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Management Competences, not Tools and Techniques:a grounded examination of software project management at WM-data

Authors
Publisher
Elsevier BV
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Software Project Management
  • Software Engineering
  • Competence
Disciplines
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

Abstract

Traditional software project management theory often focuses on desk-based development of software and algorithms, much in line with the traditions of the classical project management and software engineering. This can be described as a tools and techniques perspective, which assumes that software project management success is dependent on having the right instruments available, rather than on the individual qualities of the project manager or the cumulative qualities and skills of the software organisation. Surprisingly little is known about how (or whether) these tools techniques are used in practice. This study, in contrast, uses a qualitative grounded theory approach to develop the basis for an alternative theoretical perspective: that of competence. A competence approach to understanding software project management places the responsibility for success firmly on the shoulders of the people involved, project members, project leaders, managers. The competence approach is developed through an investigation of the experiences of project managers in a medium sized software development company (WM-data) in Denmark. Starting with a simple model relating project conditions, project management competences and desired project outcomes, we collected data through interviews, focus groups and one large plenary meeting with most of the company's project managers. Data analysis employed content analysis for concept (variable) development and causal mapping to trace relationships between variables. In this way we were able to build up a picture of the competences project managers use in their daily work at WM-data, which we argue is also partly generaliseable to theory. The discrepancy between the two perspectives is discussed, particularly in regard to the current orientation of the software engineering field. The study provides many methodological and theoretical starting points for researchers wishing to develop a more detailed competence perspective of software project managers' work.<br /> Udgivelsesdato: JUN

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