Importance and management of IT project stakeholders

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Information technology project success rates remain low despite increased investments in information systems and their importance for contemporary organisations. Both research and practice suggest that stakeholders play a key role in ensuring the successful delivery of projects. The success or failure of a project is significantly influenced by a combination of the stakeholders' needs, and the ability and readiness of the project manager to effectively coordinate and manage these aspects. This research sought to explore and understand the importance and management of IT project stakeholders. A mixed-method approach, using thematic analysis and descriptive statistics was followed. Semi-structured interviews, along with a survey questionnaire, were conducted with a selected sample of IT project managers and IT managers, from various sectors. Results of this study indicate that the project team, technical expert, subject matter expert, and the project sponsor are considered the most important stakeholders on IT projects. Furthermore, the results indicate that supplier/vendor, customer/client and project team are considered to be the stakeholders that cause the most uncertainty and problems on IT projects. Lastly, the results of this study indicate that failure to identify one or more stakeholders on an IT project can have a potential negative impact on overall project delivery. Key themes were also identified which provide context to the results of the findings. The results of this research will prove beneficial to IT project managers as it will assist in providing insight into which stakeholders require greater focus regarding stakeholder management, thereby working toward improving IT project delivery results.