Purpose: We proposes a Systems Thinking approach to the study of IT project management and show how this approach helps project managers in controlling their projects. Systems Thinking is a holistic problem solving method in which system behaviour emerges from the interaction of system components.
Design/methodology/approach: To illustrate our proposal, we present an example model of the dynamics of IT outsourcing projects. The example model explains these dynamics in terms of feedback loops consisting of causal relations reported in the outsourcing literature.
Findings: The model provides insight in how coordination, trust, information exchange and possibilities for opportunistic behaviour influence each other and together influence delivery quality, which in turn influences trust.
Practical implications: The integration of these insights provided by applying the Systems Thinking perspective helps project managers to reason about how their choices influence project outcome, and therefore, to better control their projects.
Research implications: From the viewpoint of academic research, we discuss how the Systems Thinking perspective can serve as an additional tool in the study of IT project management, and how results obtained in a specific case can be generalized. To develop methods and tools specific for IT project management, applying the Systems Thinking perspective also calls for additional research in which this perspective is itself the object of study.
Originality/value: The value of our proposed approach is that it provides a way to integrate isolated theoretical insights into a practical tool for project control.
|CTIT Technical Report Series
|Centre for Telematics and Information Technology, University of Twente