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A study of agile project management methods used for IT implementation projects in small and medium-sized enterprises

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  Southern Cross University  ePublications@SCU  e)e)2012  A study of agile project management methods usedfor IT implementation projects in small andmedium-sized enterprises Daniel Glen O'Sheedy  Southern Cross University eP+b#!ca*!&%)@SCU !) a% e#ec*(&%!c (e&)!*&( ad$!%!)*e(ed b S&+*e(% C(&)) U%!e()!* L!b(a(. I*) g&a# !) *& ca*+(e a%d (e)e(e *e !%*e##ec*+a#&+*+* &f S&+*e(% C(&)) U%!e()!* a+*&() a%d (e)ea(ce(), a%d *& !%c(ea)e !)!b!#!* a%d !$ac* *(&+g &e% acce)) *& (e)ea(ce() a(&+%d *e &(#d. F&( f+(*e( !%f&($a*!&% #ea)e c&%*ac*e+b)@)c+.ed+.a+. P+b#!ca*!&% de*a!#) O'Seed, DG 2012, 'A )*+d &f ag!#e (&"ec* $a%age$e%* $e*&d) +)ed f&( IT !$#e$e%*a*!&% (&"ec*) !% )$a## a%d $ed!+$-)!/ede%*e((!)e)', DBA *e)!), S&+*e(% C(&)) U%!e()!*, L!)$&(e, NSW.C&(!g* DG O'Seed 2012    A Study of Agile Project Management Methods used for IT Implementation Projects in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Daniel G. O’Sheedy  B Info Tech, Central Queensland University MBA (Technology Management), Chifley Business School/La Trobe University A Research Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Business Administration Southern Cross University  November, 2011  Southern Cross University  Student Number: 21654776  Supervisor: Dr Jun Xu, Southern Cross University Co-Supervisor: Dr Shankar Sankaran, University of Technology Sydney      ii Abstract Project management methods have been developed from industry practices and international standards to ensure a higher rate of success for information technology  projects. These have been widely used in large organisations effectively. However, when  projects are implemented in a small or medium-sized enterprise environment, there is often a lack of an established method of project management or skilled project implementers who can use methods used in large organisations. As project workers find themselves  pressured to become more responsive to business demands, it is becoming commonplace for smaller organisations to forgo formal project management practices. This is often due to the fact that small projects are viewed as simple to deploy, suffer from a lack of resources, or are given low prioritisation by the organisation. Additionally, the current  project management standards are frequently perceived by SMEs as complicated and overly bureaucratic, something undesirable in regards to time-constrained or low-budget  projects. Agile development is one solution to the problem of overly complex methods that has recently been adopted in the field of software production, and has gained considerable  popularity with smaller organisations. This research investigates the current state of formalised project management and how these methods could be modified for a small or medium-sized enterprise, especially in relation to information technology implementation projects. A mixture of traditional  project management methods and newer agile development methods were utilised, with the goal of establishing that a combination of the two methods that can assist with project success, particularly in the case of resource-poor medium-sized organisations. The acceptance of this method by the technology workers and stakeholders involved was also investigated. In an economic age where businesses are required to do more with less, a  project management method that can help with successful implementation could prove  beneficial to many organisations of this size. Arising out of agile development, agile  project management has great potential to fill this role, and it was with this goal in mind that this research was conducted. Keywords Agile, project management, scope change, unstable environment, PMBOK, Scrum, SME, small projects, hybrid project management, changing requirements.   iii Table of Contents 1. Chapter 1 - Introduction .................................................................................................... 1   1.1. Background to the research ........................................................................................ 1   1.2. Research problem and propositions ............................................................................ 3   1.3. Justification for the research ....................................................................................... 4   1.4. Research methodology ............................................................................................... 8   1.5. Outline of the research report ................................................................................... 11   1.6. Key definitions ......................................................................................................... 12   1.7. Delimitations of scope and key assumptions ............................................................ 13   1.8. Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 14   2. Chapter 2  –   Literature review .......................................................................................... 16   2.1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 16   2.2. Parent discipline 1: Project management.................................................................. 18   2.2.1. Definitions of project management ................................................................... 18   2.2.2. A history of project management ...................................................................... 20   2.2.3. The major project management schools of thought are established .................. 26   2.2.4. The progress of project management research .................................................. 30   2.2.5. Determining if project management provides value to an organisation ............ 33   2.2.6. Project management basics ................................................................................ 35   2.2.7. Major project management standards in use today ........................................... 37   2.2.8. Research into small projects starts to increase .................................................. 46   2.3. Parent discipline 2: Software development .............................................................. 46   2.3.1. The progression of software development......................................................... 47     iv 2.3.2. Software development standards: Their strengths and weaknesses .................. 51   2.3.3. Agile software development is introduced ........................................................ 54   2.4. Parent discipline 3: Small and medium-sized enterprises - the challenges .............. 59   2.4.1. The importance of SMEs, and the unique challenges they can encounter ........ 59   2.4.2. The importance of technology in an SME organisation .................................... 61   2.4.3. The importance of IT strategy and planning in an SME organisation............... 65   2.4.4. IT and the Austrian SME ................................................................................... 70   2.5. Immediate discipline: IT projects in an SME environment ...................................... 72   2.5.1. The current state of IT project management in SME environments.................. 72   2.5.2. The way forward: An amalgamation of formal and agile methods ................... 74   2.6. Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 78   3. Chapter 3 - Methodology ................................................................................................. 81   3.1. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 81   3.2. A detailed description of the research environment ................................................. 83   3.3. Justification for the paradigm and methodology chosen .......................................... 85   3.3.1. The reasons why action research was the methodology chosen ........................ 86   3.3.2. The major research paradigms explained .......................................................... 86   3.3.3. The clash between positivism and interpretivism.............................................. 88   3.3.4. Establishing a research theoretical framework .................................................. 88   3.4. The research procedure explained ............................................................................ 90   3.4.1. The main goals of action research ..................................................................... 90   3.4.2. The argument for using action research as a research methodology ................. 90   3.4.3. Potential problem sources in action research .................................................... 91  
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