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Managing complexity is becoming a more crucial concern for many companies because the complexity of projects and management systems appears to be growing during the last years. The concept of complexity in information technology projects and its role in the failure of major projects has been explored in the literature. Regardless of the fact that several studies have analyzed this topic, little research has been conducted in managing the complexity of information technology projects. Thus, this study provides a new holistic approach for minimizing the complexity and the cost of information technology projects, consequently, for improving its operational performance as a result. The purpose of this study is to review the previous researches that examine the complexity of IT projects. Furthermore, it proposes a conceptual framework that considers the major aspects in explaining the new holistic approach. The conceptual model describes five factors that affect the complexity of IT projects: system thinking, process-centric, information governance, supply chain sustainability, and enterprise risk management, and four different dimensions of complexity in IT projects: structural complexity, uncertainty and dynamics, pace, and socio-political complexity. Finally, the holistic approach that has enabled describes a systematic thinking approach for managing resources, which builds biodiversity, improves production, and generates financial strength. Also, it enhances sustainability and improves the quality of a project's life.
Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal Volume 27, Special Issue 5, 2021
Entrepreneurship and Economics 1528-2686-27-S5-68
Hana Arrfou, School of Public Administration, Community Collage of Qatar
Reda AlBtoush, School of Business Administration, Amman Arab University
Nour Damer, King Talal School for Business Technology, Princess Sumaya
University for Technology
Managing complexity is becoming a more crucial concern for many companies because the
complexity of projects and management systems appears to be growing during the last years. The
concept of complexity in information technology projects and its role in the failure of major projects
has been explored in the literature. Regardless of the fact that several studies have analyzed this
topic, little research has been conducted in managing the complexity of information technology
projects. Thus, this study provides a new holistic approach for minimizing the complexity and the
cost of information technology projects, consequently, for improving its operational performance as
a result. The purpose of this study is to review the previous researches that examine the complexity
of IT projects. Furthermore, it proposes a conceptual framework that considers the major aspects in
explaining the new holistic approach. The conceptual model describes five factors that affect the
complexity of IT projects: system thinking, process-centric, information governance, supply chain
sustainability, and enterprise risk management, and four different dimensions of complexity in IT
projects: structural complexity, uncertainty and dynamics, pace, and socio-political complexity.
Finally, the holistic approach that has enabled describes a systematic thinking approach for
managing resources, which builds biodiversity, improves production, and generates financial
strength. Also, it enhances sustainability and improves the quality of a project’s life.
Keywords: System Thinking, Process-Centric, Information Governance, Supply Chain
Sustainability, Enterprise Risk Management
Nowadays, the business of technology firms depends on the successful delivery of projects,
where these projects can be complex; proactively managing that complexity can accelerate the
project delivery process and result in an integrated-based view of managing the information
technology project. In effort to reduce risk associated with the complexity of the IT projects, firms
have to build an effective holistic approach. Since considerable investments in project management
systems and training, IT projects are still reported to have variable success rates across all sectors,
thus, managing IT projects complexity will have the potential to identify better processes, staffing,
and training practices, thereby reducing unnecessary costs, frustrations, and failures (Wouters et al.,
2011). According to (IBM, 2011; Charette, 2005; Kraft, & Steenkamp, 2010). Managing
complexity is becoming a more crucial concern for many companies because the complexity of
projects and management systems appears to be growing during the last years (Jelinek et al., 2012).
For instance, seventy five percent of the 3,018 global respondents to IBM’s Essential CIO Survey
expected more complexity and changes over the next ten years, and this is a real problem.
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Most of the previous researches of IT projects have documented the project success or
failure factors in terms of costs, schedules, objectives and budget. Despite the many methods and
techniques that have been developed, complexity in managing technical projects remains a major
problem (Charette, 2005; Tarantino, 2008; Kraft & Steenkamp, 2010; Wouters et al., 2011).
On the other hand, project evaluation is changeable, based on what is perceived at the time
of the rating. The complexity of a project might be expected to decline over the course of the
project's life. However, events such as major changes in requirements, abandonment of work by
delivery partners, and technical difficulties arising, increase complexity as the projects develop
(Flyvbjerg et al., 2003). Therefore, the principles of complexity must be explicit, with the project
considered in it is entirety or for the next phase only. Moreover, understanding complexity’s
principles needs to be revisited and understanding that approach (Mandal et al., 2000; Jelinek et al.,
2012). In IT projects which face with very dynamic business environments, establishment of a
proper holistic approach is of crucial significance. In this regard, an appropriate holistic framework
is needed. However, due to the lack of research in this field, this important subject has been unclear
for both the academics and executives. Therefore, the objective of this study is to propose a
conceptual framework of managing the complexity of IT project through a field study. The
conceptual model was refined utilizing the reviews of the related literature, formulation of the
complexity variables in IT projects and formulation of the success factors of managing the IT
Complexity of Information Technology Projects
The issues of the complexity in IT projects continue to dominate management literate due to
its important contribution in reducing the risk and the cost (McCarthy, O’Raghallaigh, Fitzgerald &
Adam, 2018). Several efforts were made in developing countries to identify the problem of
complexity in IT projects from the management perspective, yet it has been confronted with
challenges. Some research projects like Kraft & Steenkamp (2010); Poveda-Bautista, Diego-Mas &
Leon-Medina (2018) focused are on measuring the project management complexity: the case of
information technology projects; Khan, Flanagan & Lu (2016) conducted a study that managing
information complexity in IT projects; McCarthy, et al., (2018) concentrated on the social
complexity and team cohesion in multiparty information systems development projects. Findings
from many of the complexity in IT projects studies shown that there is a lack of agreement on what
complexity really is in IT project contexts.
Consideration of project complexity is of interest to both practitioners and academics. For
practitioners, there is a need to “deal with complexity”, to determine how an individual or
organization responds to complexity (Thomas & Mengel, 2008), and in academia, research should
be focused on two issues of work. The first issue studies projects through the lenses of various
complexity theories (Manson, 2001; Cooke-Davies et al., 2007). The second issue is practitioner-
driven and aims to identify the characteristics of complex projects, and how individuals and
organizations respond to this complexity (Maylor et al., 2008; Shenhar & Dvir, 2007). The current
study focus will be on the second stream. However, some of the lessons from the first stream, about
emergent behavior and the production of non-linearity and dynamics within complex IT projects,
give particular motivation to the need for the second stream of work to help practice.
Williams (2005) proposed a definition for project complexity as "consisting of many varied
interrelated parts'', which operationalizes in terms of disorientation the number of varied elements
and interdependency the degree of interrelatedness between these elements (or connectivity). These
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measures apply with respect to various project dimensions. However, the current study takes into
account the `differentiation' as the definition of IT projects, in other words the number and diversity
of inputs, outputs, tasks or specialties. This `interdependency' would be the interdependencies
between tasks, teams, technologies or inputs.
Moreover, Maylor, et al., (2013) found that the complexity comes in different forms such as
structural, sociopolitical, and emergent, where managers are frequently prepared to deal with only
one type of complexity, which is structural. Consequently,assessment thecomplexity in IT projects
helps project teams to identify sources of complexity by asking a set of pertinent questions, and
helps for facilitating the discussions that can surface difficult issues and develop consensus
regarding challenges and the best way to approach them. Thus, once the team agrees on what the
specific complexities may be, complexity may be removed or reduced, or it may remain as residual
complexities that must be managed. Whatever the approach to managing complexity, assessment
the complexity in IT projects provides a language and a system for articulating and dealing with the
practical difficulties inherent in new-product development projects.
According to Shane, et al., (2012) the complexity in IT projects is characterized by a degree
of disarray, instability, evolving decision making, nonlinear processes, iterative planning and
design, uncertainty, irregularity, and randomness. The complexity in IT projects is dynamic, where
the parts in a system can interact with each other in different ways. There is also high uncertainty
about what the objectives are and/or high uncertainty in how to implement the objectives, so
complexity in IT projects means standard practices cannot be used to achieve project success,
dynamic interactions between project factors, and creates a high level of uncertainty regarding
objectives and/or implementation.
It is claimed that there is a little building on previous studies and there is a little unified
understanding of managing the complexity in IT projects (Vidal & Marle, 2008; Poveda-Bautista et
al., 2018). However, this study considers four different dimensions of complexity: structural
complexity, uncertainty and dynamics, pace, and socio-political complexity (see figure 1)(Crawford
et al., 2005; Dvir et al., 2006; Geraldi & Adlbrecht, 2007; Green, 2004; Hobday, 1998; Maylor et
al., 2008; MuLler & Turner, 2007; Shenhar, 2001; Poveda-Bautista, et al., 2018) (Figure 1).
Regarding the first dimension, structural complexity is the most frequently mentioned type
of complexity in the literature; it is related to a large number of distinct and interdependent
elements. Structural complexity is close to the original concept of complexity as a set of interrelated
entities, it is the state or quality of being intricate or complicated, a factor involved in a complicated
process or situation like: telecommunication constraints, it management support, infrastructure, and
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incompetence on applying technology (Green, 2004; Williams, 2005; Geraldi & Adlbrecht, 2007;
Poveda-Bautista et al., 2018). From the point of view of the main stakeholders of the IT projects,
the authors describe its structural complexity as a synthesis of upstream and support systems that
provide reference data, and downstream systems to which risk measures need to be reported. On the
other hand, there were assessment systems reviewing the IT projects; therefore, some specific audit
teams asked for new requirements. It is important to mention that each system is an external team,
with its own organization approach. In many cases, these organizations are working with external
teams. Therefore, structural complexity in IT projects is easy to find, and not easy to solve
(Schmidt, Lyytinen, Keil & Cule, 2001; Ewusi-Mensah. 2003; Poveda-Bautista et al., 2018).
The second dimension is uncertainty and dynamic; uncertainty also emerged as a relevant
type of complexity, usually in a two-by-two matrix where it is orthogonal to structural complexity.
Furthermore, Little (2005) applied uncertainty combination to IT projects, and argued that the
conceptualization of uncertainty as a dimension of managerial complexity, is consistent with
complexity theory. The authors found that the uncertainty relates to both the current and future
states of each of the elements that make up the system being managed, but also how they interact,
and what the impact of those states and interactions will be. For managers, this is experienced as an
inevitable gap between the amount of information and knowledge ideally required to make
decisions, and what is available. On another hand, dynamics refers to changes in projects, such as
changes in specifications (or changes in goals due to ambiguity so are related to “uncertainty”
above), management team, suppliers, or the environmental context. These changes may expose the
project to high levels of disorder, rework, or inefficiency, especially when changes are not well
communicated or assimilated by the team and others involved. In dynamic contexts, it is also
relevant to make sure that the goals of the projects continue to be aligned with those of the key
stakeholders, and new developments in competition. Add to that projects not only change “outside-
in” but also “inside-out”. Team motivation levels may change and internal politics may emerge.
Understanding the patterns underlying at least part of this dynamic may be a good strategy to avoid
“chaos” processes (Stacey, 2001).
The third dimension is Pace, which is related to the time complexities associated with each
IT project (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1997; Williams, 2005). This is confirmed by Shenhar, Dvir
(2007); Dvir, et al., (2006) as they expanded a framework based on technological uncertainty and
structural complexity and proposed a speed-based approach. Moreover, Williams (2005) added a
rapid pace to his previous model, that included uncertainty and structural complexity. Speed is an
important type of complexity where the necessity and gravity of time goals requires different
structures and administrative attention; needs for concurrent engineering to meet tighter project
timeframes, which also leads to tighter interdependence between elements of the system and
therefore intensifies structural complexity. In later publication, the same author goes further and
uses arguments of complexity theory and findings in major projects to emphasize issues related to
an accelerated pace in projects. The researcher argued that the systemic modeling work explains
how the tightness of the time-constraints strengthens the power of the feedback loops, that small
problems or uncertainties cause unexpectedly large effects, it thus shows how the type of under-
specification identified when the estimate is elevated to the status of a project control budget
causing feedback which causes much greater overspending than the degree of underestimation.
The fourth dimension is socio-political complexity, this is easy to broadly conceptualize, yet
it’s difficult to operationalize. Remington & Pollack (2007) addressed this complexity as
“directionally complex”, and stressed the ambiguity in the definition of the objectives together with
key stakeholders which of course compounds the underlying ambiguity of the goals discussed
under the “uncertainty and dynamics” dimension above. Maylor et al. (2008) addressed the topic
indirectly and alluded to issues involved when managing stakeholders, such as a lack of
commitment of stakeholders and problematic relationships between stakeholders as well as those
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related to the team and grouped some of these aspects in what they termed “complexity of
interaction”. This emerges in the interaction between people and organizations, involves aspects
such as transparency, empathy, variety of languages, cultures, and disciplines. This study
considered all the factors found in the literature as relevant factors in the complexity of IT projects
(see figure 1), since all these factors were identified by several authors as inherent to the complexity
of IT projects. All of them were included in the template developed to design the complexity in IT
Holistic Approach
The holistic approach is a way that systems and their properties should be seen as a
consensus, not as groups of parts. If the systems are considered to operate as a whole, then their
operation cannot be fully understood in terms of the component parts of them Diep (2016). Further
the holistic approach viewed as concerned with complete systems rather than with individual parts,
and these parts are considered to be all interconnected, such that they can be neither effectively
compartmentalized nor fully developed independently of each other (Evjen, Raviz & Petersen,
2020). As a result, the holistic approach as an all-encompassing approach based on the knowledge
of the nature, functions, and properties of the components, looks for fundamental issues rather than
only addressing symptoms (Kraft & Steenkamp, 2010).
The holistic approach is a structured, methodical approach to project management, where it
is more about personal touch. In addition, the holistic approach is regarded as a significant approach
in managing IT project based on common sense, ethics, values, as well as an involved and
passionate approach from project management (Sequeira, Elshahawi & Ormerod, 2017). Thus,
understanding the values, tradition and being sensitive to the work culture environment can reap
many rewards in terms of execution for any project. However, the holistic approach aims at
involving team members in decision-making. Where participative interactions in all forms of project
execution will ensure the spread of the project's shared vision across each member of the team, the
team is united, individuals are motivated and passionate about achieving the project's goals and
nothing could prevent project success (Gillian, 2000; Helgeson, 2010). Consequently, the authors
consider the holistic approach as a system which offers a new decision-making framework for IT
project’s managers, by looking at the whole picture of managing the complexity of IT projects.
In the context of the holistic approach to manage the IT project, many researchers have
studied the holistic approach for understanding project management and have confirmed that the
effectiveness of the holistic approach to manage the project. This includeinformation technology
sector (Smart, 1977; Shefy & Sadler-Smith, 2006; Kraft & Steenkamp, 2010; Jarrahi, Crowston,
Bondar & Katzy, 2017; Balis et al., 2018). Moreover, Shefy & Sadler-Smith (2006) mentioned that
the main holistic approach dimensions are: reality, harmony and balance, relinquishing the desire to
control, transcending the ego, centeredness, and the power of softness. However in reality, they are
overlapped, and inter-related. The concept ofrealityrefers to quieting the mind, and it refers to a
state of “contemplation and quietism”, It is through emptying ourselves to gain the greatest fullness
Smart (1977). The harmony and balance principle refers to the emphasis on the relationship
between opposites and the balance between them, this might manifest itself as self-motivation and
the ability to motivate others in a symbiotic relationship. Many managers feel a need to behave in a
very proactive manner (Smart, 1977). Principle three is relinquishing the desire to control. This is
part of a deeper understanding of the recognition that it is not always possible to find a place to
“stand firm”. Therefore, one must begin to feel comfortable with the reality of accepting a lack of
control as part of the “nature of nature”. Principle four is transcending the ego, this principle is self-
awareness and the accompanying recognition that a decisive battle is not with the opponent, but
with you (Briggs & Peat, 1999). For this purpose, the managers have to know how to be aware of
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themselves and not allow their weaknesses to shed any desire from their self to let the ego stand out
and dominate.
Principle five is centeredness;this means that the importance of the inner center (which may
act as an anchor) may be seen as particularly critical in view of the constant change and uncertainty
faced by managers. However it requires the manager to be flexible in her or his functioning but also
have a strong center to which to gravitate (Suler, 1993). Principle six is the power of softness. The
“tough” manager is a stereotype and one that is sometimes equated with strength and softness. On
the other hand, this could be perceived as a weakness. Softness towards employees or clients may
turn out to be more effective because “a soft answer may turn away wrath”. Softness and sometimes
yielding may ensure advance and “victory” in the longer term (Briggs & Peat, 1999).
In a study conducted in (2010) by Kraft and Steenkamp, the factors that affecting project
managementwere identified in three categories including: strategic management, tactical
management and operational management, The indicators that represent strategic management
were: strategy, goals, objectives, projects management standards, IT standards and governance. And
the indicators that represent tactical management were: business processes, system architecture,
system design, organizational dynamics supplier. The operational management’s indicators: project
team activities (evaluations, requirements reviews enhancement, user training and support
implementation). It can be concluded that the holistic approach to the project management of IT
applications using those three categories provide a useful diagnostic tool and beneficial project
management method for estimating the likelihood of project success or failure. But still those
categories did not manage the complexity of the IT projects.
Moreover, it is widely accepted that systems thinking has a positive direct effect in reducing
the complexity in project management, the term of the system thinking is explained as the way that
a system's constituent parts interrelate; how systems work overtime, and how they work within the
context of even larger systems (Wankhade & Dabade, 2005; Helgeson, 2010). The relationship
between process-centric and project management also exists in information technology sector
(Munsamy, Telukdarie & Fresner, 2019; Arrfou, 2019). The term process-centric is explained as the
reaction of a holistic approach to center on projects processes themselves, rather than individual
elements such as documents, workflow or people (Munsamy et al., 2019). Process-centriccan play a
very vital role in the major challenges of project management include unrealistic deadlines,
communication deficit, uncertain dependencies, failure to manage risk and invisibility of the
intermediate products (Jupp, 2016; Khiat, Nachifa & Ftouhi, 2017). Process-centriccan also
improve the complexity situations significantly.
It was widely agreed that the efficiency of the corporate world depended upon the
establishment of an alternative holistic approach with unique dimensions that would compensate for
the identified complexity in the pre-existing approach. This was the point when the development of
the information governance in the holistic approach happened (MacLennan, 2014; Shabou, 2019;
Lomas, 2020). In addition, information governance seeks to integrate and coordinate a range of
relative activities, such as records management, knowledge management, and data management,
sometimes referred to as information technology and communications governance (Diep, 2016;
Riis, Hellström & Wikström, 2019; Lomas, 2020). Considering this definition, the domain of this
study will fall within information governance that is likely situated at strategic and decisional
corporate levels. It offers a strong connection between system thinking, process- centric, and supply
chain sustainability of enterprise risk management in managing the complexity of IT project.
The attention to and increasing concerns about the supply chain sustainability of projects
have created pressure from societal stakeholders on IT project’s companies to address
environmental, economic and social concerns (Correia, Carvalho, Azevedo & Govindan, 2017). In
addition, supply chain sustainability has been widely recognized as a critical principle for projects
survival;consequently, measuring the performance of supply chain sustainability is central to the
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evaluation of how projects respond to pressures and demands from stakeholders (Martens&
Carvalho, 2017). The integration of supply chain sustainability in managing the IT projects context
is a fundamental principle of sustainable development, and one way of achieving improvements in
the use of resources (Carter, Hatton, Wu & Chen, 2019). In this study, the supply chain
sustainability is considered as one of the holistic approach principles of improving the long-term
performance of the individual IT projects and the supply chain as a whole.
IT projects inherently involve high levels of risk, because IT projects by definition are being
done for the first time, moreover, the highly unpredictable projects are encountered in information
technology, and projects involving massive undertakings or emergency response typically faced by
government bureaucracies (Shad et al., 2019). In recent years, many IT projects have implemented
enterprise risk management to measure and manage all complex risks of their projects (Khameneh,
Taheri & Ershadi, 2016). It is clear that the enterprise risk management is the key function of IT
projects; it is required to manage the complexity of IT projects.
There exists little research into what are the effective principles of the holistic approach to
reduce and manage the complexity in IT projects, thus this study on the holistic approach have
established that the reason of the relationship between the holistic approach and the management of
the complexity in IT projects is still inconclusive and under research. In the light of the above, the
effectiveness of the holistic approach in managing the complexity in IT projects is influenced by
some factors that are: systems thinking, process-centric, information governance, supply chain
sustainability, and enterprise risk management.
Conceptual Model Development
The Holistic Approach in Managing Complexity of IT Project
This study focuseson building a model that looks at projects with a holistic view through
analyzing and understanding projects, examining the links and interactions between the various
contemporary elements that constitute any explanation in IT Project.
Olson (2005) found that holistically managing sources of risk from each business operation,
based on the nature of the risk and mitigation options available. Olson also, found that successful
risk management with service partners resulted in more efficient, technologically enabled,
andautomatedleverages, when a holistic approach was adaopted. In addition, Helgeson (2010)
believed that the use of a holistic approach in managing complexity in IT projects increases the
probability of projects successfully.
Furthermore, Tehraninasr & Darani (2009) argued that the holistic approach had strong
effects on the pace in telecommunications. As well, Wankhade & Dabade (2005) found that
industrial developments towards products' quality have witnessed unprecedented success, with
elaborate tools and techniques at their disposal, where developing nations are following excellent
standards. Customer’s perception of quality was a manifestation due to the socio-economic
condition of the populace, and is an equally relevant and significant fact in developing countries.
Reorienting quality endeavors towards this fact will help us formulate a holistic quality
management model. Now, after what has been clarified about the holistic approach to solve the
complexity in the projects, the managers of complex issues of IT projects need to deal with complex
issues in which its resolution requires holistic approaches, sophisticated thinking, and pluralist
Moreover, IT project managers take a holistic approach, by looking at the ‘big picture’ and
embracing the complexity of how problems interact with each other to form a ‘mess’. Looking at
problems in this way leads managers to accept that problems are not obvious and pre-determined,
but must be constantly reviewed and managed. In this view, the appropriate response to complex
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problems does not lie with simple fixes, but must be constructed with a wide range of stakeholders
who are implicated in and impacted by the ‘mess’. This systems perspective does not require
abandoning the manager’s traditional analytical tools, but it does demand complementing and
integrating them with holistic systems approaches. Because of the evolving and interactive
complexity of problems, IT project managers must be creative in how they tackle them. Often,
several system approaches will be required to be combined to create a solution that addresses the
root causes of a complex problem (Shefy & Sadler-Smith 2006). AlBtoush (2012) emphasized the
importance of developing a comprehensive and strategic approach enabled decisional alert and
intervention framework for IT projects.
The approach in this study describes the five factors affecting the complexity of IT projects,
which are defined by Gillian (2000); Wankhade & Dabade (2005); Helgeson (2010). Wankhade and
Dabade (2005) found that system thinking is the aspect leads to the analysis focuses on the way in
which the component parts of the project are interrelated, how projects work over time and how
they work in the context of larger projects, in-depth, this shows how the aspects of a holistic
approach can affect, manage, and shape of each other that linked to complex technological projects.
Helgeson (2010) argued that the process-centric centers on IT project processes themselves,
rather than individual elements such as documents, workflow or people. Whereas paradigms,
metaphors, and creativity lay the conceptual foundations for systems thinking and organizational
learning, linking paradigms in the social sciences to organizational metaphors, and processes of
organizational learning and creativity, and that would reduce the complexity of IT projects in such
cases. The third aspect in managing complexity of IT project is information governance, which
means managing corporate information by implementing projects that treat information as a
valuable business asset. The fourth aspect is supply chain sustainability, and this refers to a holistic
perspective of supply chain processes and technologies that go beyond the focus of delivery,
inventory, and traditional views of cost. Finally, for managing complexity in IT projects, enterprise
risk management is needed as a fifth aspect of a holistic approach for planning, organizing, leading,
and controlling an organization's activities in order to minimize the effects of risks on capital and
earnings (Gillian, 2000). The authors found that creative holism focuses on critical projects practice
presents alternative projects approaches as complementary to one another, rather than as competing
and presenting incommensurable views, a holistic approach ensures fairness and looks at critical
projects heuristics, by exploring how to design solutions to complex problems that are inclusive,
comprehensive, and fair, critical projects heuristics provides an important contribution to holistic
and creative complex problem solving. Figure (2) below presents the proposed study's model with it
is dimensions.
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Recently, IT projects are showinga very rapid growth, which leadsto growing demand in
technological services in the most countries around the world, this growth has driven many IT
service providers to look for ways of serving and reaching their customers in a cost efficient and
effective way, which leads to the occurrence of complexity in these projects. In a project team, there
will be a constant need to help others within the organization through experience and information,
encouragement, and support as well (Mele´ & Runde, 2011).
As we have progressed in the study of the holistic approach for IT projects, several project
management slandered have been recognizing the need for an exceptional and holistic approach to
manage the complexity in IT projects. In the same way, there is a need for specific competence
development in specific factors in complexities of IT projects. In this sense, several researchers
have developed the holistic approach for projects management (Shefy & Sadler-Smith, 2006; Kraft
& Steenkamp, 2010; Sequeira, et al., 2017). However, there are no reported researches that focused
on the holistic approach for managing the complexity in the IT projects, and studies have not been
found to deepen dimensions of the holistic approach and the complexity of the IT projects, while
any IT project is exposed to failure.
Information technology projects such as the development of a database of clients or
suppliers is purely technical process, although it is not always so. Within the IT project, which is
characterized by a high level of art, there is room for creativity and innovation when it comes to
aspire to optimize the use of available resources, such as work force, machinery, materials and
money, and so on. Whether the project is large or small, it should work properly and managed to
achieve all company benefits from its implementation. Thus, the management of human resources,
and in particular the members of the project team who have the required skills set and experiences,
must participate in the performance of roles and responsibilities. Therefore, it is essential to get an
integrated approach, which is compatible with the internal, and external variables in the
management of information technology projects for the benefit to be achieved (Mukendi, 2012).
However, the holistic approach in managing projects will show how it is important to look at
the whole picture and realize that the totality of something is much greater than the sum of its
component parts. Also, a holistic approach can be applied in many areas studies have showed how
its view of a problem leads to a more comprehensive solution and development (Mele´ & Runde,
2011). In addition, the importance of the current study stems from the criticality and important of
both the holistic approach and complexity in IT project managements, where the agility of
management, especially in critical and complex conditions. The technology holistic approach
should be part of the holistic approach to other projects that technology supports. By using system
thinking, process-centric, information governance, supply chain sustainability, and enterprise risk
management in one approach, the companies can manage the complexity of their IT projects which
introduces problem-solving, the IT project manager will realize why systems methodologies are
required, and how systems and complexity methodologies are relevant to the management of
complex projects.
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