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Managing Complex IT Projects in the Digitalization Era

: Neumeier, A.

Fulltext ()

Augsburg, 2017, VI, 137 pp.
Augsburg, Univ., Diss., 2017
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:384-opus4-380608
Dissertation, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Digitalization influences our private lives as well as business. Disruptive, technological innovations change the way that companies and customers interact and enable new possibilities. Despite digitalization is oftentimes regarded as a new phenomenon in society, many scientists from Business and Information Systems and Informatics research argue that digitalization is not new. Information Technology (IT) has been used for decades in business practice. However, IT’s relevance increased especially because of new technological developments. By now IT usually takes a strategic role in the company. Practitioners as well as researchers recognize IT’s key role. Besides IT’s chances, it also bears risks and challenges. This doctoral thesis copes with digitalization in companies. Even though technologies changed, the companies still aim to increase their profit by using IT. Thus companies need to face the challenges, learn how to cope with the use of new technologies, and lean how to adapt to the digital transformation’s requirements. To enable the necessary changes companies need to conduct projects. In the past classical IT projects have been used to implement IT in a company. With the technological progress those IT projects now change towards digitalization projects which also include socio-technical and process aspects. However, both kinds of projects contribute to the digitalization progress of a company. To successfully implement the planned projects companies use project management methods. However, many projects still fail. One of the main problems seems to be the lack of project management methods that are suitable for complex projects. IT projects usually are especially complex and thus require new approaches. Literature already provides some approaches that go beyond classical project management. However, most approaches that are used in business practice are still based on classical approaches. Besides only focusing on costs modern project management approaches also consider benefits, risks, and interdependencies. A recent study from 2017 already indicates that modern project management methods lead to better project results. Thus, this doctoral thesis deals with the development and improvement of modern project management methods to improve the management of complex IT projects. The doctoral thesis includes five papers. The structure of the doctoral thesis is oriented towards the project live cycle. Literature differentiates the three phases: ex ante assessment, ex nunc steering, and ex post controlling. The doctoral thesis focuses on the ex ante assessment (paper 1-4) and gives an outlook on the ex nunc steering phase (paper 5). Further, the doctoral thesis differentiates different project levels. While the first paper deals with digitalization in general, paper 2, 3, and 5 deal with the assessment of different project characteristics. Paper 4 deals with a specific IT infrastructure project in the area of cloud computing. Overall, this doctoral thesis contributes to the management of complex projects. Although the management of complex IT projects will change further, and will demand adjustments and development in the future, this thesis is a first step towards better managing complex IT projects.