Introduction to Very Large IT Projects

Introduction to Very Large IT Projects

Matthew Guah (Erasmus School of Economics, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-546-7.ch001
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Abstract

This chapter classifies the purpose of project management in IT projects as a means of introducing the topics covered in the book and demonstrates how a successful project manager must simultaneously manage these four basic elements of a very large IT project (resources, time, money, and scope). It also explains the impact of very large IT projects on business and the wider society today.
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Introduction

Evidence that the size of an IT project is used to determine the extent to which project management practices are formally applied does not only come from the fact that sizing the project is a ‘best-feel’ technique among practitioners but also that it can be a scientifically derived factor. The size of an IT project guides the project manager through the application of project management practices helpful to that particular project (Reiss, 2007). Thus, embarking on a very large IT project (VLITP) requires that the host organization be aware of its “a priori” chances of success. Statistics of VLITPs failure rate provide a good measure of those chances (Cross, 2005). They are not shown to demoralize executives and to deter them from undertaking VLITP. This book is written to make project managers ponder on how to approach this endeavor so as to maximize their chances of success.

A successful project manager must simultaneously manage the four basic elements of a project: resources, time, money, and most importantly, scope (Archibald, 2003; Brown and Jones, 1998; Mochal and Mochal, 2003). The following elements of VLITP are interrelated and must be managed effectively for success:

  • Resources (people, equipment, and material)

  • Time (task durations, dependencies, and critical path)

  • Money (costs, contingencies, profit)

  • Scope (project size, goals, and requirements)

General IT project management literature emphasize the need to manage and balance the first three elements above, but the fourth element (scope) is most important for VLITP—the primary focus of this book (Kerzner, 1989; Patel and Morris, 1999; Webster, 1993; Youker, 1989). All VLITPs are expected to accomplish objectives based on project scope, restricted by the budget—of time and money. It is absolutely imperative that any change to VLITP scope has a matching change in budget, time and resources. Usually, scope changes occur in the form of “scope creep”. Scope creep is the piling up of small changes that in a normal IT projects are manageable, but very significant for VLITPs. Within different stages of a VLITP minor changes can become a major addition without the equivalent adjustment in the overall project budget. Such situation can be best handled in a VLITP by ensuring any requested change—regardless how small—is accompanied by approval for a change in budget, schedule or both. VLITP cannot effectively manage the resources, time and money unless the project scope is actively managed (Bergeron and Bégin, 1989). When the project scope has been clearly identified and associated to the timeline and budget, the management of the project resources can begin. These include the people, equipment, and material needed to complete the project.

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Classification Of It Projects

Project management practices help ensure that projects can be completed in a structured fashion – on time, on budget and producing expected results. Table 1 helps us to understand why one size may not fit all IT projects justifying the need for all IT projects to have a minimum level of project management strategy to ensure its success. The author refers to this classification (see Table 1) throughout the book to remind readers that project management process should not overtake the IT project and reiterates that applying the project management practices must consider differences in project size. When applied literally, Table 1 provides guidelines on possible roles of various participants in an IT project, dependent on the project size—obviously taking into these are only guidelines which can best serve as initial determining factors—in addition prior knowledge and experience of members in the project team.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Leslie Willcocks
Acknowledgment
Chapter 1
Matthew Guah
This chapter classifies the purpose of project management in IT projects as a means of introducing the topics covered in the book and demonstrates... Sample PDF
Introduction to Very Large IT Projects
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Chapter 2
Matthew Guah
By examining the history of what was earlier considered project management, this chapter not only points out lessons from past practices but also... Sample PDF
The Field of Project Management
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Chapter 3
Matthew Guah
The basis upon which the objectives and policies for managing a VLITP are formulated is the need to achieve the project objectives on time and under... Sample PDF
Why Implement Very Large IT Projects
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Chapter 4
Matthew Guah
Different VLITP methodologies are capable of solving various types of problems during a project life cycle. This chapter shows that effect of VLITP... Sample PDF
Methodologies for Implementing VLITPs
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Chapter 5
IT Governance  (pages 69-83)
Matthew Guah
VLITP managers face unprecedented expectations for their governance. These expectations are driven by mandates and other demands from host... Sample PDF
IT Governance
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Chapter 6
IT Security  (pages 84-95)
Matthew Guah
One area that has scarcely received attention in the IT security literature, is the role that individual compliance plays in preventing... Sample PDF
IT Security
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Chapter 7
Matthew Guah
The study of diffusion, adoption, and IT project implementation in popular literature relies on theories which do not address the question of why... Sample PDF
Human Resource Issues in VLITP
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Chapter 8
Matthew Guah
Medical accidents, such as those that occur as a consequence of errors in medical systems, rarely happen because of a single failure. They are... Sample PDF
Ergonomics of Very Large IT Projects
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Chapter 9
Matthew Guah
For centuries, organizations have been trying to exchange information between their applications by linking them together. However, such application... Sample PDF
Service-Oriented Architecture: A New Platform for Very Large IT Projects
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Chapter 10
Matthew Guah
The chapter seeks to advance the practice perspective of VLITP by drawing attention to individual, collective sub-teams and host organizational... Sample PDF
Business Process Management
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Chapter 11
Matthew Guah
VLITP escalation has been documented to be a widespread phenomenon in the 21st century. Nearly every research in this area has portrayed escalation... Sample PDF
Outsourcing and Escalation Issues in VLITPs
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Chapter 12
Matthew Guah
The traditional way to achieve the automatic execution of project management processes is to develop or purchase an application that executes the... Sample PDF
VLITP Management Framework
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Chapter 13
Matthew Guah
The National Programme for Information Technology is the largest civil IT program worldwide at an estimated cost of £6.2 bn, US$ 10 billion, over a... Sample PDF
Case Study I: National Program for IT
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Chapter 14
Matthew Guah
VLITP can shift the direction of organizations by introducing new systems and emerging technologies that can serve as a trigger for change to the... Sample PDF
Case Study II: RFID—A Technology for Enterprise Systems in the Airlines Industry
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Chapter 15
Matthew Guah
Prediction markets have proven high forecasting performance in many areas such as politics, sports, and business-related fields, compared to... Sample PDF
Case Study III: VLITP in Public Transport— Implementing OV-Chipcard in The Netherlands
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