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Students are required to submit an essay on a key issue related to the management of IT projects. The aim of the essay is to (i) identify a key problem or issue related to project management, and (ii) analyse and present the current practice and state of research on the issue and (given the benefit of hindsight) your insights and reflections (or recommendations) on how the issue might have been avoided or minimised. Your analysis should also (iii) recognise and explain any open issues that may arise from your recommendations.

A case study will be used to illustrate your issue in practice. Assignment Guidelines

Step 1: Choosing a topic/Project Management Issue.

Each student is expected to select a key issue impacting project management from the list of issues below. There is an opportunity to choose your own topic but this MUST be discussed with the course supervisor prior.
• Unclear, poor or incomplete requirements
• Unclear or undefined project goals
• Poor communication with key stakeholders (e.g. customers, team members, or vendors)
• Lack of (or limited) stakeholder engagement
• Lack of (or limited) executive support
• Poor or improper risk management
• Scope changes
• Impossible (or unreasonable or contracting) deadlines
• Cultural diversity in project teams or project management
• Inexperienced team (or customer representatives)
• Poor project management or leadership from project manager
• Challenges in IT sourcing and/or vendor management
• Poor change management

Note: Students are discouraged from “regurgitating” topics undertaken for assessment-related work in prior or current courses such as MBIS601/602 or MBIS680 etc. In other words, for this assignment students are expected to examine an issue/topic that is substantively different from previous work (e.g. literature reviews, case studies, research reports) undertaken for other courses.

Step 2: Case Study:

Your selected issue (from Step 1) must be illustrated with a case study/description. The case study may be sourced online or based on prior experience. Be sure to include the source of your case study (fictitious names may be used to anonymise examples from your prior experience). Note: it is recognised that it may not always be easy to find an IT-related case to illustrate your issue well. So my advice is to use the best case you can find that clearly illustrates the issue, e.g. what it is, how it came about (key causes), its consequences (or potential consequences), what solutions were applied if any, and eventual outcome (e.g. was the project successful? challenged? or did it fail?).

Note: case studies must be summarised as part of the essay – the focus should be on the key issue you have identified including a brief description of the context, the issue itself, consequences etc. The full case (if it is long, should be uploaded as a separate file via Turnitin (Note: you do not need to reword the ‘appended case’; this is not included in your word count, nor will the file be stored in Turnitin).

See LEARN for further details.

Viewpoint: Once you have identified the case study, place yourself in the role of a key decision maker in the situation and identify and probe deeply into the problem/issue they are facing.

Step 3: Preparing your essay.

Once the key issue and case study are identified, you are expected to review and analyse the literature on the topic area. Your essay will essentially comprise a critical review of the key issue identified, case study situation and insights from the current literature, and reflections (or recommendations) on how the issue might have been avoided or minimised. In other words, your essay should provide a succinct discussion of the issue by combining the case study situation with the insights, prior research, recommendations or findings of various authors.

In concluding your paper, be sure to identify and explain any open issues. This may resolve around what we do not know, or residual (secondary) consequences (or risks) as a result of the recommended actions. (Note: for the purpose of this assignment, you do not need to resolve open or secondary issues) Assignment Preparation In preparing your submission, you are encouraged to start with your case study, and include at least five articles that are significant to your issue, that is, you have assessed them as having made significant contribution to understanding of what the main issue is, its causes, consequences and possible solutions).

Your list of references must include peer-reviewed journals/publications. It is preferable that the sources used have been published within the last 5-10 years, but it is recognised that there is a lot of good work published prior. Articles may also be sourced from reputable practitioner publications/forums and whitepapers. To ensure a good balance of sources it is suggested that at least 30-50% of your references should come from academic (peer-reviewed) sources.

Drawing on the literature and case evidence, a good essay should:

▪ clearly identify the key issue you want to focus on
▪ explain why the issue is important – this should be clearly evidenced by your selected case,
▪ explain key concepts, if any
▪ examine relevant IS and/or project management literature, and
▪ present concluding implications (or recommendations) for addressing the issue.

 

 

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