Lessons for IT Project Manager Efficacy
process of project management; and the
unique skills and experiences brought
to projects by successful (and unsuccessful) project managers. Equally as
important, we need to understand this
complex interaction across multiple
stakeholders over time.
Methodological and Theoretical
Diversity: Studies that focus on quantitative analysis add to our understanding by providing large-scale,
cross-project, or cross-firm comparisons; however, we lose the nuances of
the unique organizational contexts and
the people involved; there is much to
be learned from studies with greater
depth (see, for example, Shenhar, Dvir,
Levy, & Maltz, 2001). As noted earlier,
there are also new theoretical lenses
that can be brought into the IT-centric
project space, which will contribute to
the understanding of project manager
Soft Skills: We have a wealth of
research on hard skills or hard metrics,
but a shortage of literature on soft skills
and how business managers, IT managers, and project managers perceive
them. Regardless of the methodologies
used, simply repeating studies about
project outcomes or project management techniques will add little to our
understanding if we ignore the decision-making, interpersonal abilities,
and contextual challenges in applying
various techniques that are often missing in current research.
The Politics of Project Manage-
ment Curricular Development and
Standards: Separate from recommen-
dations for increased focus on soft
skills and decision making in profes-
sional certification programs are the
challenges, economics, and politics
of change. Many business and other
schools in the university environment
can tell you that employers are always
looking for employees with soft skills, yet
their job advertisements ask for specific
programming languages, such as C11
(a software programming language),
and other technical abilities or project
management certification. How do we
generate change in professional certi-
fications to include the so-called softer
skills that are critical to successful peo-
ple, successful practices, and successful
outcomes? Based on our review of the
literature, we argue that we need to
move beyond the artificial boundaries
of different definitions of success to
understand the sweet spot where these
intersect in project manager efficacy
in IT-centric project environments. To
further advance the discipline, we also
encourage exploration of this “sweet
spot” in other contexts.
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