Critical Success Factors for Project Success in an International LNG Company Operating in a Developing Country: An Action Research Study of Nigeria LNG Limited
Critical success factors in project management tend to vary from industry to industry and also tend to vary between countries. Opposed to previous practices of adopting the Iron Triangle of cost, quality, and time, critical success factors have increased to include aspects such as leadership, teamwork, setting realistic targets, and sustainability. While the increase in critical success factors for a project means additional costs, many firms which are involved in environmentally hazardous practices may not pursue such critical success factors.
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Thus, this study seeks to explore the critical success factors implemented in Nigeria LNG Limited and seeks to compare and contrast these success factors with international standards in developed countries. This study may provide valuable insight into best practices and may also provide project managers in Nigeria or elsewhere with information regarding better project optimization and success techniques amongst other benefits.
Project management is a highly dynamic and complex discipline which requires extensive planning, coordination, and the appropriate management of critical success factors (Pinto & Slevin, 1987). While the project manager has immense responsibility in implementing appropriate strategies to ensure project success, this is often a highly difficult task as approximately 42-47% of projects are successful while others fail (Siguroarson, 2009). However, figures may vary from industry to industry.
Accordingly, critical success factors also vary from project to project. However, project management is often governed by what is termed as the Iron triangle of cost, time, and quality (Pinto & Prescott, 1988). Over the years and with the evolution of project management concepts, project management has become a multidimensional framework which includes other critical success factors such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and ethics, including sustainability (Atkinson, 1999). However, increasing critical success factors can add to the cost of the project and while it is often considered necessary for companies such as liquid and gas companies to implement ethical standards, this is often not practiced in developing countries (Jha & Iyer, 2007).
As the critical success factors of each project vary, the motivation and rationale for this study lies in examining the difference between critical success factors in project management in a developing country such as Nigeria against traditional international standards. Projects carried out in the liquid and gas industry may have severe environmental implications for the area, but project management may not be carried out in an ideal manner with little emphasis upon ethical standards or other key areas which may optimize the project outcome (Kerzner, 2013).
Hence, this study will provide particular insight into the critical success factors considered in LNG Limited in a developing country such as Nigeria and may provide professional knowledge regarding better ways of project optimization and project success if it is found that projects are not properly implemented. Moreover, it will provide insight into the various practices of project management in a country such as Nigeria, as there is not an extant of literature available paying particular attention to this country. This study may provide professional knowledge and best practice for project managers in LNG Limited in Nigeria, project managers who wish to conduct projects in Nigeria, or project managers in other countries.
1.1 Research Objectives:
To understand the specific project factors that determine project success in different project phases in Nigeria LNG Limited
To analyze the environmental factors that determine success in Nigeria LNG Limited
To understand the similarities and differences in critical project success factors between Nigeria and traditional international practices (developed countries)
To determine best practice and suggest better strategies for project optimization and success
1.2 Research Questions:
Main Research Question: Which specific project factors determine project success in different project phases in Nigeria LNG Limited?
Which environmental factors determine success in Nigeria LNG Limited
What are the similarities and differences in critical success factors for project management in Nigeria and international standards (developed countries)
What are the best practices of project management in Nigeria and how can project optimization be improved
2. Conceptual Framework:
There is an extant of literature available upon the topic of project management and various researchers have devised their own framework of critical success factors. Siguroarson (2009) mentions that most of the research conducted upon project success is based upon the project management theory and the concept of the Iron Triangle of cost, time, and quality. However, over the decades concepts have evolved and included many other factors which include leadership, communication, setting realistic targets, and many others (Pattanayak, Wunder, & Ferraro, 2010). Moreover, with the growing concern for the environment, concepts of corporate social responsibility and the implementation of sustainability principles have emerged which are often considered critical success factors for businesses which have severe implications for the environment such as the liquid and gas industry (Naude, 2010).
However, it is often found that corporations who can avoid the implementation of the theory of sustainability may focus upon other factors in project management, and this may exceptionally be prevalent in developing countries such as Nigeria. Moreover, the determination of critical success factors depends upon the project manager’s skills, education, experience, tradition, and many other factors (Ahsan & Gunawan, 2010).
Based upon previous research, this study will develop in the light of concepts such as the project management theory, Iron Triangle, theory of corporate social responsibility, sustainability principles, and other relevant theories in order to properly explore the topic.
3. Research Methodology:
As there is not an extant of literature available upon Nigeria LNG Limited, the study is designed to be exploratory in nature. Accordingly, the study will adopt a qualitative data collection method and will focus upon primary research. The study will use an open-ended questionnaire regarding the critical success factors used in LNG Limited as the data collection tool and will direct them at a sample which will later be chosen according to appropriateness. The conduction of primary research is essential because of the specific nature of the study and because no previous literature is available in the context of Nigeria LNG Limited. Moreover, using an open-ended questionnaire will allow the gathering of maximum information while reducing elements of interviewer bias or excessive chances of misinterpretation which may occur in a verbal/telephonic interview. Moreover, using a questionnaire will also increase feasibility and convenience for the researcher and the respondents as the questionnaire can be dispersed through email or through online survey tools.
Data will be analyzed or measured using content analysis and based upon the researcher’s understanding of the information presented by respondents and information he/she gathered through literature. This research design best fits the purpose of the study and allows the gathering of in-depth information (Saunders et al, 2011). However, it has the limitations of including possible elements of researcher bias and respondent bias which may exist within the gathering of qualitative data.
4. Study Implications:
As the list of potential critical success factors is increasing over the years, this study may provide valuable insight into new critical success factors or new implementation strategies adopted in developing countries or Nigeria specifically. Thus, it may provide project managers all over the world or in Nigeria in particular with information regarding best practices, improvements in project optimization, and the implementation of better sustainability principles, amongst other things. Thus, it can result in the development and implementation of better project management strategies and derision of appropriate critical success factors. Accordingly, this study can provide valuable information for project managers regarding project management and may also increase the scope for Nigeria as a potential project conduction site. Moreover, the study will also be beneficial for academics and will be a valuable addition to the existing literature upon project management.
The researcher has ample access to potential respondents from the study and the time period allocated is sufficient for the compilation and analysis of data.
Reading and Evaluating Relevant LiteratureAugust 2013- October 2013
Developing First Draft of Literature ReviewOctober 2013-November 2013
Drafting Questionnaire and Selecting/Contacting SampleNovember 2013-February 2014
Conducting Primary Research and Gathering ResultsMarch 2014-April 2014
Analyzing Data and Writing First Draft of FindingsApril 2014-June 2014
Completing and Finalizing Previous Portions of Thesis Based on Supervisor FeedbackJune 2014-July 2014
ProofreadingJuly 2014-August 2014
Ahsan, K., & Gunawan, I. (2010). “Analysis of cost and schedule performance of international development projects.”International Journal of Project Management. Vol. 28(1) pp. 68-78.
Atkinson, R. (1999) “Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, its time to accept other success criteria” .International Journal of Project Management. Vol.17(6) pp.337-342.
Jha, K. N., & Iyer, K. C. (2007) “Commitment, coordination, competence and the iron triangle.”International Journal of Project Management. Vol.25(5) pp.527-540
Kerzner, H. R. (2013).Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Wiley.
Naude, W. (2010). “Entrepreneurship, developing countries, and development economics: new approaches and insights.”Small Business Economics. Vol. 34(1) pp. 1-12.
Pattanayak, S. K., Wunder, S., & Ferraro, P. J. (2010). “Show me the money: Do payments supply environmental services in developing countries?.”Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. Vol.4 (2) pp.254-274.
Pinto, J. K., & Prescott, J. E. (1988) “Variations in critical success factors over the stages in the project life cycle.”Journal of management. Vol.14 (1) pp.5-18.
Pinto, J. K., & Slevin, D. P. (1987) “Critical factors in successful project implementation.”Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions. Vol. 1 pp. 22-27.
Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011).Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.
Siguroarson, S. (2009) “Critical Success Factors in Project Management” University of Iceland. Masters Thesis.
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