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Influence of Project Management Methodologies for greater impact on IT projects

Muhammad Azam Zia, DBA

Head of PMO – Leading Energy Company

Doctor DBA, Business Science Institute

(DBA thesis supervised by Prof. L. Martin Cloutier, Ph.D.)


Ecole des Sciences de la Gestion (ESG)

Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

Business Sciences Institute



In this research, I was interested to discover: What do project managers think about Project Management Methodologies (PMMs) impact on government sector IT projects? What are experienced IT project managers’ representations and perceptions of PPMs? What are the distinguishing factors of importance found within leading PMMs and that are workable such that they could improve IT project performance in government? More generally, how can government sector IT project managers improve the success rate of project investments?

Impacts and key research findings

Despite their growing use, there remains a lack of understanding of how PMMs impact government sector IT projects. To address this gap, two aspects were examined. First, the conceptualizations of project managers were estimated to understand the unique yet complementary articulation of PMMs configurations in IT projects in the government sector.

The resulting concept map articulates nine clusters as conceptualized by government IT project managers: Monitoring and Control; Managing Risks; Human Capabilities; Collaboration, Partnership, and Cooperation; Managing Change; Governance; Delivering Project Objectives; Managing Processes; and Project Manager’s Skills.

This set of results contribute valuable insights into how government IT projects performance can be improved. Second, a scale-based analysis of the clusters was conducted to establish the perceived importance of identified PMMs to a project's performance and workability in a government IT project setting. Key recommendations include:

  • To invest in PMM automation tools to improve the delivery of value to businesses. There has been a noticeable mention of the use of PMM processes in government IT projects and automating PMM processes would provide an excellent opportunity for IT leaders to harness the value of investments in IT projects through the systematic, repeatable, and structured processes of project management with software tools.

  • To increase the effectiveness of IT project teams to improve current and future project performance. The human factor of PMMs is a key element of these PMMs to be mastered by the project managers, such as collaboration, communication, and stakeholder engagement are critical to increase the effectiveness of IT project teams in the government sector.

  • To improve monitoring and control mechanisms in IT projects. Because risk management revolves around maintaining control over the project outcome, it is a suitable platform to enhance projects’ progress and meet targets.

  • To manage change through project stakeholders' collaboration and engagement. A working group could be formed from the existing project governance layer, which would provide direct support to the project manager through the creation of a conversation among a coalition of influential stakeholders early in the planning process.

Research foundations

The insights gained from the research are based on the notion of system dynamics’ reinforcing and balancing feedback loops which have enabled the production of a visual representation of the interconnected dependencies among the clusters of PPMs of the concept map. These have conceptually and visually produced the scope and spatial configurations of PMMs as used by PMs in a government IT project environment.

This research work was conducted in the field of project management, which now strive to its own theory-based practice development, and is deeply rooted in disciplinary knowledge at the intersection with the field of information systems employed in the research as interpretative lens. This research is purposefully using comprehensive representations and perceptions as inputs from real-life experienced IT project managers to enrich our articulate the role of PMMs in a systemic whole.

Research methods

The methodological framework used in this research is based on Group Concept Mapping (GCM), a systems-oriented, and embedded mixed methods-based approach (qualitative, multivariate statistics). GCM uses a stepwise process: preparation, idea generation, statement structuring, analysis of concept maps, result interpretation, utilization, and mobilization. GCM was executed with respondents who are experienced senior IT projects managers in the government sector.

In total, n=23 respondents took part in semi-structured interviews to generate ideas, and n=44 sorted and rated statements for structuring. Thus, GCM has enabled a group of experienced IT project managers in government to produce a first shared and sharable conceptual framework to describe and organize PMMs by following rigorous methods doubled by a cluster based GCM systematic literature review in support for its interpretation and managerial recommendation formulation.

The Professors' opinion

Prof. Missonier states that the thesis presents a wide-ranging work aimed at understanding the representations and perceptions of project managers on the impact of PMMs on IT projects in government entities (Pr. Missonier, rapporteur).

Prof. Pallud emphasizes that the subject of this thesis is of academic and managerial interest by identifying what project managers, responsible for managing IT projects characterize as factors in PMMs impact on IT projects in government entities, and a rigorous methodological framework was deployed which relied on a structured literature review and Group Concept Mapping (statistically produced and represented visually) (Pr Pallud, rapporteur).

Further Readings

  • Almohaimeed, A. H., Ahmad, S., & Siddiqui, J. (2021). Project management practices in government sector IT projects: a case study of Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Information Technology Project Management, 12(2), 23–38.

  • Cloutier, L.M., Larivière, D., & Tremblay, G. (2019). Field-oriented contextualization of the Group Concept Mapping method: illustrations in the health sector in France; and Canada, The United States and The United Kingdom. In F. Chevalier, L.M. Cloutier, & N. Mitev (Eds.). Research Methods for the DBA (pp. 527–553). Editions EMS.

  • Locatelli, G., Ika, L., Drouin, N., Müller, R., Huemann, M., Söderlund, J., Geraldi, J., & Clegg, S. (2023). A Manifesto for project management research. European Management Review, 20(1), 3–17.

  • Patanakul, P., Kwak, Y. H., Zwikael, O., & Liu, M. (2016). What impacts the performance of large-scale government projects? International Journal of Project Management, 34(3), 452–466.

  • Project Management Institute (PMI). (2022). Pulse of the Profession® 2022. PMI.


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