Examining Stakeholders' Roles in Influencing IT Project Cancellation Decisions

Examining Stakeholders' Roles in Influencing IT Project Cancellation Decisions

Gary Pan (Singapore Management University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-400-2.ch007
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Abstract

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 intended users in their daily practice. Understanding a product from the perspective of the end-user is one of the most important and often overlooked keys to the success of any project. Many products suffer from a lack of widespread utilization because developers and managers often have a deterministic view of the relationship between technology and users. This deterministic view leads to an over reliance on technical specifications as the driving force in the end users’ decision to adopt and use a product. However, a wide variety of human, organizational, social, and cultural factors also affect the acceptance and use of any product. Any organization, even those in the most highly technical and advanced fields, is, in reality, a dynamic example of a sociotechnical system in which people and machines interact, negotiate usage, compete for primacy, and generally co-exist. This chapter will provide a broad theoretical overview of the critical role that end-users play in the adoption, implementation, utilization, and institutionalization of any technology. A number of relevant theories will be discussed, including diffusion theory (e.g., Rogers, 1995), technological determinism (e.g., Ellul, 1967), sociotechnical systems (e.g., Volti, 2006), and utopian and dystopian philosophical perspectives (e.g., Rubin, 1996). In addition to a theoretical overview, this chapter will provide practical recommendations for developers and managers who wish to increase the utilization of their products by bringing the user into the development process. The practical recommendations will include a discussion of Ely’s (1999) conditions that facilitate the implementation of innovations. These conditions include developing a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, providing sufficient time to become familiar with a new technology, and generating meaningful commitment to the project by upper level managers. Also included in the practical recommendations will be a brief discussion of various organizational components that enable the introduction of innovations (Surry, Ensminger, & Haab, 2005). These components include the development and maintenance of an adequate infrastructure of supporting technologies, an emphasis on shared decision making, and ongoing support systems. Other recommendations to be discussed in this chapter will be derived from rapid prototyping models of development (e.g., Tripp & Bichelmeyer, 1990) and recent surveys of user-centered design methods.
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Introduction

Information technology (IT) has been playing an instrumental role in helping organizations to achieve success. However costly IT projects have raised the stakes associated with project failure as IT project cancellation is a widely recognized problem in the software development community (Iacovou and Dexter, 2005; Nelson, 2005). According to a report by Computing in 2003 on UK public sector organizations, IT project development emerged as a major problem area encompassing a series of cancellations and delays that incurred a staggering sum of around £1.5 billion. IT experts have attributed the high incidence of failure to the availability of few effective solutions for organizations to prevent project failure (Drummond, 1996) and the failure of organizations to learn from their own experiences (Pan et al., 2007).

While several factors may contribute to IT project failure, the roles played by various project stakeholders during project development may turn out to be vital to the success of project development (Pan and Pan, 2006). Generally, the development of an IT project requires effective participation of diverse stakeholders (Cavaye and Cragg, 1995). Lyytinen and Hirschheim (1987) underline the importance of fulfilling the expectations of relevant stakeholders in an IS development project. Without having proper understanding of stakeholders’ roles in projects may cause serious consequences during project development. In some cases, such misunderstanding alone may lead to project failure. Against such a backdrop, we undertook an exploratory research study into an abandoned electronic procurement (e-procurement) system development project. Specifically, the paper aims to examine stakeholders’ roles in influencing IT project cancellation decisions.

Thechapter is structured as follows: the background and research approach will be discussed. After that, data will be extracted from a case of an abandoned e-procurement project and findings are discussed along with implications and conclusion.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Project Cancellation: The act of deciding a planned project will not take place.

Role: A part or character played by an actor.

Influence: The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.

Project Management: The process of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling the production of a system

IT Project: A large or major undertaking involving information technology

Stakeholder Analysis: The evaluation of a group that has an interest in the project.

Case Study: A study of an individual unit, as a person, family, or social group, usually emphasizing developmental issues and relationships with the environment, esp. in order to compare a larger group to the individual unit.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Robert K. Hiltbrand
Preface
Terry T. Kidd
Acknowledgment
Terry T. Kidd
Chapter 1
James W. Price Jr., Pamila Dembla
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Chapter 2
A. J. Gilbert Silvius
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Project Management 2027: The Future of Project Management
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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
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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
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Chapter 5
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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
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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)
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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
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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
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Chapter 9
Evon M. O. Abu-Taieh, Asim A. El Sheikh, Jeihan M. Abu-Tayeh, Maha T. El-Mahied
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Chapter 10
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Chapter 11
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Chapter 12
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Chapter 13
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Chapter 14
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Chapter 15
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Chapter 16
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Chapter 17
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Chapter 18
Technical Risk Management  (pages 283-294)
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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
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Chapter 20
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Chapter 21
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Chapter 22
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Chapter 23
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Chapter 24
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Chapter 25
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Chapter 26
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Chapter 27
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Chapter 28
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Chapter 29
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Chapter 30
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Chapter 31
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