اثرات مدیریت پروژه سیستم های اطلاعات بر تصمیم گیری در یک محیط چند پروژه ای
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3309||2012||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9740 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Project Management, Volume 30, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 162–175
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) should provide project managers with decision making support for planning, organizing and controlling projects. Most project managers are dissatisfied with the information produced by PMIS. Based on a survey among 101 project managers the interactions between six factors related to PMIS information quality and usage and their effect on decision making are examined in a multi project environment. Using structural equation modeling, new insights were gained in these complex relationships. Results indicate that the use of a project management information system is advantageous to project managers, while no adverse effects were observed due to project and information overload. PMIS information quality is positively related to quality of the decisions, satisfaction of project managers with PMIS and use of PMIS information. Simultaneous handling of multiple projects causes project managers to extend conclusions about the information quality for one project to all projects at hand.
The current business environment is complex. Managers need to make fast decisions, allocate scarce resources efficiently, and have a clear focus. In organizations that are engaged in many projects simultaneously, management is faced with multiple challenges (Elonen and Artto, 2003). Project managers handling different projects with different scopes, complexities and timelines face particular problems. These can be related to resource conflicts and throughput times (Maylor et al., 2006 and Platje and Seidel, 1993). Inadequate balancing of scarce resources often results in additional pressure on the organization, which leads to poor quality of information and longer lead times of projects (Elonen and Artto, 2003). Interdependencies and interactions between projects (Patanakul and Milosevic, 2008b) and information and project overload (Engwall and Jerbrant, 2003 and Zika-Viktorsson et al., 2006) present specific challenges as well. Managers may become overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available for decision making, losing sight of relevant information or being unaware of inaccuracies. In general, poor information quality leads to poor decision making (Blichfeldt and Eskerod, 2008, Elonen and Artto, 2003 and Engwall and Jerbrant, 2003). The use of Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) is considered advantageous to project managers because of the alleged contribution regarding timelier decision making and project success (Raymond and Bergeron, 2008). The implementation of PMIS in a multi project environment may help to accomplish a realistic project assignment, which is an effective strategy when managing multiple projects (Patanakul and Milosevic, 2008a). Studies on the use of PMIS have predominantly focused on single projects with high complexity, and PMIS are considered advantageous in such environments (Raymond and Bergeron, 2008). Project managers who deal with single projects that are less complex may not be willing to use PMIS, because the time they have to invest in keeping the system up to date may exceed the benefits gained from utilizing the system (Ali and Money, 2005 and Bendoly and Swink, 2007). However, little research has been done to find out whether project managers handling multiple but less complex projects benefit from PMIS. The objective of our study is to gain better understanding of the elements of PMIS that contribute to adequate decision making in a multi project environment, and to provide insights in the relationship between PMIS information quality and the project manager's satisfaction with PMIS. In this study we define a multi project environment as a setting in which project managers are in charge of several (more than one) projects on the operational level at the same time (see also Zika-Viktorsson et al. (2006) for characteristics of a multi project setting). Hence, a project manager simultaneously supervises several teams performing product development work according to a project specific delivery plan. Multi project managers allocate resources to various projects on a short term basis in an attempt to achieve maximum progress for each project. Multi project management differs from project portfolio management. Whereas portfolio managers have projects that are strategically related, the projects of a multi project manager might be related on a strategic level, but projects might also be independent strategically, and only share scarce time and resources with other projects (Dye and Pennypacker, 2000). Concrete, this study is of an empirical nature and aims to identify and quantify the effects of PMIS information use on decision making in a multi project environment, as perceived by project managers. PMIS information use is seen as a function of PMIS satisfaction and the quality of PMIS information. On the basis of a survey among 91 project managers in a multinational pharmaceutical company this study will provide insights in the problems that project managers encounter in a multi project environment, namely: (1) The extent to which PMIS information quality is perceived by project managers to contribute to enhanced decision making in a multi project environment. PMIS information quality reflects whether the information generated by the PMIS is perceived to be readily at one's disposal (available); sound and dependable (reliable); closely connected or appropriate to the matter in hand (relevant); correct in all details (accurate) and understandable (comprehensible) (O'Reilly, 1980 and Zmud, 1978). (2) The extent to which project overload and information overload is perceived by project managers to influence the quality of PMIS information. The organization of the paper is as follows. The next section will review the literature about project management, PMIS and the factors that influencing decision making in a multi project environment. This section will also introduce the research model. Subsequently, we present the research methodology. Then, the results are reported, followed by the discussion and conclusion, and limitations and issues for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the elements of PMIS that contribute to adequate decision making in a multi project environment, and to provide insights in the relationship between PMIS information quality and the project manager's satisfaction with PMIS. Most of the findings of this study are in line with prior studies regarding PMIS and studies about single complex projects, however, a few deviations were found. Two factors were expected to have a negative relationship with PMIS information quality, namely project overload and information overload. The findings of this study are not in line with what was expected beforehand. We found that project overload as well as information overload are positively, albeit weakly, related to PMIS information quality. An explanation for this seemingly paradoxical effect is as follows. Previous research has indicated that the hours worked per week are positively related to the total output of a project worker with an maximum of 60 h per week for a full time project worker. When working more than 60 h per week output drops, not only per hour but in total as well (Hochdorfer and Bjarnason, 2007). Hence, if the project overload experienced by the respondents in our study is below the maximum of 60 h per week per full time employee, there will not actually be a situation of overall overload, although the project worker perceives it as such. A similar reasoning can be given with respect to information overload. It may also be true for information overload that only beyond some optimal point too much information can lead to a decrease in the PMIS information quality (O'Reilly, 1980). Below this optimal point a respondent can still perceive information overload, but it might not result in actual problems for output, i.e. PMIS information quality. In fact, this might also provide an explanation for the weak positive relationship we found between information overload and PMIS information quality. One can imagine that up to the presumed optimal point, extra information, although being excessive in the eyes of the project manager, can lead to increased PMIS information quality. Moreover, the positive impact of project overload and information overload on information quality could also be the result of a subjective appreciation of the project managers. When facing project or information overload, the project managers might perceive PMIS information as being more valuable than they would under normal project conditions, and thus judge the information quality to be better. It is also possible that project managers in a situation of information overload consistently use a PMIS in order to master the overload situation. This would enhance the information quality. We found that in a multi project environment the availability of higher quality information in the PMIS is associated with project managers that are more satisfied with PMIS. These findings are in line with prior research in the field of accounting systems (Seddon and Kiew, 1994), that indicate that the level of information quality generated by an information system is an important determinant of user satisfaction with the system. In addition, evidence from single project environments points in a similar direction (Ali and Money, 2005). Apparently, a multi project environment generates a high need for high quality information, since project managers are under extreme time pressures and will not often investigate whether the information is accurate and reliable. The project manager's satisfaction with PMIS was expected to be indirectly related to the quality of decision making via the use of PMIS information. In our study we found a positive effect between these constructs. These findings are in line with prior research (Ali and Money, 2005), that showed that information quality has a significant effect on the use of PMIS and that project managers are more likely to use PMIS information that is free of complexity and is easy to understand. This may indicate that the more satisfied a project manager is with the PMIS, the more he will use the information generated by the PMIS, which in turn has a positive impact on the quality of his decision making. With respect to the project manager's satisfaction with PMIS it is interesting to note that among the project managers who participated in our study, only 37% indicated to be more than averagely satisfied with the quality of the information provided by the PMIS they use. Even 90% of the participants reported that they were particularly dissatisfied with the reliability of the information. These results indicate that broadly speaking, project managers who are dependent upon a PMIS that produces low quality information, are less satisfied and as a consequence do not use the generated information in simultaneously running projects. In turn, they are to a lesser extent supported in their decision making and the quality of their decision making is negatively affected. The opposite may be true for project managers who can rely upon a PMIS that produces high quality information. In the PMIS literature this relationship is recognized as a ‘feedback’ relationship (DeLone and McLean, 2003). As project managers perceive the PMIS information to be beneficial to them, it is likely that they will increase their use of the PMIS information. In a multi project setting this effect is enhanced, because project leaders will draw conclusions about the information quality for one project and extend this conclusion to their other simultaneously running projects. When the PMIS generates low quality information for one of their projects, project managers are likely to draw negative conclusions about the quality of information for all their simultaneously running projects, without checking whether the PMIS in for these projects might actually generate high quality information. In this study, two factors directly influence the quality of decision making. First, we found that the quality of the information produced by the PMIS is directly related to the quality of decision making. This finding is consistent with Saeed and Abdinnour-Helm (2008) who found that high quality information helps project managers in making sound decisions and improving their performance. In addition to the quality of decision making, PMIS information quality also directly influences satisfaction with the PMIS of multi project managers. This supports the Delone and McLean (1992) model of information system success, in which information quality explained 35% of the variance in the project manager's satisfaction with PMIS. Hence, we conclude that reliability, relevance, accuracy as well as comprehensiveness of the PMIS information play an important role in the quality of decision making, especially in a multi project environment. A PMIS that produces poor quality information will not be used by project managers for their simultaneously running projects. The use of PMIS information is a second factor that directly impinges on the quality of decision making. We found that the use of PMIS information is significantly and quite strongly related to the quality of decision making. The theoretical contribution of this research lies primarily in the fact that the study sheds light on factors that are important for the quality of decision making, specifically in a multi project environment. Our study suggests the presence of spillover effects in the opinion of the project manager about PMIS information from one project to another, simply because these are managed by the same person. Whereas project managers always are in need of high quality information from a PMIS, this need is even larger in a multi project environment. Extreme time pressures leave no time to multi project managers to investigate whether PMIS information is accurate and reliable. In a multi project environment, the perceived quality of PMIS information has an oil spotting effect. The perception of PMIS information being trustworthy or not affects the opinion, and therefore the behavior, of project managers in all of their simultaneously running projects at hand. As project managers perceive the PMIS information to be beneficial to them for one project, they extend this conclusion to their other projects, without checking whether the PMIS for these projects indeed generate high quality information. The findings from our study also have managerial relevance. Multi project environments generate specific challenges that find their origin in increased complexity. Linkages and interdependencies between simultaneously running projects are at the root of this increased complexity. It can be concluded from this study that project managers running several projects at the same time benefit from using a PMIS. Not all companies with a substantial part of activities organized in projects adopt a central PMIS. This study suggests that the management of such firms might want to design policy on the use of project management information systems. There might be a caveat though. A central PMIS would allow top management to follow the project development and the resource allocation decisions made by the project managers. However, project managers may then be unsatisfied about the PMIS because it prevents hidden action. Top management should be aware of this moral hazard problem. Furthermore, companies that do have a PMIS policy should assess whether project managers are satisfied with its information. Especially in a multi project environment, companies should adapt their PMIS or switch to another one much sooner as compared to companies that mainly work with single projects, because the perception of untrustworthy information in one project immediately spills over to parallel running projects and hence the PMIS loses its function. Another option for companies could be to appoint an assistant to the project manager, who has the particular task of checking PMIS information quality, in order to ensure that inadequate conclusions about information do not multiply and spillover to other projects. Moreover, companies should invest in PMIS and devote time to certify that high quality information is generated by the PMIS. Since, high quality PMIS information will lead to high quality decision making. In addition, our research suggests that up to a certain threshold no adverse effects are to be expected from project and information overload, even when project managers themselves perceive to be burdened by excess information. Management should use this finding cautiously, because further research is needed on where this threshold might lie. It would be unwise to jeopardize the well being of project managers because this will certainly affect the quality of work. 6.1. Limitations and issues for further research The results of this study should be interpreted cautiously. The model explains nearly half of the variance on the quality of decision making as perceived by the project manager. The quality of decision making seems to be affected by the quality of the PMIS information and the actual use of this information. However, the quality of decision making is unexplained for the other half of the variance which may indicate that there are other technical and managerial factors, beside PMIS information quality and the use of PMIS information, that affect the quality of decision making. This also holds for the constructs of PMIS information quality and the use of PMIS information quality. The variance in the quality of the PMIS information is explained for only 8.9% by project and information overload. The variance in the use of PMIS information is explained for 15.0% by the project manager's satisfaction with the PMIS. The variance of the latter is, in turn, explained for 34.9% by the quality of the PMIS information. The unexplained parts of the variance in these constructs may indicate that there are other factors that affect these constructs. Hence, future research should take into account a larger set of factors and develop a better explanation of, especially, the PMIS information and use of PMIS information constructs. Another interesting avenue for further research is the counterintuitive finding regarding the effect of project and information overload on the quality of the PMIS information. Future studies should focus on the extent to which project overload as well as information overload strengthens PMIS information quality. An additional interesting aspect for further research regarding information overload might be the possible positive effect of the substantial amount of graphical reports generated by PMIS to reduce the reverse affects of information overload (Chan, 2001). In this study, the sample consisted of the multi project managers of a multinational firm. The set of respondents is certainly not a random sample of multi project managers worldwide and across all industries. Hence, the findings of this study can only be generalized with caution. Further research should show whether our findings can be generalized across industries and countries. Finally, since the majority of our respondents indicated to be unsatisfied with the quality of their PMIS a suggestion for further research is to investigate what factors are important, in the perception of project managers, to generate high quality information with respect to availability, accuracy, relevance, comprehensiveness, and particularly, reliability. Factors like effective sizing and content definition of work packages might play a crucial role in this (Raz and Globerson, 1998) and should be the object of further study. Furthermore, multiple projects that are simultaneously managed by one project manager could be regarded as one large single project with intensive reporting if the projects are not interdependent. It could be interesting for further research to explicitly investigate the relationship between the level of projects' interdependency and perceived information quality and user satisfaction. For the objectives of our study we focused on PMIS and whether and under what conditions PMIS can lead to better quality of decision making for project managers in a multi project environment. From the literature on strategic decision support systems we know that various computer based information systems exist that specifically are designed for supporting strategic business decision making activities (e.g. Reich and Kapeliuk, 2005). Decision support systems serve management, operations, and planning departments of an organization and help them to make decisions. It might be worthwhile for further research to explore whether project decision support systems and knowledge based systems can provide project managers with accurate predictions, help them design the desired project trajectory, and validate process changes (Donzelli, 2006), and save them from having to go through large information systems that can generate overload.