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Coping with ’Requirements-Uncertainty’: The Theories-of-Action of Experienced IS Project Managers

Coping with ’Requirements-Uncertainty’: The Theories-of-Action of Experienced IS Project Managers
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Author(s): Tony Moynihan (Dublin City University, Ireland)
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 5
Source title: Challenges of Information Technology Management in the 21st Century
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-84-1.ch011
ISBN13: 9781878289841
EISBN13: 9781466665316


The notion of ‘requirements-uncertainty’ has received a lot of attention in the Information Systems and Software Engineering literature. As the level of uncertainty of user-requirements increases, the literature advises project managers to move away from the traditional waterfall life-cycle model and towards more ‘experimental’ approaches, such as incremental-delivery and prototyping. But there is evidence from empirical research to show that this advice is not always followed. So, it seems that managing requirements-uncertainty may be a more complicated matter. In this paper, I identify the strategies that experienced IS project managers espouse for coping with requirements-uncertainty. I show that project managers espouse different strategies for coping with different aspects of requirements-uncertainty. I also show that project managers view prototyping and incremental development as ‘broad-spectrum’ strategies that are salient for coping with a wide range of project risk-drivers, including aspects of requirements-uncertainty.

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