Information Systems Project Management


David Avison & Gholamreza Torkzadeh

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Dedication

    To Thomas and Sabrina, with love—David

    To my mother, my wife, and my daughter, with love—Reza


    View Copyright Page


    There are a number of books out there on project management. What is different and specific about this book?

    • There is a balance between sociocultural and technical aspects, and there is a balance between qualitative and quantitative aspects—project management is seen as both an art and a science.
    • It provides an information systems orientation for project management: neither information technology oriented on the one side nor production and operations oriented on the other, but applicable to both within an organizational-wide view.
    • It stresses information systems as a whole, not just software development—no project is successful if only software aspects are considered.
    • It gives a truly international view of the domain—examples and experiences from different parts of the world add richness as well as context to the material. Globalization has ensured that most projects take on an international dimension.
    • It provides a coherent explanation of the concerns of the project manager as the project develops through the project life cycle—it does not follow a “kitchen sink” approach.
    • Each chapter has the following consistent structure: introduction and outline, an exhibit, the main text with examples, interview with a project manager, chapter summary, discussion questions, exercises, and appendix—this structure provides coherence and consistency.
    • The exhibit, interview, and appendix contain real-world examples, experiences, case studies, discussion material, software descriptions, and professional codes. These provide material for class discussion and group work.
    • There is an accompanying CD with further material, including PowerPoint slides for each chapter.
    • The material has been used on our courses in the United States, Europe, and Australia, given to practitioners as well as students (both undergraduate and postgraduate)—it has been well tested as part of our own project management!

    The book has the following structure (see the overall diagram on the following page, which provides a “road map” of the whole book). In Chapter 1, the introduction, we provide an outline of the stages of an information systems project and set the scene. We also describe the roles and importance of the various stakeholders. Chapter 2shows how the project fits in with the organizational goals, and we begin to understand the importance of planning and the role of the project manager in the change management process. Chapter 3 looks at some information systems development methodologies that can support the project manager in developing the project. Chapter 4 looks at the scope of the project and discusses requirements, priorities, and resources, while Chapter 5 discusses not only the potential benefits of these requirements and resources but ways of estimating the cost of providing them. Chapter 6 shows how an effective project manager needs to manage resources such as people, time, and materials. In the diagram above we have placed Chapter 7 to show its relevance to the project development as a whole, because good leadership needs to be apparent throughout. Planning skills are particularly important, and developing the project plan is discussed in Chapter 8. Forming the project team concerns not only ensuring all skills are represented, but as shown in Chapter 9 we need to create a good synergy between team members. Assessing project risk and ensuring that project benefits are realized is the concern of Chapter 10. Chapter 11 considers the particular issues involved when a project or part of the project is outsourced or offshored. Controlling project quality is the concern of Chapter 12. Like Chapter 7, this is placed in the diagram to show that quality is an issue of concern in all aspects of project development. Finally, Chapters 13 and 14 discuss how we assess whether the project is a success or a failure and how we close the project.

    Information Systems Project Management—Overall Book Structure

    As seen above, the design of the book is such that it can be read from beginning to end as we look at the role of the project manager as the information system progresses in chronological fashion. However, it can also be read in other ways. The most obvious is to pick and choose chapters as appropriate to your course. Each chapter can be read and understood in itself. However, it is also useful to read the book iteratively, by which we mean rereading the exhibits, interviews, and cases following further reading, as this greater knowledge can provide further insights on this material in particular.

    We hope that you enjoy using this book. Please email us if you have any suggestions for improvement.

    —David Avison,

    Formiguéres, France (

    —Gholamreza Torkzadeh

    Las Vegas, United States (

    July 2008


    We wish to thank many colleagues and friends who have helped us with this book. The book was originally reviewed by several colleagues in the United States, Europe, and Australia who kindly took time to examine the text and its orientation and to give us detailed feedback and suggestions. Many, if not most, of these have been assimilated in this first edition, and we therefore thank the following reviewers in particular:

    • Gary Hackbarth — Northern Kentucky University
    • James E. Whitworth — Georgia Southern University
    • James Moody — George Mason University
    • Ardeshir Lohrasbi — University of Illinois at Springfield
    • Philip F. Musa — University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • Kuan-Chou Chen — Purdue University-Calumet
    • Fatemeh Zahedi — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    • Weidong Xia — University of Minnesota in Minneapolis
    • Emmanuel Monod — Paris Dauphine University
    • Gezinus Hidding — Loyola University of Chicago
    • David Wilson — University of Technology Sydney
    • Philip Powell — University of Bath
    • Jon T. Blue — University of Delaware

    The following practitioners and research students also helped us with many comments, criticisms, and suggestions in the text: Ingrid Lee, Julien Malaurent, Kashif Mehmood, Ando Ratsimanohatra, Mohammad Hosseyn Vahdat, and Mahmood Zargar.

    We are also particularly grateful to the following people:

    • Guy Fitzgerald for the LASCAD case and the AAHelp exhibit
    • Terry Young for Exhibit 6.1
    • Gary Pan, Shan L. Pan, Michael Newman, and Donal Flynn, authors of the “How to Transform a Failing Project” case
    • David Wilson and Shirley Gregor, co-authors of the One.Tel case
    • Rudy Hirshheim, who suggested that we include a separate chapter on outsourcing and offshoring.

    We have also been greatly influenced by our many students in the United States, France, England, and Australia, but we would like in particular to mention the following students who carried out some of the interviews and helped us to write several of the cases, in particular:

    • Julien Malaurent, co-author of the “ERP in a Chinese Subsidiary” exhibit
    • Leslie Owen, co-author of the Hendrich Electronics case
    • Greg Hanson, co-author of the MedicalCo case
    • Dean Hurst, co-author of the NGC case
    • Howard Harris, co-author of the “A Conversation With a Student: Whose Side Are You On?” exhibit
    • Ela Young, co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley appendix
    • Roy Lewis, co-author of the Beltech case
    • Matthew Stephenson, co-author of the A-BANK cases.

    Most of the names of the organizations have been made anonymous, but the cases are based on real situations in real companies.

    We are also grateful to GroupSystems for permission to use ThinkTank material in Chapter 5. We are also appreciative of the assistance that we received from Helen Gerth of the Department of Management Information Systems at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at Sage Publications, especially Al Bruckner, Diane Foster, Tony Moore, and MaryAnn Vail, for their support in helping us develop this book.

  • About the Authors

    David Avison is Distinguished Professor of Information Systems at ESSEC Business School, Paris, France (since 2000). He has also held posts at Southampton University, Brunel University, Aston University in England, at the University of Technology, Sydney, and the University of New South Wales, in Australia. So far, 25 books are to his credit as author or editor, including the fourth edition of the well-used text Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools (2006), which is jointly authored with Guy Fitzgerald. He is president of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) (2008–2009) and was chair of the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) 8.2 group on the impact of IS/IT on organizations and society and more recently vice chair of IFIP technical committee 8. He is past president of the UK Academy for Information Systems and also past chair of the UK Heads and Professors of IS. He was joint program chair of the International Conference in Information Systems in Las Vegas (previously also research program stream chair at ICIS Atlanta); joint program chair of IFIP TC8 conferences at Milan and Santiago, program chair of the IFIPWG8.2 conference in Amsterdam on IS development; panels chair for the European Conference in Information Systems at Copenhagen; publicity chair for the entity-relationship conference in Paris; and chair of several other UK and European conferences. He also acts as a consultant and has most recently worked with a leading manufacturer in the automobile industry and a pharmaceuticals company, developing their IT/IS strategies, although much of his consulting experience has been gained in SMEs. He is joint editor of Blackwell Science's Information Systems Journal, one of a “basket” of six journals rated as top research journals by the AIS. He has published a large number of research papers in learned journals and researches in the area of information systems development and more generally on information systems in their natural organizational setting using qualitative research approaches.

    Gholamreza (Reza) Torkzadeh is Professor of Management Information Systems in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He holds a Ph.D. in operations research from the University of Lancaster, England. He is an educator with broad experience working with graduate and undergraduate students on information systems research projects. He has been recognized in several studies as a leading MIS researcher and has received many national and international honors and awards. He was general chair of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS’05) and served on the Executive Committee of ICIS. He was guest editor of the Management Information Systems Quarterly, Special Issue on IT Offshoring. He serves on the editorial board of Information Systems Journal and Information & Management and is division editor of IS for the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences. He was an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Mathematics & Decision Sciences from 1999 to 2006. His articles have appeared in academic and professional journals, including Management Science, MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of MIS, Decision Sciences, Communications of the ACM, Omega, Decision Support Systems, Information & Management, Journal of Operational Research, Journal of Knowledge Engineering, Structural Equation Modeling, and Long Range Planning. He has developed widely used research instruments for computer user satisfaction, impact of information technology on work, user involvement in systems development activities, computer usage pattern, computer user skills, and e-commerce value to the customer. His current research interests include the impact of information technology, measures of e-commerce success, computer self-efficacy, and information systems security. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science, the Association for Information Systems, and the Decision Sciences Institute.

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