Emphasise relationships as well as targets to ensure project success


Emphasise relationships as well as targets to ensure project success

Leadership, stakeholder relationship and risk management within project management are often neglected in favour of setting and achieving aggressive time and cost targets, according to research by BCS member John McManus.

The emphasis on time and cost produces some of the most destructive behaviour in project management, concluded McManus as part of research for his PhD.

Project success depends more on the ability to lead, influence, and manage risk; and on stakeholder relationships.

The cost of failure makes it important to understand what makes a project successful, according to McManus. Conservative estimates put the cost of project failure at £97bn across the European Union.

Research highlights that only one in eight IT projects can be considered truly successful (that is, meeting the original time, cost and quality criteria). Despite such failures, huge sums continue to be invested in IT projects and are written off.

"While our understanding of the importance of project failure has increased, many of the underlying reasons for failure still remain an issue and a point of contention for practitioners and academics alike," said McManus.

"It is argued that developing an alternative framework (or model) for software project management founded on a leadership, stakeholder and risk management [PM/LSR] premise will lead to a better understanding of the issues that may attribute to the successful delivery of projects."

According to McManus, the PM/LSR framework provides a more precise way of researching and talking about the discipline of management within information systems project management.

Although research provides insights into the nature and content of the PM/LSR framework, McManus said further development of this framework is required. This will, therefore, be the focal point for future research by 2008.

For information on BCS membership visit: www.bcs.org/membership

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This was first published in July 2006


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