Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Anthony Lolas

Abstract

Two dominant research views addressing disappointing success rates for information technology (IT) projects suggest project success may depend on the presence of a large number of critical success factors or advocate for agile project management as an alternative to traditional practice. However, after two decades of research, success rates remain low, and the role of critical success factors or project management approach remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to use views of experienced project managers to explore the contribution of success factors and management approach to project success. Applying organizational, coordination, and contingency theories, the research questions examined IT project manager perceptions about success factors, how those success factors interrelate, and the role of management approach in project success. A Q methodology mixed method design was used to analyze subjective insights of project managers about the important critical success factors for IT projects. Two critical success factors emerged as important: a sustained commitment from upper management to the project and clear, measurable project goals and objectives. Three composite factors also surfaced representing the importance of people-project interactions, user/client involvement, and traditional project management tasks. The analyses found no broad support for agile project management and could not confirm principles of organizational or coordination theories as critical for project success. However, a contingent relationship might exist between some critical success factors and merits further investigation. Helping the project management community understand IT project success factors could improve project execution and reduce failure rates leading to sizeable savings for project clients.