To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Transforming local government by project portfolio management: Identifying and overcoming control problems

Lars Kristian Hansen (Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Pernille Kræmmergaard (Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 15 March 2013




As public organizations strive for higher e‐government maturity, information technology (IT) Project Portfolio Management (IT PPM) has become a high priority issue. Assuming control is central in IT PPM, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how a Danish local government conducts control in IT PPM. The authors identify control problems and formulate recommendations to address these.


Adopting principles from Engaged Scholarship, the authors have conducted a case study using a wide variety of data collection methods, including 29 interviews, one workshop, and analyses of documents.


It is found that the local government relies vastly on informal control mechanisms and five control problems are identified: weak accountability processes between the political and administrative level; weak accountability between the director level and the IT executives; IT projects established on the basis of incomplete information about internal resources; lack of operational goals to hold IT projects accountable; and no account of actual IT project costs. The authors propose a model for highlighting how more formal control can be implemented and address the identified control problems.

Research limitations/implications

As a single qualitative case study, the results are limited to one organization and subject.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for IT PPM in Danish local governments and similar organizations in other countries. The paper shows that the lack of formal control mechanisms makes accountability between hierarchical levels difficult, which deprives organizations of the opportunity to pursue and display unambiguous value from their e‐government initiatives.


This paper fulfills an identified need to understand how local governments can improve IT PPM.



Kristian Hansen, L. and Kræmmergaard, P. (2013), "Transforming local government by project portfolio management: Identifying and overcoming control problems", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 50-75.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles