Success factors in information systems project management: newly published review of the literature

calculator, pen, and reportThe latest issue of Information Research is published this week. It includes the article ‘Factors, frameworks and theory: a review of the information systems literature on success factors in project management‘, which I co-authored with Dr Robert Irvine. This work is a critical evaluation of the literature on success factors in information systems projects, with a particular focus on organisational information systems development. In the article we identify four broad research themes on success factors in information systems project management. These derive from the analysis of 166 sources found in the extant 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
  4. Project success factor frameworks

Our findings demonstrate that 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. We also note that 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. Our article concludes with the identification of opportunities for advancing knowledge of the practical and theoretical aspects of information systems project organisation, with particular reference to success factors and project success.

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