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Mobing Beyond Triple Constraint

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Kyle Tangco

CIS101M – Project Management and IS Development

Critique Paper

Assessing Project Success : Moving Beyond the Triple Constraint

Statement of the Research Problem

Project success is determined by the success of the triple constraints namely project scope, budget and schedule. This practice however, implicitly separates the project to develop the IT artifact from its environment that intends to serve. Moreover, it’s more focused on the point of view of the contractor that inadvertently oversees some of the stakeholder’s needs. Hence, leads to relativism and lack of direction for current Project Managers.

Purpose or Significance of the Paper

The paper brings up an approach to address the issues of the current determinants of a successful project. This approach proposes a new conceptualization of IS project success that is objective, transparent to non-IT managers and provides direction to project managers in handling changes to projects. Furthermore, it tackles the bigger picture of the infrastructure rather than solely focusing on the project’s success.

Framework used

Alter’s Work System Framework

Data Collection Methods

Research from a variety of journals and books.

Summary of Findings

In summary, the newly conceptualized proposal has several limitations. There’s still much more additional work needed in order to fully integrate this to empirical studies and practice to assess its practical value. However, it is a detailed insight of an alternative to the traditional triple constraint assessment to determine project success.  Finally, despite the limitations, it considers the needs of all stakeholders, provides a transparent measure of success to all stakeholders, objective direction to the project manager and considers the IT project in the context of how it will be used which are issues that has been addressed to the triple constraint approach.

3 Major Points of Agreement w/ existing literature as basis

  • Project success is considered when an IS project results in an IT enabled work system that delivers financial benefits which are in excess of the proper thresholds on an ROI and/or opportunity cost basis. (A New Definition of Project Success)

  • Project success has always been clearly defined to generate profit for the organization. A project that results into financial loss for the organization will always be considered a failure as it defeats the purpose of doing business in the first place.

  • The proposal shown here has several limitations. (Conclusion)
  • The proposal in the article shows a bigger picture of the current infrastructure of project management but shows a lot of limitations. The concept proposed incorporates the environment within the traditional view which is ideal but fails to dig deeper. As someone from the development side of a project, most failures stems from the small details of a current project where the article fails to dive into. Furthermore, the article points out that there is much additional work needed to be done for the proposal to be applied in practice.
  • This reconceptualization has the advantages of explicitly considering the needs of all stakeholders, provides a transparent measure of success to all stakeholders, objective direction to the project manager and considers the IT artifact in the context of how it will be used. (Conclusion)
  • The reconceptualization does boast to tackle the issues addressed on the traditional “triple constraints” and gives consideration to the needs of the stakeholders as well as guidance to project managers.

3 Major Points of Disagreement w/ existing literature as basis

  • The traditional view does not provide guidance to the project manager on how to trade-off budget or schedule for functionality. (Issues with the Traditional View)

  • The traditional view provides guidance to the project manager on how to trade-off budget or schedule for functionality and vice versa. It has its own set of practices per phase that helps the project manager decide on which path to take. Furthermore, documents that will help the project manager are also created in the traditional view that would act as reliable resources that guides him/her throughout the project.

  • The traditional view with its emphasis on engineering the artifact at least implicitly ignores a fundamental fact of IS activity: that the IT artifact is not constructed to exist in isolation. (Issues with the Traditional View)
  • The traditional view does not ignore the fact that the IT artifact is not constructed to exist in isolation. I firmly believe that this is included in the project’s scope management. The scope defines what the project is going to accomplish for the organization. Hence, defines that work that it’s going to accomplish.
  • While it may seem at first glance that intangible benefits might provide no financial benefits to the organization, we must recognize that for it to makes sense for an organization to expend resources on a project, it must at some point expect that there will be financial returns from it. (Evaluating Project Success Using Work Systems)
  • Intangible benefits does not always revolve around the financial aspect. While it is critical for a project to always have financial returns, intangible benefits like boosting employee morale is something an organization should always take into account. This is because the most important resource in an organization would always be its human resources.


Michael Cuellar, “Assessing Project Success : Moving Beyond the Triple Constraint”



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