Project Management for Information Systems
Information systems (IS) projects are vulnerable to resource cutbacks and the increasing complexity of systems and advances in information technology make finding the right personnel difficult and the associated development costs high. Good project management is essential for success. Some alignment methodologies include IBM's business systems planning (BSP), Robert Holland's strategic systems planning, James Martin's (1989) information engineering and method/1 from Anderson Consulting.
Critical success factors (Rockart, 1979) methodology focuses on identifying key information needs of senior executives and building information systems around those key needs.
Williams, (1997) identified four steps to system planning. Earl (1989) proposed five alternate strategy frameworks which project managers should consider when deciding how the system will enhance the business function. Standard business strategy methods are used to identify such opportunities by using: value chains, application searching and information analysis (Earl 1989).
Project managers may decide that major changes to business processes may be required. Change management is important for project managers and business leaders, starting at the project phase and continuing throughout the entire life cycle. Employees need training to understand how the system will change business processes.
Technology factors relate to the system software, support for legacy systems and the IT infrastructure on which the system will be put on. Information systems are powered by information technologies which need to last throughout the system development life cycle.
The responsibility for achieving success rests on the shoulders of the project manager, however increasingly there are limitations in the availability of man power, human capital and both equipment and financial resources. Information systems (IS) projects are often seen as being vulnerable to cutbacks in resources. Combined with the increasing complexity of system design and the rapid advances in information technology can make project management difficult due to the lack of experienced personnel and the associated high costs. These pressures force project managers to optimize the use of allocated resources to ensure that IS projects are delivered on time and on budget. IS has become integral to the core business and helps to facilitate management decisions allowing improved ability to anticipate, respond, and react to the growing demands of the marketplace. Now, more than ever, effective business strategy centers on aggressive, efficient use of information technology and the project manager plays a central role to ensure that IS projects facilitate this need (Sumner, M 1999).
Success requires excellent project management. The first step of any project plan is that scope should be established (Holland et al., 1999) and...