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The agile governance of business IT projects

Manwani, S. (2010) The agile governance of business IT projects. In: 6th European Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance, 28-29 October 2010, Wroclaw, Poland.

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Organisations typically define and execute their selected strategy by developing and managing a portfolio of projects. The governance of this portfolio has proved to be a major challenge, particularly for large organisations. Executives and managers face even greater pressures when the nature of the strategic landscape is uncertain. This paper explores approaches for dealing with different levels of certainty in business IT projects and provides a contingent governance framework. Historically business IT projects have relied on a structured sequential approach, also referred to as a waterfall method. There is a distinction between the development stages of a solution and the management stages of a project that delivers the solution although these are often integrated in a business IT systems project. Prior research has demonstrated that the level of certainty varies between development projects. There can be uncertainty on what needs to be developed and also on how this solution should be developed. The move to agile development and management reflects a greater level of uncertainty often on both dimensions and this has led the adoption of more iterative approaches. What has been less well researched is the impact of uncertainty on the governance of the change portfolio and the corresponding implications for business executives. This paper poses this research question and proposes a govemance framework to address these aspects. The governance framework has been reviewed in the context of a major anonymous organisation, FinOrg. Findings are reported in this paper with a focus on the need to apply different approaches. In particular, the governance of uncertain business change is contrasted with the management approach for defined IT projects. Practical outputs from the paper include a consideration of some innovative approaches that can be used by executives. It also investigates the role of the business change portfolio group in evaluating and executing the appropriate level of governance. These results lead to recommendations for executives and also proposed further research.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:38629

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