Every company has its own set of methods or techniques and practices that it uses to accomplish the objectives of a project with the aid of a project manager and project structure. However, not all the tools and techniques used are useful for the project management. Some of the project managers do not carry out their roles effectively. Therefore, no leadership style could be said to be the best for project management. This depends on the project. When planning to do a project, forming a project structure or project team is necessary in order to accomplish the task through effective communication. The hierarchy of the team cannot also be specified because the structure depends on the project roles assigned. This literature review evaluates these three constraints and how they determine the success of an Information Technology project.
Analysis and Evaluation
Project management tools analysis
A survey was done to analyze project management and how project management tools influence the success of a project. The respondents identified the critical aspects that determined the success of their projects. From the analysis, the outcome was that only a selected number of tools are used in project management (White and Fortune, 2002). There are traditional and nontraditional project management tools. Another survey was conducted in Project Management Institute (PMI) to evaluate the use of project management tools. The findings of the survey identified the commonly used tools, their level of usage, how they are used, their adequacy and how training of the tools is offered (Fox and Spence, 1998). The commonly used tools are Gantt charts, Critical Path Analysis, Logic Network, Pert charts, Product Breakdown structure (PBS) and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Gantt charts and PERT charts are the most used tools for project management that could be used manually or by use of commercial software. PERTS and CPM differ in terms of how times of tasks are computed. The PMI offers tutorials for its users. The level of usage depends on the business needs the user specifies. Project management tools have evolved to web-based systems. Hosting project management applications has also become a trend (Maserang, 2002).
Project management tools like CPM and PERTS help in planning during project initiation, budgeting, management of time using Gantt charts and preparations for future projects due to the plans previously made using the tools. This saves on costs and time (O’Brien, 2017). However, tools that require commercial software are costly. Small projects do not need project management software because the software might complicate the project.
Leadership styles analysis and evaluation
Having different project management techniques requires different management styles as well. A research done to determine if each project type requires different leadership style produced findings showing that a specific project requires a specific leadership style. The main leadership styles according to Ahsan, Muhammad and Yasin, (2016) include laissez-faire, transformational and transactional. Each style is effective depending on the stage in the project’s life cycle.
The diagram below shows the leadership styles, types of project team and project life cycle according to Tuner and Muller, (2006).
The most used leadership style is the transformational leadership. This is because it has a strong relationship with team members (Nixon et al., 2012). Project management has evolved from defining success as using performance on time, budget and functions to satisfaction of customers. It has become more about managing the workers and not the work itself. This stresses on the broad use of the transformational leadership.
Organization structure analysis and evaluation
In order for a project to be successful, coordination between the project team is important. Organizational structure helps project members maintain communication and coordination of complex tasks. Communication is important for any project because it updates team members about what has been done and what has not been done. It involves the team members in decision making. Involving stakeholders in the project helps them understand of the project (Kerzner, 2013). The organizational structure should align with the project constraints. Changes in the project constraints such as resources might change the structure during the project life cycle.
The structure could be project based, matrix based or functional based depending on adaptation of the roles and responsibilities assigned to each team member. The structure has to be designed in a way that it allows collaboration between the team members. Project charts are used to better understand the different roles of each team member. These charts however do not show how the processes will be carried out. They only show the membership hierarchy. The two design aspects for an organizational structure are the level of specialization of the project and the need for coordinating project elements. These factors maximize the effectiveness of the structure.
A good organizational structure helps determine the skills required for an organization. It is important for an organization to clearly state the duties and responsibilities of each team member (Huber, 2011).
A successful organization is based on effective organizational strategies. Effective organizational strategies are determined by leadership styles and project structures. Organization structure and project success are linked based on the ability of the organization allow scalability and flexibility. The changing nature of project strategies due to its environment makes project structures changeable (Williams, 2015).
Their contribution to successful IT projects
The success of a project could be measured by the appreciation from the project team, users, sponsor, manager and stakeholders.
Planning and having project managers contribute to the success of projects. Having the support of top management also helps increase chances of projects’ support. This stresses the importance of quality leadership in for successful projects. A leader who inspires team members and is creative helps to improve the success of a project. Leaders should work together with the project structure in order to encourage teamwork and cultivate shared values (Valmohammadi and Roshanzamir, 2014). Each leader has a unique style of project management. Some are assertive while others are open. Good leadership involves effective goal setting for project success. Transformational leadership focuses on motivating members, self-fulfillment is realized and confidence is build. The leaders coach team members. Motivated team members help in delivering successful projects. Allowing team members to make decisions on their own as in the case of laissez-Faire leadership style does not effectively ensure project success because the leader delays to respond to issues. Late response might lead to poor project deliverables.
The table above shows leadership styles (Turner and Muller, 2006).
The figure 3 above shows the research model for analyzing the competencies of leaders and how they influence project success (Turner and Muller, 2006).
Project success is determined by time, quality of work and client satisfaction. It is the duty of the project members to ensure that project deliverables are done on time. The team should also ensure that the products meet clients’ expectations and that the products are of good quality. From theses constraints it can be concluded that organization influence project success. The structures enhance administration; clarify roles of the respective team members, relationships for project success. Project members that communicate effectively with the leaders openly outperform employees in strict environments (Sekaran and Bougie, 2013). Employee training and learning depend on communication in the organization structure. Organizational structures align the focus of the team towards the project. When an administrator analyses the project structure they are able to point out skills and resources available and which ones need to be sourced. The actual effect of project structures on project success has not been confirmed by researchers. Further investigations about the subject still have to be done.
Project management tools facilitate efficient and effective delivery of IT projects. Project management tools and techniques (PMTT) reduce training need, improve the predictability of projects, facilitate communication and most importantly improves project success. Different PMTTs are used during the initiation, planning, execution and termination phases of a project life cycle. Project leaders and project structure should have adequate skills on the use of PMTT for them to be effective in project success. Project leaders should choose the PMTTs that suite their projects by themselves. Inappropriate use or misuse of PMTT could lead to project failure. Gantt charts, CPM and WBS are considered Critical Success Factors of a project. When a project leader understands the chosen PMTT tool, project quality could be improved, customer requirements could be met exceedingly, project costs can be reduced, communication in the project structure becomes effective, and key indicators of performance could be derived (Miloševic, and Iewwongcharoen, 2004).
The success of IT projects depends on the use of PMTTs contingently. When selecting a PMTT, the project leader should consider the type of PMTT required for the project and why that tool instead of others. Different kinds of projects require different project management tools and techniques. A specific type of project requires a specific type of leadership style. Because the success of IT projects is determined by the organization structure, it is necessary to use the transformational style of leadership. Effective communication between the project members or organizational structure helps ensure project success. Project leadership is still a research topic and being debated on as a human behavior that determines project success. The direct impact has to be measured. The scope of this report is beyond the explanation as to how leadership style directly impacts project success. Researches done on leadership have shown that leadership is important for effective management. Its direct implications on success of a project have not been clearly defined. This is due to other external or internal factors that determine project success. Project management, leadership styles and organization structures are not the only determining factors of project success. However, leadership style is still considered an effective tool for management that could determine project success or failure due to membership involvement.
Ahsan N., Muhammad M. G. and Yasin M., 2016. The Impact of Project Leadership and Team Work on Project Success, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Fox, T.L. and Spence, J.W., 1998. Tools of the trade: A survey of project management tools. Project Management Journal, 29(3), pp.20-27.
Huber, A. J., 2011. The Strategy Implementation Capability (SIC) Scale: A Learning Based Measure of How To Make Strategy Implementation Effective. Effective Strategy Implementation, pp. 43-90.
Kerzner, H. 2013. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
Maserang, S., 2002. Project Management: Tools & Techniques.
Miloševic, D. and Iewwongcharoen, B., 2004. Project management tools and techniques: the contingency use and their impacts on project success. Paper presented at PMI® Research Conference: Innovations, London, England. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Nixon, P., Harrington., M. and Parker D., 2012. Leadership performance is significant to project success or failure: a critical analysis. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 61, p- 204-
O'Brien, C., 2017. What Are the Benefits of Using Project Management Tools?
Sekaran, U. and Bougie, R., 2013. Research Methods for Business. West Sussex,UK: John Wiley and Sons.
Turner, J. R. & Müller, R. (2006). Matching the project manager's leadership style to project type. [image]. Paper presented at PMI® Research Conference: New Directions in Project Management, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Valmohammadi, C., and Roshanzamir, S., 2014. The guidelines of improvement: Relations among organizational culture, TQM, and performance. International Journal of Production Economics
White, D. and Fortune, J., 2002. Current practice in project management— An empirical study. International journal of project management, 20(1), pp.1-11.
Williams, K., 2015. Strategic Management. New York, NY: DK Pub.