Standard method use in contemporary IS development: an empirical investigation

McLeod, L
MacDonell, S
Doolin, B
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Journal Article
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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to obtain an updated assessment of the use of standard methods in IS development practice in New Zealand, and to compare these practices to those reported elsewhere.

Design/methodology/approach – A web-based survey of IS development practices in New Zealand organisations with 200 or more full-time employees was conducted. The results of the survey were compared to prior studies from other national contexts.

Findings – The results suggest that levels of standard method use continue to be high in New Zealand organisations, although methods are often used in a pragmatic or ad hoc way. Further, the type of method used maps to a shift from bespoke development to system acquisition or outsourcing. Organisations that reported using standard methods perceived them to be beneficial to IS development in their recent IS projects, and generally disagreed with most of the published limitations of standard methods.

Research limitations/implications – As the intent was to consider only New Zealand organisations, the results of the survey cannot be generalised further afield. More comparative research is needed to establish whether the trends identified here occur at a wider regional or international level.

Practical implications – A significant proportion of organisations anticipated extending their use of standard methods. Growth in packaged software acquisition and outsourced development suggests an increasing need for deployment management as well as development management, possibly reflecting the increased visibility of standard project management methods.

Originality/value – The relevance of traditional standard methods of IS development has been questioned in a changing and more dynamic IS development environment. This study provides an updated assessment of standard method use in New Zealand organisations that will be of interest to researchers and practitioners monitoring IS development and acquisition elsewhere.

Journal of Systems and Information Technology, vol.9(1), pp.6 - 29
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© 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. The original publication is available at