A methodology is a set of guidelines or principles that can be tailored and applied to a specific situation (Jason P. Charvat, 2003). IT Project Management Methodology is characterized as a collection of methods to perform highly structure planning, scheduling and scoping of IT project in order to deliver welcoming products or services to clients (Jason P. Charvat, 2003). A software development methodology refers to the framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system (Selecting a Development Approach, 2008). A successful project management methodology aims to structure the processes of leading project to a satisfied end by undertaking certain right perspectives and logical sequences of processes within the project development life cycle.
A reasonable project management methodology is crucial to bridge the cap between rough project plans and detailed technical matters. According to the figures from KPMG International, 81% of companies reported an increase in the number of new IT projects in the past 12 months(2006), and 88% reported an increase in the complexity of projects (Ann Bednarz & Denise Dubie, 2006). Generally speaking, IT project is relatively more complex and technical than in other disciplines. During the life cycle of IT project, the methodology is used to monitor the status of progress at each phase. At the same time, due to diverse nature of information technology project, acceptable IT project management methodology ensures the entire project on the right track and consistency of process, and reviews the further possible improvements by evaluating current strategies and progresses. Regardless, clear IT management methodology is a critical process to manage the project activities precisely and greatly increase the odds of project success (Stephen B. Page, 2002). Information technology project management methodology commonly consists of five major components, which are initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing of project (Kathy Schwalbe, 2006). The five phases are interrelated, and each of these components represents a specific phase of project development life cycle. For example, planning processes involve several comprehensive aspects of the project, such as schedule management plan, scope management plan, cost estimates, possible training and procurement plans, and so on, defining each related knowledge area at that point in time (Joseph Phillips, 2004 & Kathy Schwalbe, 2006). From the big picture, the executing processes require the most resources and time, following by the planning processes (Kathy Schwalbe, 2006).
Software development is a phase of software production. It includes all stages of activities to develop software which meets the needs of clients and potential user groups. The term “Software development” is different from project management, as software development usually falls under the execution phase of project management. In other word, software development is a subset of project management. However, they still have some other overlaps. For software development lifecycle, it still incorporates some sections from planning processes, monitoring and controlling processes. In addition, the software development cannot be self-sufficient and independent from project management as the development process is the inner cycle of IT project. Furthermore, the software development methodologies and IT project management methodologies are also interlinked but differ from each other. The aim of software development methodologies is to provide a framework to assist and clarify each individual phase of development lifecycle from the start to completion, and improve overall performance of software product. Whereas IT project management methodologies focus on the entire procedures of activities involved in the project life, an IT project itself not only contains certain amount of software development tasks but also other correlated preliminaries and later stage finalizations. For instance, an IT project could be split into different streams, deployment component is part of the project and it operates under the project management methodologies. The software development methodologies only monitor the stage of software development, but IT project management methodologies are also employed to assist the running of the whole project (Kurt Bittner & Ian Spence, 2007). In general, IT project management methodologies widely spread on the project management template. They are the guidelines to assist software development kind of technical activities and planning stage kind of administration activities.
The efficient delivery of IT projects means the project is capable of using optimized amount of identified and allocated resources to deliver products or services to clients. It mainly focuses on the integrated resource use by the project whereby time and budget are two indicators. The minimized acquisition cost of project from start to completion defines the basis of efficient delivery. The term “Triple Constrains” is defined as scope, time and budget. The scope factor is used to measure the effectiveness of the project. The effective delivery of IT project suggests that the project provides desired level of quality and enables clients to use the products or services effectively (Wim Van Grembergen, 2001).
The use of IT project management methodologies is considered important in the efficient and effective delivery of IT projects. In general terms, the balance of scope, time and budget is always crucial for IT project’s success. It helps to reduce the cost of a project by accomplishing more workload with lower amount of resources and a shorter time frame without any expense of quality (Stephen B. Page, 2002). This goal is achieved only by applying appropriate methodologies to project management. Moreover, a clear methodology ensures the entire operation of project is following predetermined sequences of processes and enables monitoring the project in terms of cost, timing and schedule (Jason P. Charvat, 2003). Since the operation of project is capable of optimize using allocated resources, the project maintains a good balance status in terms of time and budget. Budget control, meeting deadlines and fulfill the general customer requirements are essential to reach the scope of high quality project (Stephen B. Page, 2002). At the same time, a clear definition of scope is very important to successful completion of project and positive feedbacks from users in order to accomplish the aims of effective delivery of IT projects.
A standard IT project management methodology enables different parties in the project team to unify interdepartmental activities. Although it is inevitable to encounter conflicts and possible confusion between team members during the project life-cycle stages, an appropriate methodology should be applied to resolve the technical or non-technical conflicts by certain approaches. For instance, the methodology authorizes project manager to acquire sufficient information about the conflicts by looking through the conflicting parties’ point of views (Stephen B. Page, 2002). If the conflict is a technical issue, the resolution process could be done by involving both parties and a technical expert to search for an ideal resolution which is indentified and agreed by all parties (Stephen B. Page, 2002). However, for non-technical conflicts, project manager or other senior managers should attempt to help it out as soon as possible via different ways (Stephen B. Page, 2002). As mentioned above, reduction of internal conflicts is able to cut back the opportunity cost, which has assisting effects on efficient and effective delivery of IT project. In general, conflicts would result in consuming extra resources of the project, but it could still be beneficial to the project as the resolutions may produce more effective ways of performing tasks (Manjeet Singh), or possibly reduce the risks of failure.
Furthermore, an early introduction of formal IT project management methodologies adds critical values to the project itself. It is extremely important to clarify all intended processes, procedures and documents required in each phase before kick-off (Stephen B. Page, 2002). Early stage of methodology notification provides a roadmap to all stakeholders. This produces synergistic effect, which could possibly minimize the total amount of resources committed to the project (Harold Kerzner, 2004). In addition, the methodologies are enhanced through the valuable insights from the pre-discussion at the beginning of the project (Harold Kerzner, 2004). Otherwise, delay in obtaining the information about methodology leads to unnecessary waste of time and efforts. It is unclear for each party involved in the project to produce demanded deliverables. Possible restart or backtrack to initial start point would be required in order to reproduce intended outcomes.
To sum up, appropriate use of IT project management methodologies bring various kinds of benefits while undertaking IT project. Project managers also need to aware of the proper time to introduce the methodologies to team members.
- Ann Bednarz & Denise Dubie, November 15 2006, Project management software can curb IT inefficiencies, Network World, viewed 18 March 2010, <http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/111506-project-management-software.html>.
- Harold Kerzner, 2004, Advanced project management: best practices on implementation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,Hoboken, New Jersey, p. 116.
- Jason P. Charvat, 2003, Project management methodologies: selecting, implementing, and supporting methodologies and processes for projects, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, p.3. pp.10-11.
- Joseph Phillips, 2004, IT project management: on track from start to finish, The McGraw-Hill Companies, pp.459-406.
- Kathy Schwalbe, 2006, Information Technology Project Management Fourth Edition, Thomson Course Technology, p. 72, p. 95, p.110.
- Kurt Bittner, Ian Spence, 2007, Managing iterative software development projects, Pearson Education, Inc, p.550.
- Manjeet Singh, Resolving conflicts, ProjectMinds, viewed 21 Mar 2010, <http://www.projectminds.com/Article5.html>.
- Stephen B. Page, Aug 14 2002, the key to becoming a successful project manager, TechRepublic, viewed 21 Mar 2010, <http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1049968.html>.
- U.S Department of Health & Human Services, March 27 2008, SELECTING A DEVELOPMENT APPROACH, U.S Department of Health & Human Services, viewed 17 March 2010,
- Wim Van Grembergen, 2001, Information Technology Evaluation Methods & Management, Idea Group Publishing, p. 214.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: