Information Technology Project Outcomes: An Exploratory Study of Project Managers’ Viewpoints

Information Technology Project Outcomes: An Exploratory Study of Project Managers’ Viewpoints

Muhammed A. Badamas (Morgan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jitpm.2011100105
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Abstract

Enterprise IT projects can end up costing much more than initial estimations, taking much longer time than expected or delivering benefits below expectations. The success or failure of IT projects, however, depends on the project managers. Many reasons are attributed to the success or failure of an IT project. The major stakeholders who are involved in IT projects are the right people to provide these reasons. This study was conducted among IT project managers in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan area to find out the most important reasons that projects succeed or fail. Washington-Baltimore metropolitan is a major hub of IT activities because of the location of the U.S. Federal Government, several government agencies and the presence of many IT contactors in the area. The study provides metric for comparing reasons for success or failure of IT projects with those projects not located in the area.
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Literature Review

Some 33% of respondents to a recent survey identified project management as the number one management challenge for the decade, indicating that the biggest project management challenges that IT will face in the coming years are global teams, vendor partners and project portfolios (Brandel, 2006). In a recent survey by KPMG International, 81% of companies reported increases in the number of new IT projects in the past 12 months, and 88% reported increase in the complexity of projects (Bednarz & Dubie, 2006). According to the Standish Group Report more than $250 billion is spent a year on about 175,000 IT projects in U. S., and the average cost of a project for a large company is $2,322,000. For a medium company it is $1,331,000 and for a small company, it is $434,000 (Standish, 2000). According to the same Standish Group Report, 31.1% of projects will be canceled before they even get completed, while 52.7% of the projects will cost 189% of their original estimates (Standish, 2000). Large IT projects that adopted formal project management practices were more probable to meet the project target dates. IT Projects with a high degree of complexity which involved outsourcing and adoption of formal project management practices were more likely to meet the project target dates (Gowan, 2005).

The outcome of a project can be measured in many ways. Assessing project success is not precise (O’Brochta, 2002). A project succeeds if the result is of sufficient quality and the expectations of the stakeholders are met. Reasons for some success in project management are significantly related to company/organization size, project size, organization type, and project managers’ work experience (Hyvari, 2006). In examining reasons affecting the success of IT projects, data about the leadership capabilities of IT project managers of 57 projects were collected and analyzed. The assessments provided by supervisors and subordinates were found to be significant predictors of outcomes (Sumner et al., 2006). Two criteria are sufficient to determine the macro viewpoint of project success. These are completion and satisfaction (Lim, 1999).

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