IT Project Management: Studying agility, globalization, organizational mindfulness and outsourced projects

Introduction to the special issue

In keeping with the SJIS tradition of drawing on the Scandinavian research metaphor that emphasizes engagement with the field, participation from users and multi-vocality of interests, this special issue of SJIS on the topic of IT project management addresses critical topics that impact project management practice today—agile practices and motivation within information technology teams, examination of customer focus in international IT projects, knowledge-based practices in global outsourced projects, and the notion of organizational mindfulness in global ISD outsourcing projects.

This special issue is sponsored in conjunction with the 5th International Research Workshop on Information Technology Project Management (IRWITPM 2010) that was sponsored by the Association for Information Systems (AIS) special interest group for IT project management (http://www.SIGITProjMgmt.org). The workshop was held in coordination with the International Conference on Information Systems in St Louis, Missouri (USA) on December 11th, 2010. We encouraged authors from the workshop to submit their work to the special issue. One paper, “Using Agile Practices to Influence Motivation within IT Project Teams” by McHugh et al., was selected as the best paper from IRWITPM 2010 and was fast-tracked to this special issue. We also issued an open call to the information systems community to solicit additional papers for this issue, and the remaining papers were submitted as part of the open call for papers on the topic of information technology project management.

The first paper by Beck, Schott and Gregory explores and extends organizational mindful management theory in the context of a global multivendor ISD outsourcing project distributed across geographic locations. Their research findings apply key facets of organizational mindfulness in this domain and develop an initial understanding of specific management practices that are relevant to Global ISD projects.

The second paper by Lohan, Conboy and Lang investigates the concept of customer focus in an agile systems development environment. Essentially the notion of customer focus is a conscious effort on the part of the ISD team to understand and anticipate the customer’s needs, requirements and expectations better. They conducted case studies in Norway and Ireland for the study and report that agile approaches appear to increase customer focus while increasing the challenges associated with organizational structures and mechanisms that dissuade organizations to share information from customers. This leads to miscommunications between the customer’s anticipated needs and the requirement to focus on the customer for the development team.

The third paper by McHugh, Conboy and Lang explores the impact of agile practices on motivation within IT project teams in Sweden and Ireland. In particular they look at three agile practices – daily stand ups, iteration planning and iteration retrospectives. They conclude that these particular agile practices can contribute to team de-motivation and motivation and also identify additional factors that can influence motivation.

The final paper by Owen and Linger study how knowledge-based practices (KBP) can be expanded to the project management of outsourced projects. Their case study of KBPs in a large Australian Federal Government Department show that such practices are highly utilized in successful projects and can potentially be used to address strategic issues such as project complexity.

In conclusion, this special issue examines many interesting issues using that impact global information technology projects. We hope both practitioners and researchers will derive challenges that are important for practitioners in the project management arena. As is often the case in research, it provides new answers but also raises new questions.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Keld Bødker, Editor-in-Chief, for allowing us to organize this special issue on IT project management. Also, we would like to extend our appreciation to the authors who put in great efforts with their multiple revisions. We also express our sincere gratitude to our reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive reviews in the multiple round review process.



Mindful Management Practices in Global Multivendor ISD Outsourcing Projects
Roman Beck, Katharina Schott, and Robert W. Gregory