A project manager's optimism and stress management and IT project success

D.C. Smith (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
M. Bruyns (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
S. Evans (Department of Information Systems, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 25 January 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine how the soft competencies of an information technology (IT) project manager, specifically optimism and stress, can affect project success.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was exploratory. Experienced IT project managers were requested to relate a “structured” story regarding a significant, personal experience relating to optimism or stress and how this affected the project outcome. In total, eight stories were captured on the optimism theme and five on stress. Themes from these stories were identified.

Findings

Qualitative analysis of the stories identified several project managers' optimism themes that strongly influenced IT project success. In addition, it was concluded that IT project success was both positively and negatively influenced by stress. To improve their chances of project success, it was concluded that IT project managers should have a positive but realistic degree of optimism based on a well‐accepted project plan. Whilst the project team should expect and embrace stress during the project, this should be carefully managed.

Originality/value

Six important project management practical activities were deduced from the analysis which could assist project managers and their teams to better handle optimism and stress. These activities, when applied effectively, could lead to improved project outcomes.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, D., Bruyns, M. and Evans, S. (2011), "A project manager's optimism and stress management and IT project success", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 10-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538371111096863

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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