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Developing a Framework for Effective IT Project Management and Best HR Practices
S. M. Imran Haider Naqvi
The existing framework of Project Management advises project managers to exercise nine knowledge areas. These are management of the project's Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, HR, Communication, Procurement, Risk and Integration. It suggests entertaining these nine knowledge areas in five processes that are initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the project. The knowledge on HR Management (HRM) declares fourteen functions that this study identified applicable to Project Management. The literature stresses that managing all these knowledge areas determines project's outcome. The literature further indicates that nine knowledge areas are not equal in priority and HRM is not given the needful precedence. The study perceived that it is not pragmatic for a project manager to perform the nine knowledge areas and all the applicable functions of HRM efficiently. From January 2005 to January 2008, this study discovered that in the IT industry of Islamabad — Rawalpindi, Pakistan, project managers were assigned neither all the nine knowledge areas nor all the applicable functions of HRM. The study observed that projects suffered where HRM was underestimated. Can the quality in practice of HRM make or break projects? If yes, what minimum functions of HRM should be assigned to a project manager to benefit projects? Further, how can the project manager's role for precise number of knowledge areas be defined? The study assumed that precise and well-defined role of a project manager in terms of the nine knowledge areas and HRM can make the existing framework for Project Management more adoptable. For this purpose integrating the literature and the real practices in the selected IT industry this study identified and selected five FIRM functions as independent variables (IVs) keeping project result as dependent variable (DV). The IVs include selecting right person, assigning workload, setting timelines, communication and monitoring performance. This study hypothesized that the result of specific IT/Telecom project is correlated with and regressed by the quality in the practice of the mentioned HRM functions. Utilizing a valid and reliable instrument the study collected data for a stratified sample of 70 heterogeneous IT/Telecom projects from the selected 24 IT/Telecom organizations. Employing frequency & descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlations, regression and PLS regression the analyses were conducted. All the selected IVs were found correlated with project result. Individually no 1V regressed project result but collectively they all regressed the DV. The study substantiated its hypotheses based on results of regression and PLS regression. It inferred that good quality, practice of all the selected HR functions paves success for 1T/Telecom project while their substandard practice will lead project to suffering. The conclusion of the study is applicable on the IT projects of large scope and team size with well-defined type provided all the other knowledge areas for project management are exercised with necessary equilibrium. Based on results this study declares that a project manager should perform at least these five functions of HRM. The study designed templates to help project managers performing these HR functions. The mentioned results and findings from the IT industry about the knowledge areas enabled this study reshaping the existing framework for Project Management. It contributes that project manager better be set responsible only for the management of scope, time, cost, HR and communication for projects while quality, risk and procurement for projects better be managed at organization level. Project manager should consider HRM, Communication and technology the driving tools for managing other knowledge areas.