The Impact of Missing Skills on Learning and Project Performance

The Impact of Missing Skills on Learning and Project Performance

James Jiang (University of Central Florida, USA), Gary Klein (University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, USA), Phil Beck (Southwest Airlines, USA) and Eric T.G. Wang (National Central University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-128-5.ch017
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Abstract

To improve the performance of software projects, a number of practices are encouraged that serve to control certain risks in the development process, including the risk of limited competences related to the application domain and system development process. A potential mediating variable between this lack of skill and project performance is the ability of an organization to acquire the essential domain knowledge and technology skills through learning, specifically organizational technology learning. However, the same lack of knowledge that hinders good project performance may also inhibit learning since a base of knowledge is essential in developing new skills and retaining lessons learned. This study examines the relationship between information system personnel skills and domain knowledge, organizational technology learning, and software project performance with a sample of professional software developers. Indications are that the relationship between information systems (IS) personnel skills and project performance is partially mediated by organizational technology learning.
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Hypothesis Development

Broad categories of critical IS personnel skills are identified, including (1) technical specialties/technology management skills and (2) business domain knowledge and skills (Jiang et al., 2003). Unfortunately, given decades of emphasis, these IS skills were still not linked to IS project performance (Byrd & Turner, 2001). This may be due to the lack of an intervening variable similar to an established relationship between IS staff competency and firm performance where learning is a mediator (Tippins & Sohi, 2003). This study investigates the possibility of a variation on learning as a mediating variable in the project context between IS personnel knowledge and skills and IS project success.

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