The reality of adhering to best practices : the case of information system initiatives

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Purpose: Standards are written by practitioners for practitioners. It is therefore logical that project managers should comply with project management standards. Benefits management is a domain within program management. The focus of benefits management is to deliver benefits of initiatives beyond the closure of a normal program or project. This is not the case with projects within the information systems (IS) discipline, implying that IS program and project managers are not adhering to standards. The purpose of this article is to determine whether the best practices associated with benefits management are applied to IS initiatives in order to maximise the benefits of these initiatives. Design/methodology/approach: Senior and middle managers in South African organisations were interviewed to determine how benefits are managed within their various projects. The purpose of the interviews was to determine adherence to standards and especially benefits management and, secondly, to determine whether these organisations are achieving any benefits and ultimately value. Findings: There is an overwhelming non-adherence to benefits management best practices within the IS discipline, and IS program and project managers do not have the slightest idea how to perform benefits management. Irrespective of this, organisations do believe that they are receiving benefits and value from these IS initiatives. Research limitations/implications: The research was only done in South Africa with the specific focus of information systems. The results are thus very specific and opens the door for more comprehensive research that focuses on various industries, countries and standards. Practical implications: The results have several implications ranging from how standards are written to the professionalism of IS programs and project managers. Organisations are not achieving the optimal benefits from investments. The fact that organisations do realise benefits from a broken process, implies that more benefits can be realised when the entire benefits realisation process is followed. Governance controls should also be put in place to ensure that program and project managers are adhering to standards. Originality/value: Standards are dominating the project management discipline and there is a general assumption that program and project managers are adhering these standards. This research queries the value of standards as the results indicate that there is limited adherence to standards and best practices.