Problem Definition In 1994, a Scientific American article observed that for every six huge software systems that are successfully installed, two others are cancelled. It noted that an average software development project exceeds its estimated schedule by half with bigger projects doing worse (Gibbs 1994). The article also stated that most software systems either do not function properly or are simply not used for the purpose for which they were built (Gibbs 1994). According to reports by Avanade personnel on their interview with Information Technology (IT) and Operation managers from approximately 102 companies, most large companies within the UK have suffered from at least one failed IT project within the past three years. Another 40% experienced project failures between 2004 and 2008. Failed IT projects can cause firms a lot of money before they are terminated or redirected (Keil, Mixon & Tuunainen 1995). The largest cause of project failure is attributed to poor system specification and inadequate capturing of users’ requirements. Some companies attribute their failures to the choice of technology selected. The major causes of project failure include inadequate involvement of users in the development of IT solutions, unrealistic implementation schedules, inadequate requirements, scope creep, and uncontrolled changes to system specification, amongst others. A project is said to have failed when the budget is exceeded by 30% or more, when the schedule has been exceeded by 30% or more or when the presented results do not meet stakeholder expectations (Whitaker 1999). Failure of IT projects still remains a big issue.
Objectives of the Research As businesses are beginning to understand the benefits of IT, they are more than willing to spend money on implementing and maintaining their technological systems. Effective and proven project management methodologies need to be adopted to ensure that organizations can realize the full benefits of their investments. This research aims to identify the major problems that organizations face today in successfully completing IT projects. An organization will be used as a case study for evaluating and rating the challenges faced in IT projects. Another major objective of the research is to identify best practices and trusted methodologies for managing complex IT projects. These methodologies will subsequently be adapted to any organization in question for achieving optimal results. The research would also identify IT tools and equipment that are needed to ensure the successful completion of projects.
Importance of the Research
Project Management is one of the core disciplines that deal with managing complex, high-level projects from inception to completion. IT projects are one of the most vulnerable to failure. Successful projects lead to fulfilled customers and clients, which is the main objective of any business. Information technology is an enabler of business processes that should be integrated into daily business functions in order to achieve positive results. For businesses to utilize Information Technology effectively, tested project management principles and best practices need to be applied. Managing the triple constraints of time, budget and quality is at the core of creating successful IT projects. Risk, Quality, Scope, Risk, Human Resources, Time, Procurement and other major business processes in today’s organization need to be managed appropriately to ensure stakeholder satisfaction.
Gibbs, W. W. 1994, ‘Software's Chronic Crisis’, Scientific American, pp. 86.
Keil, M., Mixon, R., Saarinen, T., & Tuunainen, V. 1995, ‘Understanding runaway information technology projects: Results from an international research program based on escalation theory’, Journal of Management Information Systems, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 65.
Whittaker, B. 1999, ‘What Went Wrong? Unsuccessful Information Technology Projects’, Information Management and Computer Security, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 23.