Understanding Project Management For Information Technology (It) Dissertation Introduction Samples
Project management and Information technology (IT) are almost synonymous. The popularity and wide usage of project management skyrocketed after information technology industry started growing. One of the main tasks of information technology is to integrate legacy and other disparate systems used by not only a company but by its vendors, suppliers and customers. Information technology moves from one project to another. Project based nature of Information Technology implementations made project management for IT even more important. This study conducts a major survey with the project managers and asks for their views on the importance of project management in IT implementation and system integrations. Several factors are considered while interviewing and analyzing the results. The size of the project, size of the organization, complexity of the project, number of entities involved in the project, ease of integration and resource availability are some of the parameters that have been taken into account for the survey. The correlations between those parameters and the success of IT projects, using project management methodology, have been measured. Project success is determined by four parameters mainly; scope, time, cost, and quality of delivery. The background of project management, methodology and hypothesis of the study have also been discussed in the paper.
Keywords: Information Technology, Project Management, System Integration
In the modern day to day world affairs, the importance of information technology cannot be overlooked. It is almost impossible to go through a magazine, newspaper or Web page without hearing about how information technology (IT) is impacting the society. With information travelling faster at lightning speed and being shared by people than ever before, one can get to know everything about the world just sitting right behind a laptop in the comfort of one's home. One can shop groceries, clothes, books, pets, and almost everything one can think of online, surf the internet on a mobile phone, and use a wireless internet connection at the local coffee shop. The influence of Information Technology, in one word, is ubiquitous. In the prevalence of information technology, organizations have begun to understand that their future depends on their ability to make use of the power of information technology. In order to harness the power of information technology, companies are growingly relying on the service of software companies that help streamline the execution of a work and produce effective results by implementing different innovative products. These innovative products are the result of successful execution of information technology projects.
IT project management refers to the process of planning, organizing and showing responsibility for the execution of organization-specific IT goals. The projects implemented at IT companies vary from that of other companies. IT companies typically have project-based organizational structure in which the departments and the company's personnel are organized around each particular project undertaken (Peslak, 2012). The IT projects can be small or large, involving a single person or thousands of people. The projects can be executed within a day or two or it might take a few years to complete (Schwalbe, 2011). Information technology projects typically involve the use of software, hardware, and networks to create a service, product or result. Some examples of information technology projects include the following:
A college campus decides to upgrade its technology infrastructure to enable wireless internet access across the whole campus
A web site is designed and developed by an automobile industry to streamline the process of procurement (Peslak, 2012).
10 laptops of a small department of an organization are replaced by a technician.
A company decides to purchase Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) system and implement it to increase organizational efficiency (Schwalbe, 2011).
A system developed by the government to keep tab on child immunizations.
The successful execution of information technology projects depend on many factors. One of such factors is the efficiency involvement in project management.
The success of a project depends largely on how efficient a project manager fulfills the project requirements, taking into account all the aspects involved in a project. The execution of each IT project faces the limitation of scope, time, and cost goals (Peslak, 2012). These limitations are together referred as the triple constraint. Each IT project is overseen either by a single IT project manager or a few IT project managers. It is the responsibility of the project managers to consider the triple constraint for creating a successful project. They should define the scope of the project, which typically refers to the work to be done as part of the project. They should also make the initial estimation of the time required for executing the project, and based on the rough estimation of time, they should make the cost estimation, taking into account the risk and potential payoff as high, medium or low (Schwalbe, 2011).
Aside from the triple constraint, there are other limitations that influence projects. Quality and customer or sponsor satisfactions are other parameters that project managers do need to take into account (Peslak, 2012). It might happen that a project fulfills scope, time, and cost goals but fails to satisfy the customers or sponsors and meet the expected quality standards as a result of which the project might turn into a total fiasco. The answer to avoid the problems that might result in the failure of meeting the scope, time and cost goals or satisfying the customer or sponsor lies in good project management. In order for successful project management, it is not enough for the project managers to fulfill specific scope, time, cost and quality goals, they should further facilitate the whole process so that the expectations and needs of the stakeholders involved or affected by project initiatives can be fulfilled.
The project management of IT face many challenges that conventional project management practices in construction and Research and Development industries do not encounter. The problem that proves a setback to the successful execution of a project in the IT industry is the uncertainty involved in a project. Rarely, projects finish in accordance with the initial planning of scope, time and cost goals. The main problem is that because of the intricacy involved in information technology projects, often it becomes difficult to gauge the issues that may fail a project. Besides having have multiple parties involved in any project implementation, IT projects also involve other complexities such as different types of technologies, different types of resources, skill requirements, training needs and communication needs that render these projects difficult to manage. Understanding the success factors for project management is crucial as they are different from other industries.
After looking at the available literature and understanding the problem statement, it was found that there is not enough quantitative and qualitative study done on the subject.
Hypothesis 1: The first part of the study will examine the hypothesis that factors like easy availability of resources and disparate legacy systems play a huge role in the success of IT project management.
Hypothesis 2: The second part of the study will try to validate that project management in IT projects often fails due to poor understanding of the scope of the project in case of complex implementations.
Hypothesis 3: Finally, the study will validate that most of the IT projects exceed both the estimated time and cost before even the project starts, because of the lack of knowledge of the project sponsors and managers about the IT process.
The study is conducted as a qualitative study. As there are many complex and overlapping factors that influence the overall success of the project, it is almost impossible to create a quantitative study and then deduce from the result how single factors influence a project management success in IT. Therefore, qualitative study was conducted. However, like any qualitative study, interpretation of the answers based on the reply varies, which can cause differences in the final conclusion. Building credibility to engage interviewees fully in the process is also important else they may provide answers that may represent half-truth.
Engaging discussion with the interviewees is the main way to extract information. It is important that the interviewer should be able to lead the discussion towards a meaningful and desired conclusion. Interviewer skill is very important. Also, making quantitative prediction from a qualitative study is almost impossible.
As a small interview pool was interviewed as part of the project (because of time and budget constraint), it is possible that the conclusions are not representative of the whole population and represent the personal opinion of a few people interviewed. Although special attention is taken to reduce the interviewer’s personal bias, but there is a possibility that the answers are somewhat influenced by the interviewer bias.
Finally, because of resource constraint, only a few factors that influence the success of a project in Information Technology were examined. Factors like the role of complexity of technology implemented or software developed are not examined in detail and have been kept out of scope.
Definition of Terms
Information Technology – As per the definition cited by Merriam Webster (2012), information technology refers to the operation of developing, maintaining, using computer systems, software and networks for the processing and distribution of data.
Project - A project is defined as a temporary action undertaken to create a unique service, product, or result (Schwalbe, 2011).
Project management - Project management is defined as the application of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to meet the goal of projects and fulfill the project requirements (Schwalbe, 2011).
Project Manager – A project manager, in an IT industry, is defined as the professional in charge of overseeing the process of planning, executing and delegating responsibilities for the pursuit and fulfillment of an organization's IT goals (Peslak, 2012).
IT – Information Technology
U – Unit
PMO – Project Management Office
SDLC – Software Development Life Cycle
PLC – Project Life Cycle
Merriam Webster (2012). Definition of Information Technology. Retrieved on 26th March, 2015 from <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/information%20technology>
Peslak, A. (2012). Information Technology Project Management and Project Success. International Journal Of Information Technology Project Management, 3(3), 31-44. doi:10.4018/jitpm.2012070103
Schwalbe, K. (2011). Information Technology Project Management. 6th Edition. Cengage Learning.
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