Supporting the complexity of managing information technology projects : application of living systems theory

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The main objective of this research is motivated by the challenge of IT project failure in terms of cost overrun and time delays which is a common practice and is being investigated for years now. Increasing complexity of projects or an underestimation of the project complexity is one of the reasons for project failure, which is the main focus of this study. For this reason, the present work seeks to understand how to apply living systems theory as new lens to investigate and support the complexity of managing IT projects; where management is about “preparation and facilitation” of the project tasks. To achieve research objectives, this study defined management framework based on interpretation of the literature and elicitation of expert opinions through online questionnaire. This framework provide guidelines for project managers to map and study project management processes to identify important issues that leads project to complexity and failure. It also provides suggestion on how to deal with these issues. Through presentation of the framework and supporting guidelines during semi-structured interview with experts, this research investigates the applicability and appropriateness of the proposed approach. The outcomes of this research help project managers to identify important issues that might arise in the project and assist them on how to facilitate and prepare management processes. Academia’s can use the result of the project to develop tools to measure complexity in projects. With this measurement, they will be able to estimate project timelines and costs more precisely.
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