An investigation into the requirements and practices for global project management in the information systems department of a global organization
MetadataShow full item record
Globalization has motivated some organizations to combine resources from different countries and establish relationships across national borders. The computer and network advances of the 1990s facilitated collaboration across organizations, locations, countries, cultures and languages in the form of global projects (GPs). Consequently, some Information Services (IS) global project managers (GPMgrs) have no hierarchical power over these dispersed teams and must apply a wide range of soft skills to increase their motivation, engagement and availability to work on IS GPs. From the literature, what is lacking is a holistic framework of practices that contributes to the success of IS GPMgmt without requiring such hierarchical power over the team and supplemented through the use of proximity dimensions identified from the management literature to address the geographical dispersion of team members. The two hypotheses addressed by this research are: (i) existing Project Management (PMgmt) frameworks do not adequately address the unique requirements of IS GPMgmt and (ii) that these can be addressed by a holistic framework of practices contributing to IS GPMgmt success. Consequently, , the research ascertained the current management requirements and practices in IS GPs, identified which of these are covered by existing literature, created a framework of GPMgmt practices based on recommendations from both practitioners and the existing literature and evaluated the framework in the workplace. The achievement of these objectives answered three research questions (RQs): RQ1 - What are the unique challenges faced by IS Global Project Managers (GPMgrs)? RQ2 - In the light of these challenges, is there a set of GPMgmt practices that contributes to the success of IS GPMgmt? RQ3 - What is the structure of such a set of practices? This research was performed as a qualitative study underpinned by abductive reasoning, using Action Research (AR) methodology and Grounded Theory (GT) methods to triangulate field work data with an analysis of the literature on global project management, proximity and organizational change over four AR cycles. The Global Project Management Framework (GPMF) and associated challenges and practices emerged from these cycles along with the benefits and negative aspects of GPMgmt and the framework and a list of difficulties faced during implementation. This resulted in a categorization of the unique challenges faced by IS GPMgrs, the definition of a novel set of GPMgmt practices that contributes to their success and a structured framework that allows a broader and ongoing conceptualization of GPs that facilitates the development of reflective practitioners. The punctuated change model used to develop and implement the framework and the survey instrument that assesses the extent to which the challenges and practices are applicable to other contexts are additional key findings that contribute to future IS GPMgmt studies. The resulting GPMF can support the early identification of global risks and challenges and make suggestions to researchers and GPMgrs looking into improve GP coordination, communication and collaboration. This innovative framework was verified in one company and can now be expanded by future studies to help GPMgrs reflect on the evolving technologies and increasingly complex human relations in other organizational and geographical contexts.