Assessing the Critical Project Management Processes in IT Projects of the banking industry. The case study of ABC Bank Gambia
Every project undertaken by any organization follows a particular process based on the design and schedule of the project. According to Cicmil & Hodgson (2006), a project management process is a blueprint or procedure that gives a description of how tasks are arranged and undertaken in any given project. As opined by Axson (2007), the process of putting in place effective project execution mechanisms is as relevant as the project outcome. In this study, the project management process is defined as the set of activities that take place within the project life cycle. The life cycle is in phases comprising of project initiation, project planning, project execution, project monitoring, and project closeout as outlined by the Project Management Institute. The Project Management Body of Knowledge guide is a document that was developed by the Project Management Institute professionals, which could serve as a document that can be referenced during the implementation of any project. Coping with project complexities and risk in a bid to have a successfully executed project which could be in terms of profitability success is mostly achieved through project management (Carsten and Alexander, 2022). Abdomerovic (2012) pointed out that the iterative nature in the life cycle of any project is presented in the form of relationships among the process groups discussed in the Project Management Body of Knowledge guide. The process groups include Initiation, Planning, Execution, Controlling, and Closing process. All these five groups are linked by the results they produce.
According to Shenhar & Dvir (2007), the initiation phase states the reason why the project is needed by the organization. It starts with pointing out the need for the project, the problem the project will solve, or the opportunity the project will take advantage of (Gido & Clements, 2006). The project initiation phase is only useful if it is backed up by a project charter. A project charter is a high-level project initiation formal document which set directions for the project by the project initiator, the project team and its approval give the authorization for the project to move forward. It is the authorization of the project charter that gives the project manager the momentum to take up the project life cycle from initiation, planning to execution, monitoring, and closing out the project. Project Planning include the project definitions and outlay, mapping out resources, segmentation, timing, cost, scheming, budgeting and evolution of the project plan. The project planning process phase helps to define the objectives of the project, elaborate the scope of the project, explain the schedule of the project, make, and generate reports. Without the planning process, Hutka (2009) argued that it will be impossible to have project control."
The project execution phase allows the project team and its contractors to begin the implementation of the process documented in the planning phase (Phillips, 2004). This stage requires putting resources, energy, and time into play to actualize the objective of the planning phase. The monitoring phase provide an avenue for project managers to be able to check and align the execution with the scope of the project, the timing and the cost as stated in the planning phase. The closeout phase is the stage that completes the project life cycle (Khang & Moe, 2008). The monitoring phase provide an avenue for project managers to be able to check and align the execution with the scope of the project, the timing and the cost as stated in the planning phase. According to PMI (2004), every project should be undertaken under the keen supervision and control of the project manager. A proper project execution cannot happen without adequate supervision and monitoring. Project monitoring and control must therefore be involved throughout the project life cycle (Gido & Clements, 2006). The closeout phase is the stage that completes the project life cycle. The outcome of the project is tested, a final report is given, monetary transactions carried out are all settled, all the necessary documentations are made, and the final product is released for use by the customers (Khang & Moe, 2008). This phase is tagged the phase of success and celebration (Philips, 2004). But it is important to note that not all projects are a success. There are also projects that fail to meet expected targets after the completion. There are equally projects that do not make it to the final stage, due to failure or if the essence of the project is no longer relevant. However, the project ends, lessons learned during the project life cycle must be well documented for future references, just to avoid unnecessary mistakes when carrying out a similar project in the future.
Process group linkage
Source: Abdomerovic, 2012
The Problem Statement:
As the world continues to revolve around a project economy, so are efficient project management processes becoming increasingly essential for organizations. With the rising number of initiated projects, there are corresponding high rates of project failure and of course various reasons have been attributed to such failures (Nieto, 2022). Poor oversight and resource allocation are some of the reasons observed as enablers of poor project implementation and these usually lead to too much investment in the wrong projects.
Projects are generally considered a desired undertaking in pursuit of stakeholder’s overall objectives in any organization. But project execution, especially considering constraints usually experienced, always becomes challenging especially with long duration projects. ABC Bank Gambia always have reasons to undertake various projects and while some have failed, some have succeeded. In this study, the researcher sought to ascertain whether ABC Bank Gambia employ the key project management processes in the projects undertaken by the IT department.
It is anticipated that the author can obtain answer to this poser and consequently, make a useful contribution to the body of knowledge in the project management sphere. This would be in addition to providing a document that can be referenced during any information technology related project implementation.
The objectives of the study were; to assess the critical project management processes and its applicability to the IT department of the banking industry in The Gambia, using ABC Bank Gambia as a case study based on the criteria outlined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
Some of the empirical literatures drawn from across the world reveal the importance of project management processes in carrying out projects. Obalemo (2021) was more interested in the project management processes in his research. He investigated the effect of project management processes on project success with a bias on selected construction companies in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. Descriptive survey technique was used for the study and it was discovered that if project management processes were efficiently and religiously followed, the chances of having a robust project which will guarantee potentially high business success are very high. The study further suggested for attention to be placed on arranging and implementing project guidelines and procedures according to their level of impact and significance. The project management processes cannot successfully transform to project success without the competence of the project manager. To that effect, Khawaldah (2017) studied the impact of project managers’ competencies on project’s success. Data was obtained from 33 companies through 160 project managers via a questionnaire and the information obtained were analysed using SPSS 23. Results revealed a strong correlation between the competencies of project managers and project success. The key indicators considered were knowledge, skills, and experience. Mukesha (2021) conducted research on “The Impact of Information Technology on Project Management Performance”. The author opined that projects are judged to be successful when the project lifecycle finishes within specified time, cost, scope, and meet stakeholders expectations. The study made use of primary research methods and descriptive analysis was employed to measure the performance of information technology on project management of Vision City Project Phase 1. The study used ordinal logistic regression to ascertain the relationship between the variables (dependent and independent) at 5% significance level and the results revealed that a significant relationship exists between information technology and project management performance of Vision City Project Phase 1.
Data Analysis and Discussion of Results
The article made use of primary data obtained through questionnaire from ABC Bank Gambia for analysis.
Results in Table 1 above, revealed that Information Technology Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Initiation phase [M=4.08, SD=0.849], Information Technology Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Planning phase [M=4.33, SD=0.667], Information Technology Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Execution phase [M=4.38, SD=0.599], Information Technology Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Monitoring and Control phase [M=4.01, SD=0.745], and Information Technology Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Closeout phase [M=3.87, SD=0.928]. The lowest mean value is observed on “IT Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Closeout phase” at [M=3.87, SD=0.928] and the highest mean value is obtained on “IT Project Management Concepts in ABC Bank include Project Execution phase” at [M=4.38, SD=0.599].
Findings and Recommendations
Findings from the study revealed that Information Technology Project management processes have a positive and significant influence on project management success in ABC Bank with an average mean of 4.13. This entails that Information Technology project management in ABC Bank Gambia include and exhausts all the five basic concepts of project management processes in their IT projects. These Processes help organizations in the effective management of projects and equally help them to solve problems timely. Without it, IT projects in the banking industry are liable to time lags, wastage of resources, inconsistent approaches, and abysmal performance in project execution. The finding also implied that Project management processes help the banking industry to mollify the risks of project failure as it sets the scope, the schedule and the budget for the project from start to finish.It also help to increase productivity, occasioned by improved project quality which automatically translates to increased productivity.
A corresponding study could be conducted by other researchers to ascertain how project success factors (scope, cost and time) shape the project process group to determine the success of a project. In other words, how project success factors of scope, time and cost shape the project process group (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closeout). It is important to see how the project success factors reflect on quality assessment of projects during the project life cycle.
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Author: Lucky Osime Aigbokhaebho, student LIGS University
Approved by: Bibiana Batovska, lecturer LIGS University