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Factors, frameworks and theory: a review of the information systems literature on success factors in project management

Irvine, Robert; Hall, Hazel


Robert Irvine

Hazel Hall


INTRODUCTION We provide a critical evaluation of the literature on success factors in information systems projects, with a particular focus on organisational information systems development. This responds to recent editorial comment on the need for literature reviews that can furnish a foundation for theory building and research landscaping. METHOD. Relevant material was found in the core fields of information management, information systems, and project management. Additional material from domains such as business management and software development were also identified. ANALYSIS. Four broad research themes emerged from the analysis of the literature: (1) the identification and exploration of project success factors and success factor lists; (2) contributions of individual/group project success factors to project success (or failure); (3) causal interactions between individual/groups of project success factors and simulations of these; and (4) project success factor frameworks. RESULTS. A high number of unique project success factors exist. Some have attracted more attention than others, there is a lack of agreement on their relative importance, and few frameworks have been proposed to model their influence. To date it has been common practice to list project success factors, whereas less attention has been paid to the question of how knowledge of the existence of these factors can be used to eliminate problems in practice. Despite the amount of research in this area, the contribution of particular success factors to project success remains unexplored, as are causal interactions between individual/groups of project success factors, and simulations of these. CONCLUSION. Through the identification and analysis of the extant literature we identify opportunities for advancing knowledge of the practical and theoretical aspects of information systems project organisation, with particular reference to success factors and project success. Contributions from those who offer expertise in the sociotechnical analysis of systems implementations would be especially welcomed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 16, 2015
Publication Date 2015-09
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 30, 2015
Journal Information Research
Print ISSN 1368-1613
Publisher University of Borås, Information Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 3
Keywords Organisational information systems development; information management; project management; sociotechnical analysis;
Public URL
Contract Date Apr 30, 2015


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