Archive for the ‘Life Cycle Managment’ Category

The resource allocation syndrome (Engwall & Jerbant, 2003)

Mittwoch, April 22nd, 2009


Engwall, Mats; Jerbant, Anna: The resource allocation syndrome – the prime challenge of multi-project management?; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 21 (2003), No. 6, pp. 403-409.

Engwall & Jerbant analyse the nature of organisations, whose operations are mostly carried out as simultaneous or successive projects. By studying a couple of qualitative cases the authors try to answer why the resource allocation syndrome is the number one issue for multi-project management and which underlying mechanisms are behind this phenomenon.

The resource allocation syndrome is at the heart of operational problems in multi-project management, it’s called syndrome because multi-project management is mainly obsessed with front-end allocation of resources.  This shows in the main characteristics: projects have interdependencies and typically lack resources; management is concerned with priority setting and resources re-allocation; competition arises between the projects; management focuses on short term problem solving.

The root causes for these syndromes can be found on both the demand and the supply side.  On the demand side the two root causes identified are the effect of failing projects on the schedule, the authors observed that project delay causes after-the-fact prioritisation and thus makes management re-active and rather unhelpful; and secondly over commitment cripples the multi-project-management.

On the supply side the problems are caused by management accounting systems, in this case the inability to properly record all resources and projects; and effect of opportunistic management behaviour, especially grabbing and booking good people before they are needed just to have them on the project.

A comprehensive model for selecting information system project under fuzzy environment (Chen & Cheng, in press)

Dienstag, Oktober 7th, 2008

A comprehensive model for selecting information system project under fuzzy environment (Chen & Cheng, in press)Chen, Chen-Tung; Cheng, Hui-Ling: A comprehensive model for selecting information system project under fuzzy environment; in: International Journal of Project Management, in press.doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2008.04.001Update: this article has been published in:  International Journal of Project Management Vol. 27 (2009), No. 4, pp. 389–399.Upfront management is an ever growing body of research and currently develops into it’s own profession. In this article Chen & Cheng propose a model for the optimal IT project portfolio selection. They outline a seven step process from the IT/IS/ITC project proposal to the enterprise success

  1. IS/IT/ITC project proposal
  2. Project type classification
  3. Individual project analysis
  4. Optimal portfolio selection
  5. Portfolio adjustment
  6. Successfully selection
  7. Enterprise success

Behind the process are three different types of selection methods and tools – (1) crisp selection, (2) strategy development, and (3) fuzzy selection.The crisp selection is the first step in the project evaluation activities. It consists of different factual financial analyses, e.g. analysis of discounted cash flow, cost-benefits, total investment, payback period, and the return on investment.Strategy development is the step after the crisp selection, whilst it also impacts the first selection step by setting guidelines on how to evaluate the project crisply. Strategy development consists of a project strategic status analysis. According to Chen & Cheng’s framework a project falls in one of four categories – strategic, turnaround, factory, or support.The last step is the fuzzy selection. In this step typical qualitative characteristics of a project are evaluated, e.g., risk, feasibility, suitability, and productivity improvements. In this step lies the novelty of Chen & Cheng’s approach. They let the evaluators assign a linguistic variable for rating, e.g., from good to poor. Then each variable is translated into a numerical value, e.g., poor = 0, good = 10. As such, every evaluator produces a vector of ratings for each project, e.g., (0;5;7;2) – vector length depends on the number of characteristics evaluated. These vectors are then aggregated and normalised.[The article also covers an in-depth numerical example for this proposed method.]

A Framework for the Life Cycle Management of Information Technology Projects – ProjectIT (Stewart, 2008)

Donnerstag, Juli 17th, 2008


Stewart, Rodney A.: A Framework for the Life Cycle Management of Information Technology Projects – ProjectIT; in: International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 26 (2008), pp. 203-212.

Stewart outlines a framework of management tasks which are set to span the whole life cycle of a project. The life cycle consists of 3 phases – selection (called „SelectIT“), implementation (called „ImplementIT“), and close-out (called „EvaluateIT“).

The first phase’s main goal is to single out the projects worth doing. Therefore the project manager evaluates cost & benefits (=tangible monetary factors) and value & risks (=intangible monetary factors). In order to evaluate these the project manager needs to define a probability function of these factors for the project. Then these distribution functions are aggregated. Stewart suggests using also the Analytical Hierarchy Process Method (AHP) and the Vertex method [which I am not familiar with, neither is wikipedia or the general internet] in this step. Afterwards the rankings for each project are calculated and the projects are ranked accordingly.

The second phase is merely a controlling view on the IT project implementation. According to Stewart you should conduct SWOT-Analyses, come up with a IT diffusion strategy, design the operational strategy, some action plans on how to implement IT, and finally a monitoring plan.

The third stage („EvaluateIT“) advocates the use of an IT Balanced Score Card with 5 different perspectives – (1) Operations, (2) Benefits, (3) User, (4) Strategic competitiveness, and (5) Technology/System. In order to establish the Balanced Score Card measures for each category need to be defined first, then weighted, then applied and measured. The next step is to develop a utility function and finally overall IT performance can be monitored and improvements can be tracked.