Information Technology Study Cases

Information Technology Study Cases

Rabia Imtiaz Durrani (Institute of Management Sciences, Pakistan) and Zainab Durrani (Institute of Management Sciences, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9993-7.ch013

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the use of project management tools, techniques, and software in projects. The chapter includes a detailed discussion on the use of information communication technology within projects and provides a tour of the software and project management methodologies used to deploy projects. To contextualize the discussion, a case study of four startup projects hosted by two different incubation centers is presented. The case study discussion is structured around four themes: financial aspects, family support, legal perspective, and project success and failure. Findings from the cases are then compared against the literature reviewed; finally, the chapter concludes by providing recommendations. However, the result divulges there is no proper mechanism that encompasses the use of project management software.
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Introduction

Project Management

Projects have been around since time immemorial. However, there are considerable differences between how projects were managed vs how they are managed now. Examples of some popular old projects include Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall of China and the ancient Roman projects. Formally, it was not until the 20th century that the field of project management originated. Since then, different developments have taken place in the discipline, such are Gantt charts, PERT/CPM, EVM, statistical quality control, AHP, etc. Presently, the discipline of project management provides an ample amount of opportunities and challenges for the organizations running them. However, the progress of both the field of project management and information technology (IT) has been considered revolutionary in many ways. Richard Nolan states that information technology has developed through three main eras; the electronic data processing era (EDP), the microcomputer era, and the network era. EDP era began in the 1960s, during which companies focused on organizational operations, such as inventory management, accounting task production, and scheduling management. This era includes the use of mainframe computers which has an impact on businesses. The main aim of this technology was to improve efficiency and lower the costs of the manual tasks carried out by individuals. However, IT projects in this era were generally structured and formalized, this was because things were quite stable in business operation and making changes was not a problem. However, in some cases, these systems created a communication gap between the departments, which hampered data exchange. It was the early 1980s, when the IBM Company launched personal computers (PC), ushering the beginning of the microcomputer era. The PC’s eventually gained favor over centralized computers, but this transition did not take place immediately and without conflict. Management faced problems as they challenged the centralized management of data. The IT resources of organizations were split between a collection of decentralized PC’s hosting information and a centralized computer with a centralized store of information. It was essential for companies to regain control of their IT resources. Therefore, IT was not only viewed as just a tool for lowering the cost of manual work but more of a tool for supporting knowledge management. Moreover, the managers needed an IT solution that would help manage and share information faster. IBM Company, in 1990 launched Windows 3.0 that was a breakthrough innovation in the tech world that made the use of PC much easier. Leading to eventually allowing people to own their digital content and share their content easily with everyone The Internet was born in the 1960s, as a project of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). In the mid-1980s, as sharing information over networks gained popularity the Internet was the way chosen to connect distributed computers spread across the country. The Internet evolved to host the World Wide Web in 1995. The era of networks let the IT projects to focus on difficulties in building a software infrastructure that would assist the businesses, industries, vendors, employees, and customers to manage their day-to-day operations smoothly. The digital age has begun for providing numerous opportunities for innovative ways of delivering products and services to customers worldwide. Hence, the microcomputing era projects focused on internal organization networks while network-era projects focused on the external communication network (Marchewka, 2002). Moreover, 1990s, leads to the concept of globalization which made things more reachable anywhere in the world. According to Thomas L. Friedman, the world has become flattered which means that individuals and organizations can connect or can be bought on the same platform conveniently any time, any place with the help of IT e.g. virtual teams. In the present time and the fast-growing market, any business whether it is small or big the managers need to implement every step wisely and strategically due to the increasing competition of securing the market-leading position. They need to use and implement the right tools of IT and project management for successful business results of projects. As the increase in competition, globalization, communication management, outsourcing and speed of service along with intangible assets, such as knowledge management factors are the emerging trends or value drivers for different companies. In this tech-world, the projects and business environment are highly complex and there is a critical need to employ tools of PM and technology. The reasons for investing in projects are not only to gain operational efficiency but also to achieve strategic objectives that will lead to profitable gains. Additionally, the IT tools and project management techniques may help optimize new operations or processes, business expansion and time management in order to achieve timely delivery of new products in the market (Anantatmula, 2008; Birk, 1990).Therefore, projects need to be designed to cater to the expectations of the project managers and project stakeholders. Information technology has made things a lot easier in operating projects, but to what extent IT has affected project management is a question to be addressed. To some extent, IT has changed businesses in every possible way one can imagine through advancement in both software and hardware and as well as communication technology. It could be argued that IT has thus, transformed the world of project management (Anantatmula, 2008).

A general overview of the origin and modern developments in the history of project management are in the table below. The table will give an idea about the progression of the project management field and its existence since the 20th century and its relationship with information technology.

Table 1.
YearThe history of Project Management development: A Timeline
1911“The Principle of scientific management” publication of Frederick Taylor.
1917The Gantt chart created by Henry Gantt
1956The American Association of Cost Engineering (AACE International) was founded.
1957The Critical Path technique developed by DuPont.
1958The Program Evaluation Review (PERT) developed by the United State Department of US Navy for its Polaris Project.
1962The Work Breakout Structure was mandated.
1965International Project management Association was founded.
1969The nonprofit Project management institution was founded.
1984The management philosophy theory of constraints developed by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt.
1986Scrum was named as a project management style.
1989Earn Value Management (EVM) came to prominence as a technique for project management.
1989PRINCE was created by UK government for the projects in a controlled environment.
1997Critical chain project management based on the methods and algorithm of constraint theory by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt.
2001Agile as a project style was introduced with a creation of the agile manifesto.
2008ProjectManager.com is released bringing project management into the cloud.

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