Engaging the stakeholders at each phase of the project helps to present a transparent scenario of the project to the stakeholders, as well gaining their trust which is vital during the project.

6.3 Recommendation

For a successful outcome in an IT project, project managers should strive to engage stakeholders at every phase of the project. This will create a harmony between the stakeholder management process and the project activities. It will be helpful in building and encouraging a collaborative partnership among the stakeholders, which in turn will help in avoiding complicated decision, communication delay with stakeholders, and the combination of wrong stakeholders.

6.4 Suggestions for Further Research

Many information technology projects are considered successful if delivered on time and within budget, given a specific scope and other constraints. In this case, focus is often given to timely planning and cost estimation. However, most of the projects fail due to financial reasons such as a cost overrun. It must be considered that the current practice for cost estimation may not be suitable for most projects. If the cost estimation is incorrect, the project suffers a risk of failure and often leads to a compromise on the project scope and time. This can affect the project objectives and goals significantly. In conclusion, there is need for further research in the area of appropriate cost estimation at the early phase of an IT project.

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Details

Title
Project Management in the Information and Technology Industry
Subtitle
A Focus on Stakeholder Management
Course
École Supérieure d'Ingénieurs en Électrotechnique et Électronique
Grade
A+
Author
Year
2015
Pages
54
Catalog Number
V594488
ISBN (Book)
9783346218605
Language
English
Notes
Joint best thesis for the graduating class of 2015 - MSc. Management of Technology, Information Systems.
Tags
project management, information technology, project manager, stakeholder, technology, people, process, management, project constraints, communication, expectations
Quote paper
Kubiat Udo (Author), 2015, Project Management in the Information and Technology Industry, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/594488

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