IT project managers' construction of successful project management practice: a repertory grid investigation

Abstract

Although effective project management is critical to the success of information technology (IT) projects, little empirical research has investigated skill requirements for IT project managers (PMs). This study addressed this gap by asking 19 practicing IT PMs to describe the skills that successful IT PMs exhibit. A semi-structured interview method known as the repertory grid (RepGrid) technique was used to elicit these skills. Nine skill categories emerged: client management, communication, general management, leadership, personal integrity, planning and control, problem solving, systems development and team development. Our study complements existing research by providing a richer understanding of several skills that were narrowly defined (client management, planning and control, and problem solving) and by introducing two new skill categories that had not been previously discussed (personal integrity and team development). Analysis of the individual RepGrids revealed four distinct ways in which study participants combined skill categories to form archetypes of effective IT PMs. We describe these four IT PM archetypes ā€“ General Manager, Problem Solver, Client Representative and Balanced Manager ā€“ and discuss how this knowledge can be useful for practitioners, researchers and educators. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.

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