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Abstract

The management of outsourced information systems development (ISD) projects is both complex and problematic due to the type of outsourcing arrangement, the nature of the work that is outsourced, and the relationship between the vendor and client. Moreover, outsourced projects are conducted in an unstructured environment with divergent organizational expectations. Existing project management techniques and methodologies may not be sufficient to resolve such complexity, and project management needs to encompass knowledge-based aspects of management. Knowledge-based practices (KBPs) are directed to exploring, understanding and making sense of complex situations, sharing that understanding and using that understanding to inform actions to resolve that complexity. These KBPs need to be explicitly included in an expanded repertoire of project management techniques. In this paper we explore how KBPs facilitate the conduct execution of an outsourced ISD projects through a case study in a large Australian federal government department. Our study shows how KBPs operationalize and formalise a knowledge-based approach to project management for the successful delivery and management of outsourced projects. Significantly our study shows that KBPs are not only used within the project boundary but are also applied outside of the project boundaries boundary to address project complexity at a broader, strategic organisational level.

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