Bringing the User into the Project Development Process

Bringing the User into the Project Development Process

Daniel W. Surry (University of South Alabama, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-400-2.ch008
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

This chapter will discuss more than 20 system development life cycles (SDLC) found in the Information Technology project management arena, whereby, a comprehensive overview of the SDLCs history as well as the trigger that instigated its development would be laid out. Subsequently, the chapter will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using SDLC, whereby the chapter will explain where and when to use which SDLC. As such, the chapter will classify the different SDLCs into three non-exclusive categories: Traditional methodologies, agile methodologies, spiral methodologies and other types of methodologies that used in IT project Management.
Chapter Preview
Top

Theoretical Overview: End Users And Project Development

Most people would likely agree that understanding the needs, skills, behaviors, and attitudes of end users is a desirable part of the product development process. However, it is also likely that most people do not know the underlying theoretical reasons for understanding the end users. While there are many reasons for understanding the end users, including the refinement of product features and the development of supporting documentation, by far the most important reason is to increase the effective utilization of the product within the desired context of use.

There are many theories about how to increase the utilization of products. Many of these theories focus on the development of highly effective and efficient products as the key to increasing utilization. While no one would argue that the creation of effective and efficient products is an important goal of the development process, it is not sufficient to ensure widespread or effective utilization. In fact, there are many examples of technically superior products that have not found wide use. One of the most interesting historical examples is the case of highly precise methods of mass production in the early years of the Industrial Revolution (Morris, 2005). Even though the use of precision machinery reduced costs, shortened production cycles, and made interchangeability possible, the method was resisted by many, especially in England, because of existing social norms, resistance to innovation, and opposition from traditional craftsmen and guilds (Morris, 2005).

The preceding example illustrates how technically superior products are not always rapidly or widely adopted by users. It provides anecdotal support for the idea that product developers must have an understanding of how their products will affect users both practically and emotionally. In addition to anecdotal support, there are a number of theoretical and philosophical stances that strongly support the importance of understanding a product from the users’ perspective.

Ample theoretical support for including users in the product development process can be found in the cluster of theories related to the diffusion of innovations. For example, diffusion research has shown that users go through a process of fact finding, persuasion, decision, and confirmation before adopting a new product (Rogers, 1995). Because the adoption and use of a new product is a process, not an instant decision, the more time users have to learn about, try out, and interact with a product prior to its introduction, the quicker the product can be adopted and utilized. A key part of this innovation adoption process is re-invention (Rogers, 1995). Re-invention is the phenomenon of user initiated modifications to a product following adoption in response to practical necessities, unique or evolving work conditions, and other factors. If re-invention can take place during the development process, as opposed to post-development, then creative, unique, or desirable features can be included in the initial version of a product and, therefore, enhance adoption and facilitate use.

Innovativeness is another concept from diffusion theory that is relevant to the role of users in the development process. This concept states that different people within a given population will be more or less innovative than others (Rogers, 1995). More innovative people will tend to adopt and use a product earlier than less innovative people. This suggests that the end users of any product are not a homogenous group, but vary widely in their willingness to use a product. However, there is a tendency for highly innovative users to be overrepresented in the development process because they are often more vocal and visible to developers and managers. This overrepresentation skews product development to be more useful and desirable to innovative users while minimizing the needs and opinions of less innovative users. The obvious implication of this is that developers should seek out input from a wide cross section of users, highly innovative and less innovative, and develop products with features that appeal to each group.

Key Terms in this Chapter

End User: Any person who employs a product to complete a task. End users can be intended or unintended. However, it is more common to identify and consider intended end users during the development process as unintended end users can be difficult to anticipate.

Context of Use: The conditions under which a product is used by intended users in the performance of a task. This includes not only the technical environment but also all of the social, organizational, and personal characteristics of the performance site. Understanding context of use can assist developers in creating products that are practical, useable, and desirable to end users.

Institutionalization: The point at which a product ceases to be considered new or innovative as a result of widespread, ongoing, and substantive utilization by members of an organization or social system. Institutionalization is often seen as the ultimate goal of the adoption/implementation/diffusion process.

Diffusion: The process by which a product is introduced and disseminated throughout an organization or social system. The diffusion process begins after the initial decision to adopt a product and continues until the product is either abandoned or becomes institutionalized within the organization.

Technological Determinism: A philosophical stance that, in its most extreme form, views technology as and autonomous force and the primary driver of change in the modern world. Technological determinists believe that technological considerations tend to minimize or eliminate social, human, and organizational factors during the development and diffusion of a product.

Sociotechnical Systems: A theory that views people and technologies not as separate and discrete entities but as parts of a larger system. Sociotechnical systems theory states that a full understanding of any organization or social system can not be attained without understanding both how societal issues shape the development and use of technology and how technology shapes the capabilities, desires, and beliefs of society.

Utilization: The manner and method that a product is actually employed by end users in the context of use. Studying the utilization of a product can provide valuable information about the product, its features, its effectiveness, and potential upgrades and revisions.

Implementation: The process of facilitating the effective utilization of a product by end users in an organization or social system. Implementation commonly focuses on identifying potential barriers to the use of a product at a worksite and planning for the removal of those barriers.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Robert K. Hiltbrand
Preface
Terry T. Kidd
Acknowledgment
Terry T. Kidd
Chapter 1
James W. Price Jr., Pamila Dembla
As exploratory research, the chapter’s aim is to assess if Sun-Tzu’s application of Taoist principles are applicable to the problem domain of... Sample PDF
The Tao To Understanding Enterprise It Project Complexity: Sun-Tzu's Five Factors Revisited
$37.50
Chapter 2
A. J. Gilbert Silvius
This chapter describes a study into the expected development of the competences of the project manager in the year 2027. The study was performed... Sample PDF
Project Management 2027: The Future of Project Management
$37.50
Chapter 3
Gregory J. Skulmoski, Francis T. Hartman
The purpose of this research was to investigate the soft competencies by project phase that IT project managers, hybrid and technical team members... Sample PDF
The Progression Towards Project Management Competence
$37.50
Chapter 4
Ralf Müller
This chapter addresses project managers’ leadership styles, mainly from the perspective of technology projects. It starts by defining and outlining... Sample PDF
Leadership in Technology Project Management
$37.50
Chapter 5
Melanie S. Karas, Mahesh S. Raisinghani, Kerry S. Webb
A project manager’s role on any project goes far beyond task-related deliverables. Although the project manager must be able to effectively manage... Sample PDF
The Importance of Leadership in Project Management
$37.50
Chapter 6
Jaby Mohammed
This chapter introduces the concept of technology management by objectives. Technology is one of the fastest moving elements in the 21st Century... Sample PDF
Technology Management by Objectives (TMO)
$37.50
Chapter 7
Gary Pan
The goal of any product is to be used. In a very real sense, people judge the success or failure of any product by the extent to which it is used by... Sample PDF
Examining Stakeholders' Roles in Influencing IT Project Cancellation Decisions
$37.50
Chapter 8
Daniel W. Surry
This chapter will discuss more than 20 system development life cycles (SDLC) found in the Information Technology project management arena, whereby... Sample PDF
Bringing the User into the Project Development Process
$37.50
Chapter 9
Evon M. O. Abu-Taieh, Asim A. El Sheikh, Jeihan M. Abu-Tayeh, Maha T. El-Mahied
This chapter uses the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory and examines a business case, highlighting certain gaps in the theory. First, confusion... Sample PDF
Information Technology Projects System Development Life Cycles: Comparative Study
$37.50
Chapter 10
Francisco Chia Cua, Tony C. Garrett
This chapter introduces the Firm-Level Value Creation Model as a means of planning Information Systems projects based on their potential for... Sample PDF
Analyzing Diffusion and Value Creation Dimensions of a Business Case of Replacing Enterprise Systems
$37.50
Chapter 11
Otavio Prospero Sanchez, Alberto Luiz Albertin
In this chapter the authors investigate the management of service innovation projects; can ICT based service innovation be facilitated by... Sample PDF
IT Project Planning based on Business Value Generation
$37.50
Chapter 12
Bendik Bygstad, Gjermund Lanestedt
This chapter provides a framework for technology project implementation in systems where the human is an integral element of the completed project.... Sample PDF
Managing ICT Based Service Innovation
$37.50
Chapter 13
Katy E. Ellis
Project management is a carefully planned, organized effort to manage the resources in order to successfully accomplish specific project goals and... Sample PDF
Employee Preparation, Participation, and Performance
$37.50
Chapter 14
Jaby Mohammed, Ali Alavizadeh
This chapter provides a fundamental yet comprehensive coverage of quality management. Bringing managers and engineers the most up-to-date quality... Sample PDF
Quality Assurance in Project Management
$37.50
Chapter 15
Sohail Anwar
Project management is a carefully planned, organized effort to manage the resources in order to successfully accomplish specific project goals and... Sample PDF
Quality Management and Control
$37.50
Chapter 16
Dawn M. Owens, Deepak Khazanchi
Successful implementation of IT (information technology) projects is a critical strategic and competitive necessity for firms in all industrial... Sample PDF
Software Quality Assurance
$37.50
Chapter 17
Fayez Ahmad Albadri
An overwhelming number of Information Technology (IT) projects experience persistent problems and failures. This chapter reflects on some of the... Sample PDF
IPRM: The Integrated Project Risk Model
$37.50
Chapter 18
Technical Risk Management  (pages 283-294)
Pete Hylton
In today’s highly competitive industrial environment, many high-tech businesses are using Technical Risk Management (TRM) in their engineering... Sample PDF
Technical Risk Management
$37.50
Chapter 19
Lauren Fancher
IT projects across all sectors are relying on more iterative methodologies that can employ early and frequent assessment and evaluation processes in... Sample PDF
Early, Often, and Repeat: Assessment and Evaluation Methodology for Ensuring Stakeholder Satisfaction with Information Technology Projects
$37.50
Chapter 20
Chad J. Cray
Considering the high failure rate of information technology (IT) projects over the last 40 years, project managers should use all the tools at their... Sample PDF
A Needle in a Haystack: Choosing the Right Development Methodology for IT Projects
$37.50
Chapter 21
Mysore Narayanan
In this chapter, the author describes how one can implement and incorporate creative techniques to design, develop, document and disseminate a... Sample PDF
Project Management Assessment Methods
$37.50
Chapter 22
Mario Vanhoucke
It is well-known that well managed and controlled projects are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget. The construction of a... Sample PDF
Static and Dynamic Determinants of Earned Value Based Time Forecast Accuracy
$37.50
Chapter 23
Michele De Lorenzi
This chapter presents a technology exploration process designed to support service innovation for information and communication technologies in a... Sample PDF
Technology Exploration Process: From Technology to New Services
$37.50
Chapter 24
Henryk R. Marcinkiewicz
Three models structure the planning for technology integration into instruction. Institutional needs are assessed for three dimensions suggested in... Sample PDF
Planning for Integrating Technology
$37.50
Chapter 25
Michael Crow
Kansas State University has ensured greatly increased academic involvement in the implementation of its new student information system through the... Sample PDF
University Task Force Deepens Academic Involvement in ERP System
$37.50
Chapter 26
Joni A. Amorim, Carlos Machado, Rosana G.S. Miskulin, Mauro S. Miskulin
The production of quality educational multimedia content involves both its publication and its use, considering aspects ranging from metadata... Sample PDF
Production, Publication, and Use of Educational Multimedia Content in Brazil: Challenges and Opportunities in Real World Technology Projects
$37.50
Chapter 27
Hasan Tinmaz
Technology planning is an indispensable activity for all higher education institutions nowadays. The major purpose of the technology planning is to... Sample PDF
Instructional Technology Plans for Higher Education Institutions
$37.50
Chapter 28
Patricia McGee, Veronica Diaz
The rapid proliferation of e-learning tools that offer low or no cost investment and are not housed on institutional servers, has made it very... Sample PDF
Shifting from Classroom to Online Delivery
$37.50
Chapter 29
Bimal P. Nepal, Leslie Monplaisir
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in automotive industry are faced with the conflicting goals of creating vehicles with higher reliability... Sample PDF
Lean and Global Product Development in Auto Industry
$37.50
Chapter 30
Debra D. Orosbullard
The business world is running at a faster pace than ever before. Globalization has partnered the world and new ways of doing business to meet... Sample PDF
Future Trends: Global Projects & Virtual Teaming
$37.50
Chapter 31
Geoffrey Corb, Stephen Hellen
Social networking technologies—such as Wikis, blogs and instant messaging—are increasingly being employed in business settings to support... Sample PDF
Wiki-enabled Technology Management
$37.50
Chapter 32
Owen G. McGrath
Higher education IT project managers have always relied on user activity data as logged in one form or another. Summarized counts of users and... Sample PDF
Mining User Activity Data In Higher Education Open Systems: Trends, Challenges, and Possibilities
$37.50
About the Contributors