Spps Definition And Organisational Contextualisation

Spps Definition And Organisational Contextualisation

The article makes an accurate description of the phenomena and diagnosis procedures using standard project management tools proposed by relevant bodies such as the Project Management Institute. This happens in the introductory section with definitions of relevant terms including death spiral or devil spiral that are occasioned by the serious problems projects’ (SPP) difficulties. The contextualisation of the SPPs within the organisational setting highlights the actual scenario that would affect the organisation in case the difficulties occurred to customer companies or system integration companies. Having established the definition with tangible challenge areas, the authors further bring the point to clarity by an illustration that captures the interaction that a standard organisation would be poised to make with SPP. To illustrate the interaction, the choice of a customer demanding too much documentation and detail during the transaction with possible risks of underestimation of such customer specification augurs well with the definition.

From the example of bottleneck setback caused by the customer unmet demands, the authors are able to capture the customer companies’ perspective of risks to opportunity as occasioned unmet of delayed service. The presence of defects in the discharge of such customer specific demands during the processing of a transaction perhaps captures the failure risks that the organisation is exposed to from one perspective. However, the possibility of complex complications of the entire system as a factor of more than a single challenge makes sense of the fact that internal strength may rectify a single problem without major hiccups. It is the demonstration of the complex interplay of project risks that emerge in a SPPs situation that enable Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009, p51) to illustrate the seriousness of the SPPs to a modern organisation.

Risk Identification

The main point raised by the journal article by Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009) is based on the possibility of devising interventions in the life of a project to mitigate the impact of risks. In this perspective, the diagnosis of the presenting challenge is an important aspect for the development of the entire presentation (Passenheim 2009, p81). In order for the risk diagnosis and analysis technique to be applied in the SPPs determination, proper models of intervention such as those on causes and effects are highlighted. The application of further research on related solution finding studies such as Bayesian networks, Apollo root-cause tree analysis as well as fishbone illustrates that the main discussion is sustained using available research on dealing with risk identification issues. The identification of the missing links between available literature and the SPPs complex presenting challenges enables Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009) to devise the appropriate problem solving to deal with a cyclic specific challenge.

To facilitate the definition of the presenting challenge that the organisation faces, the collection of early cues with an intention of devising the appropriate intervention at the earliest possible instance is proposed. This aspect of the proposals contained in the article by Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009) coincides with previous observations that the majority of complications within the SPPs are based on managerial inability to read the signs early enough. It is therefore important to attack the bottleneck from a perspective that arrests the managerial contribution to laxity and inefficiency occasioning SPPs. To overcome the missing links to a proper cues-reading system, the identification of the most important early warning signs (EWS) from the conventional 53 to 12 EWSs for higher clarity is proposed by Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009, p52). Alternatively, the inclusion of the critical causal factors (CCFs) within the systems integration setting has similar managerial origins of complications, which must be addressed from specific causes.

The distinction of various causes and effects that are exposed to the organisation by the SPPs phenomena into three categories namely technology, people and process further reinforces the early identification theme targeted by the proposed model. Without a specific classification of the EWS, it would be difficult for the organisation to learn the implications of the involved risks for each of the EWS. To this end, the article by Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009) largely involves sieving through the conventional EWSs and the identification of the most influential and critical causes. The challenge of such an approach would include the quantification of the magnitude of every event against the generated CCF-EWS-SPPs relationship that the model proposes. The difficulty involved is acknowledged by the article in order to reveal the shortcomings expected in the application of the established relationship between these variables.

In addition, the authors recognise that there is scanty information on suitable research to establish the relationship that cyclic setting has on the negative factors Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009, p53). In the authors’ estimations, the cyclic phenomenon under which the SPPs challenges are contextualised makes the recurrence of risks threats that are more potent than it does would if the project operated on a liner basis. Lack of academic literature in dealing with the potent risks posed by these challenges implies that the authors’ work faced a daunting task of making assumptions in order to make conclusions. To overcome this challenge, the authors applied lessons obtained by previous studies facing such a problem and then making use of these lessons to devise a better approach to deal with the challenges involved. In order to make reliance on the lessons raised, Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009, p53) make reservations on the extent of congruence with the focus of their article. The highlighted lessons are based on the cognitive mappings technique that faces the risk of transposing the risks involved onto the actual study in question based on relevance and congruence. This approach implies that the authors had to rely on the cases of completed projects where SPPs system integration challenges threatened operations, which implies that the reliance on ongoing projects is not possible.

Because the reduction of the applicable number of EWS further raised the burden of being accurate and specific, the authors had to compensate for the raised standards. To this end, the authors proposed the bird’s eye view model in order to facilitate the causes and effects within the high specificity standards proposed by the model. This had to exclude certain unnecessary definition elements that would ideally be included in the wider EWSs perspective. Such an approach highlights the need to generate a universally acceptable diagnosis tool circumventing around the challenges witnessed in reliance of failed projects that may not be similar to the project under study. Consequently, the authors open up the possibility of a wide application of the model in cyclic projects as opposed to previous techniques that are limited in SPPs applications.

The authentication of the proposed bird’s eye view model is attempted through the dedication of specifying SPP cases, analysing SPP cases, identifying major risks as well as the provision of specific practical applications of the model. The article recognises the need to provides practical authentication measures and a number of interventions are provided. In an ordinary setting, a model must be placed under practicality tests for authentication and the authors provide the criteria for analysing the model from different perspectives (Kappelman, McKeeman and Zhang 2006, p33). As a result, the model can be said to have met basic authentication attributes. The uniqueness of the bird’s view model and perspectives in the description of the challenges faced by SI organisations amid SPPs and the cyclic risk exposure makes the article a standard contribution worth recognising in the concerned studies. Due to limitations of previously conducted studies on the same topic, the outcomes of the model in dealing with the risks exposed to the organisation can be dubbed satisfactory.

Critical Review

There are several missing links between the study and the available research literature, making it exposed to the risk of over ambition. Despite the fact that the authors take advantage of academically allowed caution of making disclosures of missing links and assumptions made, it is not satisfactory to make too many assumptions. As an illustration, the inability to find a quantitative technique to explain the magnitude of individual EWS against CCF seems to stand in the way of a model making proper quantity analysis, rendering all quantity aspects of the model questionable. Consequently, the authors do not provide alternative variables quantification techniques, which would have had better results within the allowed study assumptions.

Among the assumptions that the model is based on is the primacy of distinct project phases, which is a subjective project quantification perspective. By relying on project phases without definition of the specific project characterisation and distinction into the phases, it would be difficult to apply the model universally for different projects with different scopes and features. Apparently, it would be important to define the lower, middle and upper phases of projects using specific criteria such as completion or involved practices. To illustrate the ambiguity of the project phase characterisation, there are certain projects that do not fit in the description that the model proposes, yet it is supposed to be applied universally. Alternatively, the assumption that the problems occur following each other is a generalisation that may not affect all cases of projects.

The bird’s view model is perhaps designed within the context of the manager being the most important individual in an organisation. From the introduction to the challenges facing the organisation to the model’s description given throughout the article, the centre of attention is the manager. In view of modern conceptualisation of the organisation, intelligence and knowledge define the position taken by the employees within the organisation and the manager is not the centre of attention (Reich 2007, p14). Teamwork is essential in the delivery of important organisational objectives, including identification and mitigation of risks. However, the manager still has authority over important managerial decisions, but the role of the team more important in the definition of the modern organisation. In the discussion provided in the entire article, the authors provide interventions designed from the manager’s perspective alone. It would perhaps be more appealing if the role of the rest of the organisation were defined in the proposed interventions to ensure that a complete organisational picture is generated.

To illustrate the impracticality of the model from a centralised managerial perspective against the background of the teamwork-oriented organisation, the project phase activities can be used. On the upper phase of the project, the company is deeded to be initiating contracts with clients to such an extent that the focus is shifted to high number of contracts instead of quality. In view of execution of the many contracts, the manager may not be in a position to initiate all of the m or initiate routine supervision without delegation to team leaders and members (Robson 1995, p64). In addition, the middle phase involves the customer contacting the company for explanatory documents, which may not directly be handled by the manager. By assuming that the manager will be directly be involved in the delivery of all these duties is not only deceptive but also impractical.

The presentation and organisation of the paper is also perhaps the cause of the ambiguity in many of the missing links in the study. If the paper were a research paper, it would have been everyone’s expectation that certain crucial features are clearly availed to avoid certain missing links. One of the uncertainties that would be avoided is the main assumption in form of a hypothesis to take care of the many instances of ambiguous generalisations. Alternatively, a spirited deep scan and review of available literature would be academically in order if included in the paper. Whereas presentation of the paper as an article enables the author to avoid major research regulations, the inclusion of the basic research component occupied by a literature review would greatly increase the credibility and authority of the issues raised.

Among the main ambiguities in the article is the avoidance of highlighting the impact of the general observation that the organisation would be in a state of chaos before cyclic challenges start to bite. As illustrated in Fukuzawa and Ohtaka (2009, p57), customer distrust is presented to be a factor of many causes involving inefficient sales functions, defective handling of orders, overreliance on many orders, negligent managers, lowered capacity, poor negotiation and defective organisational honesty. It would therefore be counterproductive to think that the challenges may be diagnosed at the other stages of project implementation. Initial inefficiency of the organisation as a functional system is the root cause of the cyclic SPPs.


Fukuzawa, Y., & Ohtaka, H. (2010) Managing risk symptom: a method to identify major risks of serious problem projects in SI environment using Cyclic Causal Model, Project Management Journal, vol.41, no. 1, pp:51-60, DOI: 10.1002/pmj.20144.

Kappelman, L. A., McKeeman, R., & Zhang, L. (2006) Early warning signs of IT project failure: The dominant dozen, Information Systems Management, vol. 23, no. 4, pp:31–36.

Passenheim, O. (2009) Project Management, Frederiksberg, Denmark: Ventus Publishing ApS

Reich, B. H. (2007) Managing knowledge and learning in IT Projects: A conceptual framework and guideline for practice. Project Management Journal, vol. 38, no. 2, pp: 5–17.

Robson, M. (1995) Problem solving in groups, Brookfield, VT: Gower Publications.

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