IS Project Management: A Comprehensive Guide

10 Knowledge Areas of IS Project Management

IS Project management refers to the procedure of planning, organizing, and defining the duties and responsibilities for the achievement of specific Information System goals of an organization. The following report describes the project activities related to the 10 knowledge areas of project management for the entire IS project lifecycle. In this context, the report also includes a list of PM activities, and documents such as PM plan, Risk Management, and PM Quality Management plan. Furthermore, the report also discusses about the cultural awareness and legal issues while working at the international level.

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Following are the 10 knowledge management areas of IS project where the focus of project manager is essential for its accomplishing:

The primary objective of the integration management knowledge area is to carry out and deliver the project within the time. It is the only project management knowledge area which includes five activities necessary for creating the project charter, directing and organizing the project tasks (Turner, and Ledwith, 2018). These processes also help the project manager to build a project management plan, along with controlling and monitoring the project till its closing.

This knowledge area aims to define the IS project scope. The Scope management knowledge area in IS project possesses six activities. These are planning of scope management, collecting information, determining the scope, designing WBS, confirming, and controlling the scope.

The purpose of Schedule Management knowledge area is to finish the project on time with consistency. It has seven activities among which one belongs to the controlling and monitoring the process group while the remaining six are related to the planning stage. These are: planning of schedule management, describing processes, sorting activities, determining activity resources, determining activity times, creating the schedule and managing the schedule (Martinelli, and Milosevic, 2016).

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Cost Management Knowledge Area in IS project aims to carry out the project within the estimated budget. This knowledge area possesses four activities which are developing cost management, computing costs, preparing the budget, and managing the costs.

The purpose of this knowledge area in IS project is to meet out the objectives of project’s quality. It has three activities which are planning of management process, carrying out the quality assurance plan, and monitoring the quality process.

This knowledge is also called as Human Resource Management Knowledge Area, having four activities which aim to conduct people management of IS project resources. These activities are recruiting the project team, building a project team and managing that project team.

Integration Management Knowledge Area

In IS project management, a certain amount of internal and external communication is essential among the team, which is done through communication management processes (Barki et al., 2010). The activities involved in this area are planning the communications management, managing communications, and controlling communications.

This knowledge area in IS projects aims to minimize the impact of risks on the project once these are estimated. The activities included in this area are planning the risk management, forecasting risks, doing qualitative risk analysis, doing quantitative risk analysis, and developing risk responses.

The primary objective of this knowledge area in IS project is to coordinate and manage the acquisition activities in the project. It has four activities namely, procurement planning, managing procurements, organizing and controlling of procurement, and procurement closing.

The purpose of this knowledge area in IS project is to identify and manage the needs and wants of the stakeholders during the project lifecycle. It contains 4 activities which are recognizing the stakeholders, managing stakeholders, monitoring their expectations, and controlling stakeholder management plan.

In IS project, the occurrence of quality related threats are very common. For example, when the project software is crashed out or generates inaccurate results, the quality becomes poor. The threats created by low quality projects are higher in the projects which deal with intangibles like business process transformation software. These threats include:

In a IS development project, quality results are the ultimate goal. Budgets assist the managers analyze the quality impact of project by estimating the associated costs. When the budget is limited, the effectiveness of the project is decreased which hamper the project quality.

Team flexibility refers to the collective ability of team to work effectively. Flexibility enables the project team to explore the problems and find new ways to resolve it. If there is no such flexibility, the quality of the project is hampered.

When all the requirements and specifications are not met out while developing a IS project, it becomes more likely that it would generate poor quality outcomes.

Ineffective code reviews and pair programming are a big threat to IS project quality. Having improper design and coding guidelines leads to low quality output.

Project Management Plan refers to the documents which are necessary to execute the project. These documents define, prepare, and coordinate the different planning activities for the successful execution (Tarhini et al., 2018). In this IS project development, following activities are designed till the closure of the project, which is also called Work Breakdown Structure:

Scope Management Knowledge Area

The following WBS is prepared to breakdown the project team work into manageable tasks to simplify the project execution.

Activities

Time in days

Take approval from the key stakeholders

2

Identification of need

2

Checking product scope requirements

1

Estimation of costs

1

Gathering resources

3

Coding

3

Designing

3

Implementation, testing and documenting

1

Deployment and maintenance

1

Delivery to the client

1

A Gantt chart refers to a bar diagram that represents a project schedule (Marchewka, 2014). The following Gantt chart illustrates the tasks to be performed in the IS development project.

Quality Management is an important part of PM plan, which is used to ensure that all the aspects related to project quality are met effectively. Since large IS projects are inherently risky and complex, these are managed by many project managers at different stages of completion (Freeman et al., 2010). Following is the IS Project Quality Management Plan which is designed to mitigate the quality related threats:

The following table illustrates the roles and responsibilities of the IS project team to monitor, control and ensure the quality management:

Team

Responsibility

Project Manager

Identifying, reviewing and analyzing IS project deliverables

Project Coordinator

Conducting independent evaluation of quality issues through quality audits

Project Manager

Communicating quality risks to the external and internal stakeholders

Technical Manager

Planning and Implementing technical policies and define quality standards

Quality Manager

Executing Quality management techniques for accurate outputs

System Integrator

Conducting quality review and setting reporting standards

Test Team

Performing quality testing procedures before delivering the final product to the client

Since IS project’s is activities are associated with sophisticated technology and high level of knowledge, the risks on such projects are necessary to be eliminated to develop an effective IS. Following is the Risk Management Plan for IS project development:

Risk Type

Responsible person

Risk Mitigation Strategy

Emergency Strategy

Risk Impact

Risk Rate

Lack of server ability

Project manager

Capacity examination

Establishing extra disc space

Increased cost

Medium

Misunderstanding of project requirements

Project Coordinator

Analyzing different checkpoints

Establishing open communication with the client

Time consuming

High

System integration Complexity

System Integrator

Effective integration plan

Reviewing the development plans 

Delays or difficulties in project completion

Low

Relevance of Project Quality Management in leading Global Teams

The impact of global cultures in the project management process has been a constant target for the project managers. According to Hofstede, one of the famous scholars of this subject argues that the internationalization of business does not essentially results in the globalization of culture and hence, basic management solutions may not be of use in specific cultural contexts (Kerzner, and Kerzner, 2017). Thus, for making the project management solutions valuable, the project manage is required to take into account cultural differences that prevail in the human societies. Other authors also stated that culture acts as a mental programming formed by patterns of feeling and actions that each individual has.

On the other hand, legal issues are the other aspect considered while managing global team in a project. These issues include Country-specific regulations, political conditions, environmental laws, and established standards (Kirsch, 2010). As a result, the project manager and the team are required to learn about the legal rules, issues, and guidelines of all the countries affecting the project.

In IS projects, project quality management helps the project manager in providing adequate standards and managing global teams in the following ways:

Managing Cultural issues:

  • Dealing with power groups and functional barriers
  • Eliminating information retention by supporting transparency and open communication
  • Overcoming skeptical behavior, fatalism, and lack of severity in the team
  • Developing shared vision and objectives throughout the global teams
  • Encouraging the participation and buy-in of global operational team members
  • Understanding of various races for improved team

Managing Legal issues:

  • Understanding the legal conditions of different countries properly
  • Planning project activities in accordance to the country-specific laws
  • Communicating to the project team members from time to time regarding any changes in the legal framework of any country where the project activities are highly affected
  • Developing the solutions and take actions within the legal framework
  • Taking approval from the relevant law before implementing any policy for the project

Conclusion

On the basis of the above report it can be concluded that in order to complete an IS project, it becomes necessary to implement the project plan and assign responsibilities effectively. The different knowledge areas should be considered while designing project activities. Furthermore, when the project team operates at the global level, the relevant cultural and legal challenges should be analyzed to make the project a success. 

References

Turner, R. and Ledwith, A. (2018) Project Management in Small to Medium?Sized Enterprises: Fitting the Practices to the Needs of the Firm to Deliver Benefit, Journal of Small Business Management, 56(3), pp.475-493.

Martinelli, R.J. and Milosevic, D.Z. (2016) Project management toolbox: tools and techniques for the practicing project manager. USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Freeman, R.E., Harrison, J.S., Wicks, A.C., Parmar, B.L. and Colle, S.D. (2010) Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kirsch, L.S. (2010) Portfolios of control modes and IS project management, Information systems research, 8(3), pp.215-239.

Kerzner, H. and Kerzner, H.R. (2017) Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling.USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Marchewka, J.T. (2014) Information technology project management. USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Barki, H., Rivard, S. and Talbot, J. (2010) An integrative contingency model of software project risk management, Journal of management information systems, 17(4), pp.37-69.

Tarhini, A., Yunis, M. and El-Kassar, A.N., (2018) Innovative sustainable methodology for managing in-house software development in SMEs, Benchmarking: An International Journal, 25(3), pp.1085-1103.