Project Portfolio Management Influence on Individual Projects

Subject: Management
Pages: 65
Words: 20139
Reading time:
73 min
Study level: College

Executive Summary

The influence of project portfolio management on individual projects is an issue that has raised a lot of attention of many researchers. In this research, the researcher focused on understanding the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects using both the primary and secondary sources of data. Secondary sources of data were important in this research because it gave the researcher an insight into what other researchers have come up with in the past.

In only 3 hours we’ll deliver a custom Project Portfolio Management Influence on Individual Projects essay written 100% from scratch Get help

This research was therefore keenly guided by the secondary sources of data. The secondary sources of data also helped in guiding the researcher on the best methodology to use when undertaking the analysis of the primary data. The primary data was collected employees of Emirates Islamic Bank. The researcher sampled a population of 50 respondents for this research to whom, the questionnaires were sent online. The researcher used quantitative research approach in data analysis for this research. The research used questionnaires to collect data from the respondents. The research also involved use of case studies in order to create a deeper understanding of the project.

It is clear from the analysis of both the primary and secondary sources of data that there is a close relationship between project portfolio management and success of individual project. The secondary sources of data demonstrated that a successful management of project portfolio would result into good performance of individual project. When project portfolio management officer takes time to understand individual project and the value it gives the firm. This way, it becomes easier to allocate individual projects. As such, performance of individual projects would be influenced by project portfolio management.

Background of the Study

According to Kanda (2011, p. 78), project portfolio management refers to managing of multiple projects. Several projects may run within an organization, each with different and well-defined objectives that are to be achieved within a specified time. Project portfolio management has a direct influence on success of individual project. As a result of this, there is a need to ensure success at this level in order to ensure that individual projects meet their target. According to Daft (2009, p. 48), when managing a portfolio of projects, it is important to have an understanding of the requirements of each project at this level, before assigning a group of employees to implement the project.

It is important to know the business value of individual projects and their demands before the implementation begins. This will allow the top executives to know how to assign the available resources (time, finance, and labour) to each project. This will be the first step of managing portfolio of projects. This will go a long way in ensuring that each individual project succeeds because of careful planning from the onset. As Coulter (2009, p. 94) puts it, successful management of a portfolio of projects will always result into a success on the individual projects; and this will in turn enable success of the entire firm.

Success of an individual project will result into an overall success of a firm. Project’s success depends on a number of factors, and the prevailing conditions within a given business. Project portfolio management is always important when a firm is planning on how to influence all the projects positively. An individual project can be influenced by project portfolio management in various ways, as will be discussed in this research paper.

Due to the demand and desire to compete effectively in the world market, researchers have directed a lot of their attention in projects management. In the past years, little of project portfolio management was known, but now in the current world, things are changing with the many changes taking place in various sectors. People, including scholars and business managers, have become very innovative. Modernity is taking place at a very high rate and so many changes are observed in the world market.

Academic experts
available
We will write a custom Management essay specifically for you for only $16.00 $11/page Learn more

Project portfolio management, as Kousholt (2007, p. 34) says, will always narrow down to management of individual projects. This scholar says that projects are identified and classified into various categories mostly during the initial stages of a project. There is a raised concern to come up with a better project portfolio management approach when managing individual projects in order to march with the competitive market environment.

The management must realize that for a single project to succeed, the portfolio of projects must clearly reflect the overall objectives of the firm, and must be properly managed. Several arguments have come up showing that portfolio managed has been noted to have very positive effect on a single project’s success. According to Murch (2004, p. 112), success of a single project may be pegged on how the top management manages the project portfolio. In the portfolio of projects, there are different projects that have different weights. The top management should know how to award both material and moral support to each project in the portfolio.

This will demand that this management have a clear understanding of all the projects in the portfolio. When there is a general lack of understanding of the project portfolio, it means that the relevant authorities will have limited understanding of each individual project. This may be a very delicate situation because individual projects are heavily affected by the project portfolio management. As such, failure to manage the portfolio of projects would mean that individual project may not succeed because it was not well taken care of initially when in the portfolio of other projects. It is therefore, of interest to understand the influence of project portfolio management on success of an individual project.

This paper aims at identifying the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects. My dissertation aims at identifying the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects with focus on Emirates Islamic Bank.

Problem Statement

The world is increasingly getting competitive as many competitors many players enter different industries with products that are already in existence. There is an increased pressure of firms to perform well in order to manage this competition. This entails coming up with projects that are able to put the firm at a favourable position in the market. A firm will always come up with various projects, each aimed at achieving different objectives. It is the responsibility of the top management of the firm, and the entire fraternity of the firm to ensure that individual projects are successful. For an individual project to be successful there is need to ensure that there is a successful management of the portfolio of projects. This is because of the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects. It is therefore interesting to determine the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects.

Research Questions and Research Hypotheses

According to Kanda (2011, p. 93), conducting research requires well developed questions to help restrict the researcher in the process of data collection. It helps in avoiding cases where a researcher would get involved in collecting data that is unnecessary to the research. Conducting research requires research questions that would help the researcher dig dip into the available sources to get the desired information. In this research the following was the guiding research question that guided the researcher in this research.

What is the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects?

15% OFF Get your very first custom-written academic paper with 15% off Get discount

The above research question demonstrates that this research will be focused on uncovering the how project portfolio management impacts on the success of an individual project. The research will try to explain how management of a portfolio of projects can impact on the performance of individual project. To achieve this, the researcher will use both primary and secondary sources of information.

According to Kanda (2011, p. 45), research hypothesis is always a guiding light in a piece of research. They are the prepositions of the researcher, and as Kousholt (2007, p. 78) says, a researcher will be striving to confirm them in order to validate a piece of research. In this research, the researcher developed research hypothesis that would help guide this research. The following are the research hypothesis for this research.

H1o. Project portfolio management has no direct effect on the performance of individual projects within a firm.

This is the first null hypothesis is this research. It is developed from the topic to help determine if there is a direct relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual project. This is the main hypothesis in this research whose validating would confirm that there is need to conduct further research in order to determine the relationship that exists between individual project performance and project portfolio management. The researcher wishes to reject the above null hypothesis. In rejecting this null hypothesis, the researcher will be confirming the alternative hypothesis stated below.

H1a. Project portfolio management has direct effect on the performance of individual projects within a firm.

This is the alternative hypothesis whose confirmation would mean that there is need for further research in this field.

The following research hypothesis was also used in this research.

Get your customised and 100% plagiarism-free paper on any subject done for only $16.00 $11/page Let us help you

H2o. Successful project portfolio management would not result into success in the performance of individual projects.

This hypothesis was developed to support the first hypothesis of this research. This hypothesis was meant to confirm the fact that project portfolio management has a very close connection with the performance of individual projects. This hypothesis was meant to demonstrate that there is a directly proportional relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual project within the firm. The above is the null hypothesis that this researcher wishes to reject using the primary data analysis. This is because when the above null hypothesis is confirmed, it will be supporting the first null hypothesis. This may put to question, the relevance of this research. The researcher, therefore, wishes to confirm the following alternative hypothesis.

H2o. Successful project portfolio management would result into success in the performance of individual projects.

This alternative hypothesis will be in line with the first alternative hypothesis of this research. Below is the third hypothesis that was developed for this research.

H3o. The ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully does not depend on successful management of the project’s portfolio by the top management.

This hypothesis is also in line with the first hypothesis of this research. In this hypothesis, the researcher wishes to demonstrate two factors. The first factor that this hypothesis helps in demonstrating is that top management unit of a firm have a direct influence on the management of the portfolio of projects. It is the top management which will approve projects after screening process. This top management will then, officiate the projects once they pass the test. This hypothesis then seeks to demonstrate that the actions of the top management will influence the performance of an individual process. In this regard, the hypothesis seeks to demonstrate that when the top management did an excellent job of screening the projects and assigning each project enough resources, then chances that such project will have a high performance will be equally high. The researcher is therefore interested in confirming the following alternative hypothesis.

H3a. The ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully depends on successful management of the project’s portfolio by the top management.

The last hypothesis for this research was also meant to bring another aspect of how project portfolio management is related to the performance of individual project. According to Murch (2004, p. 53), success of a project will always be determined by, among other factors, the level of finance that is invested in the project. The financial aspect of a project is always important in influencing the performance of a project. The amount of money that is assigned to individual project is always determined at the portfolio management stage. It is at this stage that every single project will be assigned a specific amount of money for budgetary purposes. The following hypothesis helps bring in this aspect in a more comprehensive manner.

H4o. The ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals does not depend on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management.

The researcher wishes to reject the above hypothesis and accept its alternative hypothesis below.

H4o. The ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals depends on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management.

When the researcher successfully responds to the above hypothesis by rejecting all the null hypothesis using the primary data analysis in chapter four, it will be possible to make a concrete conclusion on the influence of project portfolio management on the individual projects’ performance.

Justification of the Research

Project management has received a lot of attention in the recent past. As was stated above, there is increased pressure among firms in the current market to ensure that they succeed in coming up with projects that are economically viable. Every project comes with cost to a firm. A firm will need to commit time, finance, and labour in order to support a project (Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar 2010, p. 58). It is therefore imperative that every single project comes out as a success in order to help the firm achieve its overall objectives. At every given point, a firm will find itself with a portfolio of projects.

The management of the portfolio of projects will determine how each individual project will perform. Project portfolio management, therefore, has a direct influence on the performance of individual projects, and it is the individual projects that would result into an overall success of a firm. For this matter, this research is important because it will give a clear guideline on project portfolio management, having in mind the fact that it has a direct influence on the performance of individual projects.

Objectives of the Research

Panneerselvam and Senthilkumar (2010, p. 89) define objectives as the subsidiaries to aim. This scholar holds that objectives are the specific steps to be taken when answering the question. In a research process, it is important to clearly define research objectives because it helps others understand the aim of the project. It helps state the level beyond which the research may not hold. In this research, the researcher developed research objectives to help define the aims of this research. This proposed research paper will address the following objectives.

  1. To bring a clear understanding on how project portfolio management affects individual project.
  2. To create an understanding on factors involved in project portfolio management.
  3. To establish the relationship between individual project performance and project portfolio management.

The Scope of the Research

In every research, Daft (2009, p. 73) says that it is important to state the scope of the project and some of the key assumption. When starting a project, various stakeholders will be having expectations upon which they will base their judgment of the project. It is important to guide this expectation through a clearly defined scope. The scope will make them know that the project will achieve, and what is beyond the project. This makes it easy to determine success of the project. The scope of this research is limited to United Arab Emirates. The primary data which will form the backbone of the data analysis section is from this country. Consumption of this report in a country with different social, economic and political setting from that of United Arab Emirates should be done with a lot of caution.

Literature Review

Project management has gained a lot of attention and as Kanda (2011, p. 112) says, this can be attributed to the need to have functional structures within firms that can manage market competition. According to Amrosini, Johnson and Scholes (1998, p. 73), project portfolio management refers to a process of centralizing management system of projects with the aim of maximizing financial gains while taking into consideration, the existence of various constraints and the interest of various stakeholders within the firm (Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar 2010, p. 58).

The world has increasingly become competitive, and firms are struggling to come up with various strategies that would enable them to become competitive in the world market and enable them to maximize financial benefits. A firm will come up with a project with an aim of strengthening its position in a given market. Every project has its own constrains that the project managers must consider. As Kanda (2011, p. 89) states, project constrains must always be factored in when determining the appropriateness of a project. Project portfolio refers to an assortment of projects that are to be managed in a collective manner in a way that will achieve organizational objectives.

According to Daft (2009, p. 112), it is important to note that the process of project portfolio management is a complex process that requires attention of all the stakeholders within the firm (Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar 2010, p. 71). The project managers and project members have the responsibility to ensure success of the project as this will highly determine the general performance of the entire firm within a given market.

This is so because, the interests of members vary, and their interests should be wisely considered in defining the viability of any proposed project. According to Coulter (2009, p. 113), for a portfolio management to be effective, there is need to apply unique skills, knowledge and several other collections of tools together with techniques. A combination of all these will enable the project managers and members to effectively manage allocate various resources in the projects and boost the management at different levels of production in the firm and hence a high financial return.

As Coveney and Highfield (1995, p. 28) say, project portfolio management always have a direct effect on success of individual projects. These scholars observe that a firm will always have a portfolio of projects, each with a specific aim to achieve within the firm. When there is an understanding of each individual project within the portfolio in terms of its value to the firm, the expected duration, the financial and labor requirements among others, then management unit will know how to allocate its resources. It is proper allocation of resources that will be a key ingredient in the success of a project.

It would therefore mean that mismanagement of the portfolio of projects will have a general negative impact on the individual projects. According to Daft (2009, p. 92), project portfolio management would always mean that the there will be a clear way on how the top management will influence the performance of each individual project. The top management should clearly state what is expected of each project. This way, it should be clear to project manager for individual projects and the project members to have a clear understanding of what the project should achieve. They will know what is expected of them, and this way, they will act in a way that will help achieve the expected objectives.

Managing Single Projects

Managing of projects requires a great deal of understanding the project itself. According to Coulter (2009, p. 78), understanding of a project entails a clear understanding of the value of the project and all its requirements in terms of time, finance, labor and other material requirements. Having a portfolio of projects would mean that the project portfolio manager will have to assign every single project to a group of individuals, headed by project manager.

According to Daft (2009, p. 191), when handling a single project, the project manager and project members must understand the objective of the project, and how it relates to the strategic objectives of the organization. The ultimate aim will always be to ensure that the project helps in achieving the long term goals of the organization. In managing single projects, the first issue that should be considered is the project’s goals and the constraints that it faces. The goals should be defined in a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) approach (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 74).

Having defined the project, it would be necessary to determine the constraints that the project would face in the implementation process. In most of the cases, time and finance are the leading constrains in a project. It is important however, to go beyond these two obvious constrains (Kanda 2011, p. 134). There must be specific constrains that are unique to the project. In managing such a project, the project manager will be responsible for explaining to the project members all the project deliverables, and how each member will play part in ensuring an overall success in the project.

According to Daft (2009, p. 92), managing a single project only means that the firm will be narrowing down to specific projects out of the available portfolio. Every single project will be aiming at achieving the long term goals of the organization. The project manager will coordinate his or her team in a way that will ensure that each member understands his or her role in the organization. As David (2008, p. 67) notes, when managing a project, it is important to involve various stakeholders, especially the customers. This scholar holds that in the current world, it is imperative to engage consumers in project management in order to help ensure that they own the final product.

When involved, they will feel that the product was part was as a result of their opinion, and for that matter, they will feel comfortable owning the entire project. This is part of ensuring that there is a long-term return to the firm, especially if the firm retains such consumers (Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar 2010, p. 121). It will be important to understand criteria for project success because it has direct relation with customers’ satisfaction. The criteria are discussed further in chapter four of this dissertation. It is through this that there will be a general success in managing a single project.

Portfolio Management Effectiveness

It is very vital to ensure that portfolio management is effective given the fact that it has great influence on individual project’s success. Success and effectiveness of a portfolio is derived from comparing the amount of total inputs allocated in the projects and the total outputs derived from the same while considering the satisfaction of consumers (Kanda 2011, p. 87). The inputs and output are valued in terms of money and a difference between the two is obtained. Many scholars argue that for a firm to measure the success and effectiveness of a portfolio several factors should be considered.

According to Coulter (2009, p. 56),a proper indicator of a successful and effective portfolio management apart from considering the financial returns, is by checking out the achievement of the project’s aims and objectives and the fulfillment of the ultimate mission of the project. This also puts into consideration the portfolio fulfillment of all the stakeholders’ interests and expectations. Fulfilling the stakeholder’s expectations is vital for any successful and effective portfolio management, although different stakeholders will be having different interests in the projects.

Project Portfolio Management Model

According to Daft (2009, p. 67), success of a single project will always be as a result of how projects portfolio is managed. The scholar holds that project portfolio management has a massive influence on the performance of an individual project. It is important to understand the model of project portfolio management in order to be able to determine individuals who are responsible at different stages of project management. The diagram below is a model for project portfolio management.

Project Portfolio Management Model

As the above model shows, the chief executive of the firm is always at the top in project portfolio management. He or she has a direct responsibility of ensuring success through the instructions issued from the office with regard to each individual project (Daft 2009, p. 118). Project portfolio management officer will be in charge of all the projects, and will have the responsibility of ensuring that each individual project is assigned to individuals with the best capacity to deliver. This officer will have a direct responsibility of directing project managers on how every project should be approached, how to use the allocated resources, and the ultimate goal that the project should achieve.

Coulter (2009, p. 78) observes that this officer will also be the immediate supervisor of individual projects as a way of ensuring that the portfolio of projects is performing within the expectation. This officer will know what each project in the portfolio need in order to achieve its expectations, and therefore, should be able to manage these expectations well (Cooper 2009, p. 78). The project managers will be responsible for direct management of individual projects.

The project managers are responsible to the project portfolio management officer. The project managers will have the responsibility of coordinating all the members of the project in a way that will make them deliver to the project (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 78). The manager will be responsible for the management of all the resources assigned to the project, including the employees. Under the project managers are the project members who will be responsible for specific duties within the organization.

Building a Good Strategy Execution, People and Capability Structure

According to Kanda (2011, p. 25), strategy in project management can only be beneficial if it is implemented properly. The execution of the strategy is done by people. Some of the pertinent issues that must be determined in the implementation process include determination of what is to be done, who to do which task, and how the entire team would work as a unit in the process of achieving its goals (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 115).

In its mission statement, a firm should be very clear on what is to be done. In this research, the focus was on Emirates Islamic Bank in Dubai. This firm has a clearly spelt mission statement that defines most of its operational activities. It says that the firm is determined to customer satisfaction by availing products that meets and exceeds customer expectations (Coulter 2009, p. 38). On who should be responsible for the implementation of various policies, the firm has its workforce specialized in various duties, ensuring that none of the units overlaps its duties to the other’s and no given task remains unallocated in every given project.

This has ensured that each individual project runs in a very smooth manner. In its mission to ensure that all its employees work as a team, the firm has ensured that all the employees master the vision of the firm so that in their respective tasks, they know where the firm aims to be at in a near future (Daft 2009, p. 112). They will appreciate the fact that they are working as a team towards the same direction, with each member of the team having a specific role to play.

Managing Internal Operations for Good Strategy Execution

Internal operations of a project should be managed if a firm expects to have a good strategy execution. One aspect of managing internal operations is through integration of managers. According to Coulter (2009, p. 57), the chief executive should be able to create a pool of flexible managers who not only have deep knowledge of their respective individual projects, but also the ability to work with cross-functional teams, are willing to work independently, and have sufficient knowledge on cultural and emotional diversity within the environment. Such a team will enable the firm to attract talented employees for they know that the company will take care of them. Another important issue is the staffing strategy (Daft 2009, p. 114).

This industry is very competitive. As such, it requires employees who are dynamic, creative and very knowledgeable in their respective postings (Daft 2009, p. 57). In the current competitive world, this firm can only afford to hire the best if it hopes to beat its rivals who are giving it stiff competition in this industry. The employees should also be made to appreciate corporate culture as one of the most important qualities of success in the corporate world. This way, a firm will always have an easier task when assigning various individuals to manage a given project (Coulter 2009, p. 59). The pool of talented employees will be in a position to achieve the desired result in each project. These employees will be able to execute their duties with a lot of experience and knowledge of every single action they undertake.

Managing Good Corporate Culture and Leadership for Excellent Strategy Execution

Corporate culture is very important in project portfolio management because it helps in shaping the organizational behavior (Kanda 2011, p. 68). Excellent strategy execution in project management will depend on good corporate culture and leadership within the firm.

This is especially so when the firm has a global market coverage. It encounters different corporate cultures in different countries where it operates. In order to ensure harmony in its implementations of the projects, it should employ assimilation of different cultures into its system. Some of the cultures should also be integrated into its system just to ensure that it has a rich cultural background that can be implemented by every member of the organization. It should be the culture of this firm that cultural integration starts with the management (Coulter 2009, p. 59).

It is the management that should develop a deep understanding of each culture to be integrated into the system so that they are able to lead other employees in understanding and implementing it. This is very beneficial in project portfolio management because there might be instances where different projects within the portfolio of projects may need to be implemented in different environments. The project portfolio management officer should realize the fact that the best way to achieve the best result is to treat individual project as unique from others. Each project in the portfolio of projects should be defined on the basis of the environment in which it is to be implemented, the expected results, and the requirements.

A good corporate culture will ensure that the firm is accommodative of various individuals with varying characteristics. Organizational behavior should be defined by the type of employees within the firm, and the general vision of the firm (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 117). Projects portfolio management officer have the responsibility of ensuring that project portfolio is in line with the corporate culture of the firm.

When assigning individual projects to specific group of employees, it is imperative to take into consideration the behavioral factors of the employees. According to Daft (2009, p. 18), there will always be improved performance when employees are assigned tasks that are in line with their behavioral patterns. For instance, individuals who like travelling will always feel honored when assigned a duty that would make them move from their working stations to various places. This will ensure that the process of project implementation will appear to employees as a fun-making process.

They will have the passion to achieve the best of the results because they will be acting with a lot of enthusiasm. Kanda (2011, p. 56) however, warns that the corporate culture should neither permit laziness among the employees nor excess freedom that will make them feel equals to the managers. It should however, allow them the freedom that will make them feel that they are part of the firm, and that their role in the firm is not that of a servant, but a partner. This way, the employees will work with a clear mind that they are developing a firm, to which they belong, not that to which they are slaves.

Best Practice in Project Portfolio Management

Different organizations develop projects for different purposes. According to Nagarajan (2005, p. 71), many organizations around the world are embracing best practice in project portfolio management in order to get the best value. For a firm to get the best value out of this there should be a clear understanding of the value itself. Panneerselvam and Senthilkumar (2010, p. 45) says that for this to be possible, the top management must have clear objectives of the portfolio of the projects. It is always important to have an understanding of what is to be achieved before one sets forth to undertake every given project. The table below shows different positions of project management, and how various individuals are related in the entire process.

Business Unit/Sponsor Project Manager Project Portfolio Manager Executive Team
Any organizational component that requests or consumes a portion of the budget for the purpose of conducting projects. Individual with overall responsibility for successful planning and execution of a project. Manager with responsibility for the project portfolio. Usually supported by a team. Team may be composed of directors of the business areas. Select corporate officers who guide and provide inputs to the PPM process.
Each business unit Identifies projects, assists project managers in constructing business cases for justifying projects, and champions its projects and project portfolio. The business unit is responsible for providing quality assurance for data related to its projects. Project managers work closely with business units/sponsors to provide good data for the portfolio management process. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that approved projects perform according to plan. The project portfolio manager establishes the rules, and procedures for making portfolio decisions. The portfolio manager analyses projects and portfolios proposed by business units and recommend the overall project portfolio. The executive team provides policy inputs for the process, including weights for trading off different types of project benefits. The team sets targets, approves the budget and project portfolios, and ensures that portfolio decisions are enforced.

It is clear from the above table, that for an individual project to succeed, there needs to be a concerted effort from different stakeholders, and this starts from the top management. For a long time, firms have suffered from failed projects because of lack of understanding of the projects at the portfolio level (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 64). This scholar says that some of the project portfolio managers have suffered due to implementations of wrong projects or the right project but at a wrong time.

When a project is implemented at a wrong time, it becomes difficult to achieve a result that can be appreciated by the stakeholders of the firm. Coulter (2009, p. 28) says that a firm will always have a number of projects that are meant to be achieved at different times. It is important to understand individual project before enrolling them for implementation. The project portfolio manager should understand what the firms needs more urgently before approving individual projects for full implementation. This way, it will ensure that the project that is implemented will meet the firm’s urgent needs.

This means that when project portfolio manager approves a project whose fruits are not needed urgently, then that particular project may not be considered a success even if it achieves the set objectives (Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar 2010, p. 58). In some cases, a project would be started, only to be stop along the way by executive officers of the firm because there are other urgent projects that should come first but were never given priority by the project portfolio manager. As such, such a project will be a total failure because there was lack of adequate consideration by the project portfolio manager.

There are some projects that may take longer periods to accomplish. According to Coveney and Highfield (1995, p. 38), this may take a period of two to five years. When managing project portfolio, the management should clearly classify the projects based on the time within which they should be accomplished. There are some projects which are very sensitive, and when care is not taken properly, the project may be accomplished only to realize that it is obsolete.

The world is rapidly changing due to the changes brought about by technology (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 64). The project portfolio manager should take a lot of care when dealing with long term projects. It is important that this management tries to limit the timeline of the project. When analyzing a portfolio of projects, it would be prudent that the top management proposes a reduction of time to all the projects when it is possible.

This should be part of screening of the projects. The long-term projects in the project portfolio should be those projects that are meant to help the firm achieve long term project. These should be projects envisaged on the strategic objectives of the firm. Their fulfilment will therefore result in achieving the long term objectives of the firm (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 164). All other long terms projects that are not in line with the vision of the firm should be restricted or completely overhauled in order to eliminate consequences that may arise due to implementation of such a project.

Factors that May Hinder Success of Individual Project in Projects Portfolio

According to Daft (2009, p. 56), a number of projects within an organization would always fail to achieve its objectives because of a number of factors. The first factors that this scholar identifies are the misalignment between the firm’s objectives and the objectives of the project. It is important to ensure that objectives of a project are aligned to the objectives of the firm. This will help eliminate cases where success of a project may have negative consequences to the firm. David (2008, p. 67) says that most projects start with their vision aligned to the vision of the firm, but slowly drift away as the project progresses. It is the responsibility of the project portfolio manager to make regular checks on individual projects to eliminate such incidences.

Late project implementation is another reason that hinders success of a project. When a project is started at a date that is behind the scheduled date, it becomes very difficult for the project to achieve its objectives within the specified time (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 93). The project manager would try to rush the project in an effort to beat the deadline of the project. The consequence of such actions includes incomplete performance of activities within the project, poor performance or irrational actions taken because of lack of enough time to think through.

Overlapping and redundant projects is another common reason for lack of success of individual projects. According to Perry (2011), each individual project is supposed to achieve specific objectives within the organization. It is the role of project portfolio manager to ensure that each project does not overlap into activities of another project. This is to eliminate redundancy. The projects should be supplementing each other, other than overlapping into each other. This helps in elimination of conflict of interest between individual projects.

Resource conflict is another reason that may deny a project the much needed success. According to Binder (2007), it is always difficult for a firm to have enough resources at its disposal. Employees with expertise in various fields are hard to come by. Firms are forced to use the little resources to manage various resources simultaneously. This would result in a situation where an individual employee would be assigned to more than one project at a time. Such an employee would need to give each of the projects full attention in order to realize the desired results. This would affect the projects negatively because of the divided attention.

According to Letavec (2006, p. 117), unrealized business value is another reason why some projects fail to achieve their intended goals. For a project to succeed, the project portfolio manager and the top management should have an understanding of its value to the business. It is this value that should be communicated to the employees who will be assigned the project. The project manager should understand this value and communicate in to all the assigned members of the project.

Projects Portfolio Evaluation and Optimization

According to Coulter (2009, p. 118), every project within an organization is started for a specific purpose within the firm. This scholar holds that success of a firm will always depend on the success of an individual project within the portfolio. Given that there will always be challenges that every project may face, Coveney and Highfield (1995, p. 67) advise that there should be measures to counter these challenges. The diagram below demonstrates an optimization process.

Bioscience Valuation

Bioscience Valuation

As shown in the above diagram (known as the bioscience valuation), the optimization process has four stages, from stage A to D. The system is designed to maximize value by optimizing resource and allocation of capacity, while balancing the risks to ensure that there is a rich development of the pipeline in an innovative manner (Letavec 2006, p. 67).

At the first stage is the project analysis stage. In this stage, the project will be analyzed for its productivity, the short term and long term goals, the probability of realizing the expected goals optimally, and the risks that it poses to the firm, or those that it may encounter during its implementation process. At the second stage will be the analysis of the project within the portfolio. In this case, the entire portfolio will be analyzed for its value and productivity, and its risk structure (Coulter 2009, p. 45).

This evaluation is important in determining the capacity of the portfolio within the firm. The individual projects will then be ranked within the portfolio based on their value to the firm and productivity. When implementing the projects, the project portfolio management officer will compare the costs of the available projects against the available finance in order to determine which projects can be postponed and which needs immediate implementation.

The selection will be based on the urgency with which the project is needed within the firm, and the overall value that it shall generate to the firm (Binder 2007, p. 67). The third stage will involve budgeting for the individual projects that have been approved for implementation and determination of their short and long term goals. This is referred to as feasibility analysis. The last stage is the optimization. This involves determining value per investment. The individual project must deliver a value that is proportionate the investment put in it.

Methodology

This chapter focuses on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, its analysis, and presentation procedures. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals. The methods used to conduct research in this project compared closely with the methods proposed in the project proposal (Anderson 2004, p. 36). This was so because the project proposal had been proven workable. In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff (Hakim 2000, p. 43).

In this study, respondents were briefed in advance. This was necessary to ensure that respondents were prepared psychologically for the task ahead. This would also help in ensuring that response was given in time to allow timely analysis. The officials of Emirates Islamic Bank were given relevant notice by the researcher. The study population was also amicably informed in order to get prepared for the study.

Briefing was important because it could enhance reliability of the study. It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them (Badenhorst 2007, p. 54). The findings were also made public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study. Furthermore, the researcher observed researcher-researched ethics by keeping away from criticism. This chapter also focuses on the literature review as one of the methods used in collection of secondary sources of information. It gives the reason why literature review was used as a method to collect data.

The chapter gives an overview of the purpose of collecting and analyzing data and the basic questions used to gather the desired responses. Alternative methods of data collection are very important in research for they avail to the researcher a number of ways through which data can be collected. The chapter brings back the research hypotheses. This is important because it is at this stage that the researcher goes into the field to gather information.

It is therefore, necessary that the research hypotheses are brought to focus because they would be the guiding light in the process of gathering data (Baily 1996, p. 77). The researcher would be trying to confirm the hypotheses. In order to eliminate criticism, this chapter clearly states the scope of the study. There are limits beyond which this research may not hold because of the method used in data collection and analysis. It is therefore important that limitations are clearly stated to make it clear to readers of this material how far this research reveals what it purports to.

Since the main method of data collection was primary source, the questionnaire was the main instrument used to collect data.

This chapter brings out the questionnaire format, reasons for choosing this format, its advantages and disadvantages. In a research process, sampling is very important because certain population can be too big to facilitate a study of the whole population (Bell 2001, p. 81). This chapter discusses sampling theories, importance of research design, methods of sampling-giving their advantages and disadvantages, and the determination of the sample size. Also discussed in this chapter is the data analysis technique. In so doing, the researcher hopes to bring to focus the channel through which data would be collected.

This is not only meant to bring clarity to this research but also help young researchers who will be interested in furthering research in this field to know the steps necessary to reach the desired results in a given research (Bell 2005, p. 67). The researcher has ensured that the methodology is not only important to the professionals in the financial sector, but also to other related sectors as far as project portfolio management is concerned.

Literature review techniques

Research has been with us for a very long period. Life is full of phenomena that need more investigation to be made clearer. On broader terms, there is a pure science and social science research. Pure science deals with specimen in a controlled environment, especially in a laboratory. On the contrary, social science is based on a human as a social being. Unlike the specimen used in pure sciences that can be manipulated by putting some factors constant, it is practically impossible to put humans under controlled conditions (Struwig 2001, p. 63).

The researcher must therefore devise methods that would enable him or her gather the desired data in society as it is, without making any of the factors remaining constant. According to Struwig (2001, p. 71), if assumptions are made, which is always the case, a remedy must be put which will counter the assumption, or there should be an explanation on how the scenario will be if the assumption was not made and what could be the effects if assumptions are made.

Because of its importance, many scholars have continuously done research on various fields in order to find an explanation or a solution to a social problem in the society. For this matter therefore, many researchers always find themselves sandwiched in between a vast volume of previous research that are closely related to what he or she has developed interest to research on. As Wickham (1999, p. 87) puts it, it is unethical for a researcher to reproduce what another researcher generated.

The essence of a research is to come up with a finding that other researchers have not established or develop the findings of other researchers (Kalmbach & Carr 2010, p. 56). It is only through this that a research would have meaning to any field of study. This would demand that a researcher takes time to review what other researchers have done in a particular field that is related to what he or she is about to conduct a study on.

This research is based on the project portfolio management, and managing single project within a portfolio, with focus on Emirates Islamic Bank at Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Project management has raised many questions due to its sensitivity. This has seen many scholars gain interest in conducting research that would respond to various questions in this field. Emirates Islamic Bank, being one of the leading financial institutions in this region, has been the center of study to many scholars. The researcher therefore had many secondary sources from which to base the research. This part was important because it acted as a guideline for the entire research. The researcher did not kick-start the research from scratch. It was therefore important to appreciate what others had noted in this field and establish the research based on it.

Data required

Purpose of collecting and analyzing data

From the literature review, the researcher gathered considerable amount of information about this field. Many of the reports that exist in this field are very resourceful as individuals of high integrity did them. The manner in which they were done also passes as good enough to be used in various aspects of project management. However, this is a different research. It must be in a position to develop its own arguments based on data collected from primary sources (Oppenheim 1992, p. 56). This does not rule out the importance of secondary sources of data.

To ensure originality in any research, there is need to use primary data. The purpose of collecting data was to help facilitate analysis that would lead to giving answers that are desired in this research (Pointer 1991, p. 23). The objective of this research was to respond to some of the questions that other scholars had not responded to through the existing literature. To be in a position to respond to these questions, there would be need to collect data. After successful collection of data, analysis would be very important. When taken from the field, data is considered raw and therefore cannot be of much help to the target audience. For this reason, it is important to analyze data to produce the desired result that would be useful to various individuals.

Role of literature review in data collection requirements

Literature review plays a vital role in data collection process. As noted above, research has been going on for some time now. Every field of study has some relevant previous bodies of literature that other researchers had conducted before. This information is very important to a researcher. As Wisker (2008, p. 46) observes, in the process of gathering data, the first source that any researcher should not assume is the secondary sources of information. It is important to note that the studies were done after careful collection and analysis of relevant data. When taking literature review as part of the sources of data, it is important to note that they are secondary sources. Unlike the data that would be collected from the fields which is raw, literature provides data that is already processed.

According to Wickham (1999, p. 75), literature review plays an important role in determining how data collection would be done. Because the bodies of literature provide information that is already synthesized, and with clear steps that were taken to reach the results, the researcher may consider taking an approach used by one of the researchers that may lead to generation of required answers.

Alternatively, the researcher may consider integrating a number of methods employed by different previous researchers to come up with his or her own technique that incorporates all the desirable concepts used by the available literature. According to Kothari (2004, p. 32), a good research project should not purport to be basing its arguments from scratch. It is important that a researcher engage closely with the works of previous researchers from an early stage of data collection.

With this, the researcher would be informing the consumers of this document that there was an effort from the earliest stage of the dissertation that closely compares the works of other researchers, and how they relate to the current research. This would not only enhance the validity of the report, but also demonstrate that the research seeks to develop the works of previous researches (Pointer 1991, p. 42).

Quantitative research method

Quantitative research is a kind of study that utilizes figures to arrive at certain conclusions (Hakim 2000, p. 73). In this regard, the research will take the form of a survey, whereby the researcher identifies sample respondents and posts questionnaires to them. In this research, there was need to compare the relationship between variables in order to establish cause and effect. The researcher was interested in knowing how different factors (independent variables) had effect on the dependent variables (Amrosini, Johnson & Scholes 1998, p. 112). This demanded for a method that would be objective and able statistically to generalize the findings. Quantitative method was found to be the most appropriate method to use in this research.

Quantitative research involves systematic empirical study of a phenomenon by use of statistical tools. Its main objective is always to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization (Anderson 2009, p. 87) Therefore, quantitative method would help in this research. It would enable the researcher test the hypotheses put forth for validity and allow the use of a sample as a representation of the entire population. It would help the researcher to use the data to determine the influence of project portfolio management on the performance of individual projects within a firm. The quantitative method would also help in knowing if there is any relationship between individual projects within the firm.

Although qualitative methods was traditionally used in social science and would be appropriate in this research, it is not able to give empirical support for research hypothesis. Qualitative methods explain why a given pattern of events has taken place the way they have (Vogt 2007, p. 44). On the other hand, quantitative methods explains what and when of a phenomena.

Ethnographic research and phenomenology as approaches of qualitative research would have been appropriate. Ethnography would help in investigation of culture of the Emirati society, and within Emirates Islamic Bank in specific (Denzin & Lincoln 2011). Phenomenology would have helped investigate realities of the bank; and how it affected its operation. However, because the process may not empirically support the hypotheses put forward to help guide the research, it was not used in this research. Due to these reasons qualitative method was not employed in the research and the researcher opted for quantitative research.

Data generation

The research was done on a sample of the entire population. From this sample, the researcher generated data by formulating questions that would lead to the desired answers. To help focus this research, hypotheses were developed in order to create a vision of the research (Rudestam 2007, p. 112). Questions were therefore designed to respond to them. The questions were meant to generate answers that would either confirm or reject the hypotheses. The questionnaire was designed to reflect on this requirement. A sample questionnaire used to generate this data is shown in the appendix section (Appendix I).

Scope of Data Collection

Primary data for this research was collected from the employees of Emirates Islamic Bank. This data was collected with the help of a questionnaire. The scope of data collection was limited to the employees of this firm.

This was because of the time that was available for the research (Proulx 2011, p. 29). Because most of the employees were Emirati nationals, they clearly understood the social structure of the Emirati society and therefore were in a position to respond appropriately to questions regarding the society of the United Arab Emirates. They also understood how this affected the performance of Emirates Islamic Bank. The level of accuracy needed in this research would be achieved within this scope. Secondary data was gathered from existing literature about the project management within this country, and the activities of Emirates Islamic Bank as our specific field of study.

Format for the questionnaire

Questionnaire design

There were two key methods used to gather information in this dissertation. The first one was through a questionnaire, which was physically delivered to the staff of Emirates Islamic Bank at its branches in Dubai (Mouton 1990, p. 116). The questionnaire sought to capture various attitudes of staff members and customers of Emirates Islamic Bank regarding their opinions on the influence of project portfolio management on the performance of individual projects. The second source of information used for the research was literature on various aspects of project portfolio management in general, and the operational activities that takes place within Emirates Islamic Bank in relation to project management. The focus of the literature review was to find information on the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects and the current state of research in relation to the issue. The questionnaire had four parts.

The first part sought to capture the background information of respondents. The second part dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space. The third part dealt with academic credentials and work experience of the respondents. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to issues, based on age and academic credentials. The fourth part delved into the specific issues relating to influence of project portfolio management on individual projects with focus on Emirates Islamic Bank as an institution under our investigation, starting from the understanding of the concept used in project portfolio management and its possible effects it would have on the employees and customers.

The questionnaire also employed a mix of open and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open ended questions were used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks and comprehension of the subject (Murray 2006, p. 14). This would allow a researcher to understand the position of respondents as regards to feelings.

Open ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if given an opportunity to respond freely. Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other researchers. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis. On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study (Taylor 2005, p. 96).

Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is more specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions. This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his or her own words (Rugg 2007b, p. 52). Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.

The questionnaire was sent to respondents using drop and pick method. The researcher arrived at this decision after considering time and resources. The method is time consuming, but very effective. Furthermore, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately (Andrzej, & Buchaman 2007, p. 76).

Moreover, the method is not affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big advantage of the technique is that there is interaction between the researcher and the researched. This means that respondent’s reactions are easily captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding the feelings of respondents. The literature collected provided information regarding various theories related to project management, which is spread across the last century (Poole 2004, p. 28).

The body of literature availed a number of theories dealing with sampling and sample designs in the business world and performance issues in the context of human resource development in the finance industry. Emirates Islamic Bank fits well within this parameter. Finally, the literature provided information on the state of research on the field. Various researchers have conducted studies on various elements of project portfolio management and its effects on individual projects (Kumar 2004, p. 92). This gave the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.

The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique to Emirates Islamic Bank. This is because there was no accessible literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter of Emirates Islamic Bank, Dubai branches. The targeted staff responded to the questionnaires, which were physically delivered to them. The availability of staff influenced the choice of this method because Emirates Islamic Bank operates throughout the day and therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place. Physical delivery of the questionnaire increased the accuracy of data collected as there was interactivity (Leedy 2010, p. 64). After collection, the data went through analysis, culminating the observations and conclusions discussed in chapter four and five respectively.

Sampling

Sampling theory

In a research study there are always two major constrains that a researcher would meet in the process of gathering data. Time and financial constraints are factors that every researcher must know how to overcome, especially if the research is covering a large region, say a country or a province. It is always practically impossible to conduct a research that gathers data from all the individuals concerned due to the above two constraints (Rubin 2005, p. 63).

It can take unnecessarily long time to gather such information because the respondents may take time in answering the questions posed to them. Pointer (1991, p. 61) asserts that trying to gather data from every object of study is very dangerous in the current dynamic world for it would demand a lot of time to gather and analyze this data. By the time the results of the study are released, so many changes would have taken place, rendering the report outdated. There would be need for further research as soon as such a report is published.

For this reason, there is always need to identify a small study group that would act as a representative of the entire population. The process of identifying this small representative population is what is referred to as sampling. Pimple (2008, p. 98), defines sampling as the process of picking a subset from an entire set of observation. Because of its importance, theories have been developed to bring more understanding to the art of sampling.

One such theory is Pierre Gy’s Theory of sampling. Stewart (1990, p. 89) says that this theory has been considered one of the best theories of sampling because it brings to focus all facets of sampling. It is more comprehensive and gives more precision. This theory holds that for a research to have precision and validity required, it should select a sample of the population with characteristics that represents the entire population. With this, the researcher will be in a position to make a generalization of the entire population from the results of the sample.

Importance of sampling theory to research design

Sampling theories are important. Both pure science and social science research depend on sampling. It may not be possible to conduct research on the entire population. The cost involved in terms of time and materials is prohibitive (Rubin 2005, p. 53). This would therefore demand that a researcher develops an appropriate sample that would effectively be a representative of the entire population. Sampling theories have made several justifications for sampling (Rugg 2007a, p. 56).

These theories have expressed the importance of sampling in coming up with answers to questions about various phenomena in the society. In research design, it is worth noting that there are some assumptions that are always made when using samples as a representative of the entire population. Sampling theories have tried to explain why such assumptions are necessary and how they affect the validity of the entire report when used (Soles 2010, p. 36).

Sampling method used for this survey

There are some factors that should be put into consideration when choosing the right method of sampling in any given research project. In this research, precision was needed. The best method that would lead to the desired results was stratified sampling (Calabrese 2006 p. 83). As stated above, this method is simple to use and it is appropriate when one intends to use data quantitatively. The researcher settled on this method because the research population could be divided into subgroups for clarity purposes. The sample would then be divided into subgroups so that each group got equal representation. Having identified the two strata as employees and customers of Emirates Islamic Bank, the employees were given more weight because of the significance of their answers to this research.

Reasons for choosing the sampling method

In this dissertation, the researcher had a clearly defined study population. The population of the study was limited to employees of Emirates Islamic Bank in its Dubai branch. Stratified sampling method was the best choice, as it would appropriately fit in our quantitative research. This method was also appropriate because it would enable get the data within the limited time we had (Cramer 2003, p. 37). As this research is intended to help other researchers, this method allowed the researcher to express and explain the systematic method used in data collection. Because it does not involve complex mathematical equations, it was much easier to articulate the steps to anyone consuming the paper.

Determination of the sample size

As stated above, in a study, there is always a need to have a sample population. This population will be a representative of the entire population. The selection of this sample must therefore be designed in a way that would give the expected results. Generally, there are two constraints that would help in the determination of the sample size: time and financial resources (Hughes 1997, p. 33). Time is very important in determining the sample size. If a researcher has a lot of time to conduct the research, it would be appropriate to consider using a larger sample size. However, in case the time available for the same is limited, then the researcher would be forced to limit the sample size to be in a position to conduct the entire research process successfully.

Another constrain is the available finance for the research (Krathwohl 2004, p. 55). The process of collecting data and its subsequent analysis can be very expensive. For this reason, a researcher would determine the sample size based on the available finance. In this research the sample size was chosen based on the two constrains given above and the five factors stated below.

Besides the above general constrains, five other factors should be considered when choosing sample size. The factors are as stated below:

  1. The variability of the population under study: There are instances where the items under study exhibit differences in characteristics, making it very difficult to choose a representative sample. Barzun (2004, p. 77) explains that in cases where the study population does not exhibit serious difference in characteristic, it would be recommended that a researcher use a smaller sample as a representative of the entire population. However, if the study exhibits many differences, then it would be appropriate to use a larger sample as a representative. The researcher would be forced to look for all the varying attributes and include each of them in the sample (Taylor 2005, p. 88). In this research, it was noted that there was no big difference in character of the people under the study.
  2. Confidence level: In every research, there is a given level of confidence desired of any research. Hoyle (2002, p. 69) asserts that this precision will determine the sample size to be used in the study. In most researches, a confidence level 95 percent is always recommended. Depending on the sensitivity on the issue under investigation, the percentage can be more or less than this standard value. In this research, it was necessary to produce a report that has standard level of precision. The sample population chosen was able to provide this.
  3. Margin of error: When a sample is taken to be a representative of the population, the result would not always be an exact value. There will always be a variation between the actual value of the population, and the value given by the sample (Ewens 1972, p. 45). The aim of every researcher is to ensure that the difference between the actual value of the population and the value given by the sample taken are as close as possible. The larger the sample size, the smaller the gap between the value of the population and that of the sample (Baily1994, p. 85). By taking into consideration constrains, a researcher would determine the sample size that would give a value close enough to the value of the population. Emirates Islamic Bank employees gave closely related answers, depending on their gender. The researcher was therefore convinced that the sample size chosen would produce a value that has minimal difference with the value of the population.
  4. Population proportion: When a researcher sets to conduct a study in a given field, there are always characteristics that would be considered desirable for the research. According to Bak (2004, p. 83), not all items in the population have the desirable characteristics that would enable success in the research. The researcher would hence be tasked with the duty of determining the proportion of the population that has characteristics that are desired in the study. This may not be easy because it may demand interaction between the researcher and the entire population of the study to determine the proportion with the desired attributes. It may be costly in terms of time and other resources. In this research, it was easier to determine the population proportion that would provide the desirable results for the study.
  5. Population size: The total number of items in the study would always determine the sample size. Bouma (2000, p. 73) says that it is always desirable to have a sample size that would properly represent the population. A large population would demand for a larger sample size, and vice versa. In social science, it is always recommended that the sample size be about five percent of the population. This percentage would be higher if the population is smaller. Conversely, it would be smaller if the population were too large (Goddard 2001, p. 53). The population for this study includes all the employees of Emirates Islamic Bank in Dubai.

Data analysis technique

Methods of data analysis

Data analysis refers to the process of transforming raw data into refined useful information that can be of use to people. Glatthorn (2005, p. 33) advises that before settling on a method of data analysis, it is important to determine the approach to be taken by the research. The research can take quantitative, qualitative or categorical approach. This research took a quantitative approach. Depending on the type and accuracy needed, data analysis can take a simple descriptive form, or a more complex statistical inferencing (Creswell 2009, p. 75). The technique used in the analysis can be univariate analysis, bivariate analysis or multivariate analysis. In selecting the appropriate method, a researcher should ensure that assumptions relating to the method are satisfied (Dunleavy 2003, p. 87).

In analyzing the collected data, the researcher will use appropriate statistical data analysis tools such as descriptive and inferential statistics in analyzing quantitative data. In relation to the quantitative analysis, Miller (1991, p. 63) argued that the most commonly used sets of statistics include mean, frequencies, standard deviation, median and percentages. The researcher will code and enter the quantitative data into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20).

Using SPSS, the researcher will how project portfolio management influence individual projects’ performance with focus on Emirates Islamic Bank, Dubai. The researcher will also use descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, percentage and frequencies to describe the properties of the target population. Further, the researcher will use tables, figures, and charts to present the findings of the study. Because the research entails determination of how project portfolio management affects individual projects, the researcher will employ correlational analysis to bring to enhance clarity. Therefore chi-square tests will be used to test the hypotheses.

Inferential statistics like chi-square tests help to test whether the observed relationships between the variables are genuine or due to chance. The statistical significance level used in the research is 0.05 indicating whether the observed association occurred by chance in 5 out of 100 results (Rowntree 1991, p. 93). Chi-square is the most widely used measure of association in social science research, being suitable for use on nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio data (Walsh 1990, p. 82).

Reliability and validity of the method

Validity means appropriateness, applicability and truthfulness of a study. It is the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values (Tanke 2000, p. 37). In this study, internal validity was ensured through checking the representativeness of the sample. The researcher ensured that the sample used captured all important characters at the Emirates Islamic Bank as the target institution, and the Emirati society, especially the society in and around Dubai city, as the immediate environment of our study.

During data collection process and in analysis, the researcher steered away from any form of bias. All the respondents were picked randomly, without any preference (Walizer 1978, p. 71). Moreover, the response received from the customers and employees of Emirates Islamic Bank, and other stakeholders were assigned a similar weight, depending on their category. This ensured that data which was collected was not in any way, influenced by the opinion of the researcher.

External validity was ensured through triangulation that is, the researcher used more than one technique in collecting data. This was necessary to ensure that bias from one end is countered effectively by other techniques. As Delving (2006, p. 73) says, respondents are human beings with weaknesses when it comes to giving views freely. They would always exaggerate or underrate things when they make statements.

Working with this in mind, the researcher designed a formula to moderate data gathered from the field to balance off the two extremes. The researcher found literature review to be very important in this part because the opinions they have are already moderated. External validity was also guaranteed by asking respondents to give their views. This would give them freedom of some sort, to provide information based on their own experience and views.

Reliability means that the study is consistent and lacks any ambiguity. It is the ability to trust something to provide information that addresses the issue at hand. Dane (1990, p. 35) explains that it is related to the accuracy of instruments that is, how accurate the measuring device is in measuring what it claims to measure. In this study, it was achieved through increasing verifiability of the perspective and using statistical tools to verify reliability. The researcher adopted the principles of coherence, openness and discourse in order to guarantee reliability.

Summary

Methodology is the very core of any research. It shapes the research and determines its validity. In every research, there is a need to employ a given method that would effectively help in the process of data collection. In a research, there are two sources of data collection. The first method is secondary source of data collection. Secondary sources are the bodies of literature that have been written by other researchers who had conducted the research before. Bodies of literature are always a very important source of data because they present what other scholars have done. It is important for a researcher to incorporate secondary sources of data in his or her research. This way, it would be easy to avoid duplicating other people’s work. It would also provide the researcher with a clear path to take in the research.

The other method of data collection is the primary method. This involves getting the required data from the field through various methods of data collection. When using this method, it is important to pick a sample that would be used as a representative of the entire population (Coulter 2009, p. 41). When conducting primary research, questionnaires are always very vital as a tool of data collection. It should be formatted appropriately in order to collect data that is desired. A pilot study helps predetermine the expected result of the study before data analysis. In some research, the population of study is very large hence sampling is necessary. Sampling refers to taking a sub set of the entire population to be the representative of the population.

Chapter four addresses analysis of the data collected. In this chapter, data, which were collected from the fields, are transformed into useful information that can be consumed by others who may find relevance in this topic. It integrates both primary and secondary data to give desired result. It is from the results of this chapter that the hypotheses put forth in earlier chapters will be confirmed or be disapproved. This chapter therefore defines the whole process of the research. Its success will be success of the entire research process, and vice versa.

Data Analysis

Data analysis refers to the process of transforming raw data into refined useful information that can be of use to people. It is through the analysis that the researcher would be in a position to confirm or refute the hypotheses developed in previous chapters. A research’s success would be determined by how well the analysis is conducted. As explained elaborately in the previous chapter, depending on the type and accuracy needed, data analysis can take a simple descriptive form, or a more complex statistical inference. The researcher can also choose to take univariate, bivariate or multivariate approach to data analysis. In so doing, it is very important that the researcher ensure that the assumptions relating to the method are met. In analyzing data, a researcher should choose the best statistical tool that would best lead to the desired answer.

In this study, the researcher has used statistical analysis tools such as descriptive and inferential statistics in analyzing the quantitative data. This would enable tabulation; it will be easy to determine the perception of the staff towards influence of project portfolio management on individual projects (Safko 2010, p. 38). The result would then be presented in tables, figures, and charts. This chapter would thus focus on analyzing the data collected and testing the research hypotheses. It would also answer the research questions that were developed along with the hypotheses. The next chapter would then draw conclusions from the results found in this chapter. It would closely compare the findings of this research to those of existing bodies of literature to determine the variation and the implication of this variation.

Objectives this chapter

In this research, the researcher developed research hypothesis that would help guide this research. The following are the research hypotheses that were developed for this research.

H1o. Project portfolio management has no direct effect on the performance of individual projects within a firm.

As was stated in chapter one, this is the first null hypothesis is this research. It is developed from the topic to help determine if there is a direct relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual project.

Upon rejection of the null hypothesis, this is the alternative hypothesis whose confirmation would mean that there is need for further research in this field.

The following research hypothesis was also used in this research.

H2o. Successful project portfolio management would not result into success in the performance of individual projects.

This hypothesis was developed to support the first hypothesis of this research. This hypothesis was meant to confirm the fact that project portfolio management has a very close connection with the performance of individual projects. This hypothesis was meant to demonstrate that there is a directly proportional relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual project within the firm. The above is the null hypothesis that this researcher wishes to reject using the primary data analysis. This is because when the above null hypothesis is confirmed, it will be supporting the first null hypothesis.

This alternative hypothesis will be in line with the first alternative hypothesis of this research. Below is the third hypothesis that was developed for this research.

H3o. The ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully does not depend on successful management of the projects portfolio by the top management.

This hypothesis is also in line with the first hypothesis of this research. In this hypothesis, the researcher wishes to demonstrate two factors. The first factor that this hypothesis helps in demonstrating is that top management unit of a firm have a direct influence on the management of the portfolio of projects. It is the top management which will approve projects after screening process.

This top management will then, officiate the projects once they pass the test. This hypothesis then seeks to demonstrate that the actions of the top management will influence the performance of an individual process. In this regard, the hypothesis seeks to demonstrate that when the top management did an excellent job of screening the projects and assigning each project enough resources, then chances that such project will have a high performance will be equally high.

The last hypothesis for this research was also meant to bring another aspect of how project portfolio management is related to the performance of individual project. According to Kanda (2011, p. 46), success of a project will always be determined by, among other factors, the level of finance that is invested in the project. The financial aspect of a project is always important in influencing the performance of a project. The amount of money that is assigned to individual project is always determined at the portfolio management stage. It is at this stage that every single project will be assigned a specific amount of money for budgetary purposes. The following hypothesis helps bring in this aspect in a more comprehensive manner.

H4o. The ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals does not depend on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management.

The researcher wishes to reject the above hypothesis and accept its alternative hypothesis below.

When the researcher successfully responds to the above hypothesis by rejecting all the null hypothesis using the primary data analysis in chapter four, it will be possible to make a concrete conclusion on the influence of project portfolio management on the individual projects’ performance.

This hypothesis would be justifying the first alternative hypothesis of this research. Of interest would be to determine the reason behind this and the effect created by it.

This chapter also seeks to answer the following research questions developed in the research proposal and the first chapter of this research. The questions are as below:

  • What is the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects?

This question was meant to determine the level to which, employees felt that there is a direct relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of an individual project within the firm. By responding to this question, an avenue for research would be opened to investigate the general causes and effects of individual project performance and project portfolio management.

  • To what extent do you believe that project portfolio management plays an important role in enabling this firm to develop strong and successful individual projects within the current competitive market?

This question was meant to bring to focus the impact of project portfolio management on the performance of individual projects. As the research would be investigating the experience employees have had with project portfolio management and their influence on success of individual projects within the firm, of interest would also be to determine the degree of this impact. This way, it would be possible to compare the two variables and determine the relationship between them.

Assumptions

In any research, there is always the need to hold some assumptions. In pure science research, the researchers would always hold some factors constant. This would enable them conduct the research under different conditions before coming up with a solid report.

However, social science comes with one main complication. Social science deals with people. Unlike the specimen used by pure scientists that can be manipulated to suite the need of the research in the laboratory, it is practically impossible to manipulate human beings. For this reason therefore, it would force social scientist to study human being under its normal characteristics. Because research may require some special conditions, which the researcher may not be able to create, it would force the researcher to make some assumptions that would fit the desired conditions.

In this research, there are some assumptions, which were made specifically to suit various conditions that the researcher considered necessary. Some of these assumptions include the following.

  • The leadership of this firm is properly guided by the common law as stipulated in the country’s constitution.

The researcher developed this assumption after realizing the strong influence the government has towards the normal operation of business institutions. When conducting a research therefore, it would be wise to develop an assumption that would relate to the leadership of the firm and laws and regulations of the country. This assumption would help check the fact that operations of all the employees of this firm must be guided by the law. None of the employees would therefore try engaging in activities that are considered corrupt or illegal in order to ensure success of a given project. As such, there will be natural forces that will not be manipulated negatively. Being largely an Islamic state, the above aspect about the government was considered appropriate.

  • The labor laws that govern industrial practices within this country clearly define the relationship that exists between employer and employees.

According to Kousholt (2007, p. 48), the relationship that exists between employer and employees would always determine the performance of a project, all other factors held constant. One of the most important aspects of the external environment is the legal front. No firm can operate in an environment that is not keenly guided by law. The Emirati society is guided by various principles of law found in the English common law and it would be appropriate to include this aspect in developing the research findings. This is important in defining the role of employees in project management.

Significance level

After the researcher has set the hypothesis, he or she would proceed to test validity of null hypothesis (H0) against that of alternative hypothesis (Ha) at a specified level of significance. This significance level is always given as a percentage. The significance level adopted would determine the confidence with which an experiment rejects or accepts a null hypothesis. At 5 percent significance level, it means that the research is 95 percent accurate. If the significance level is considerably large (say at 50 percent), the accuracy of the results is reduced. At 50 percent, it would imply that chances that the results of the research are inaccurate are just as much as chances that it is true. Such a result cannot therefore be relied upon.

In this study, the researcher adopted 5 percent as the level of significance for this study.

  • Two tailed test.

While testing hypothesis, the researcher can choose the two tailed or one tailed approach. The two-tailed approach would reject the null hypothesis in case the sample statistics is significantly lower or higher than the population parameter that was hypothesized. The researcher adopted the two-tailed test because of the need to reject the null hypothesis.

The research questions and hypotheses’ data

Analysis of research questions

According to Barthe (2010, p. 44), conducting a research requires well developed questions that would help guide the researcher when conducting the research. Research is a path whose destination is unknown. However, it is important to note that despite this, there should be a proper plan on how the research would be conducted. A guide should be developed that would help in reaching the desired result in the research process. In a research, questions and hypotheses are very important guides in developing a desired solution from the field. Hypotheses would always be developed from the research questions. Those hypotheses are always possible response to the research question.

The research questions are the core of any research process. In case it is poorly developed, the entire research process would lose focus and the possible result that may come out of the research may not hold any meaningful truth. The researcher would be seeking answer to these questions.

Having taken the above considerations, the researcher developed questions below. The two main questions were purposely set to meet the above concern raised about the influence of project portfolio management on the performance of individual projects within the firm. This study seeks to gather and analyze data that would help explain the relevance of supply chain in the overall performance of the firm, and the importance of project portfolio management on performance of individual projects. It does not seek to find reasons why the Emirates Islamic Bank performs the way it does within this country, and its general organizational culture.

However, the researcher is conscious of the fact that the firm’s organizational culture has direct effect on the performance and policies developed by the institutions within the country and in extension; this may affect individual projects differently. The questions were thus set to reflect this. The following two questions were formulated. Having confirmed from the literature review that there is a considerable relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual project within a firm, the researcher developed this question to bring to focus the effect.

  • What is the impact of project portfolio management on individual projects?

This question was very critical to this research. It would help explain the relationship between the overall success of a given project and a successful project portfolio management. The researcher was keen never to deviate from the research topic. Although the researcher appreciated that the culture and social structure of this firm is rich and worth reporting on, this research was limited to the concerns of the employees regarding the influence of project portfolio management on the performance of individual employees within the firm.

This question was reflected on the questionnaire that was sent to the employees of this firm. The result was entered into the SPSS sheet and the data on the table below was found. From the data, it was evident that of the 50 respondents, 44 of them stated that they believe that there was a direct proportionate relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual firms within the project. 87.5 percent of the respondents strongly believe that a sound project portfolio management would result into a massive success of individual projects within the firm. In the study, 12.5 percent felt otherwise. The accompanying pie chart demonstrates this.

Table1: Do you believe that project portfolio management has an impact on the performance of individual project?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Yes 44 87.5 87.5
No 6 12.5 100.0
Total 50 100.0

Do you believe that project portfolio management has an impact on the performance of individual project?

The next research question was developed to determine the importance of project portfolio management in developing strong and successful individual projects within the current competitive market.

  • To what extent do you believe that project portfolio management plays an important role in enabling this firm to develop strong and successful individual projects within the current competitive market?

Based on a scale of 1-5, where one is very poor and 5 is very good, below is how the employees responded to the above question.

Table 2: To what extent do you believe that sound project portfolio management will influence individual projects

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Very poor 1 3.0 3.0
Poor 10 30.3 33.3
Average 10 30.3 63.6
Good 8 24.2 87.9
Very good 4 12.1 100.0
Total 33 100.0

To what extent do you believe that sound project portfolio management will influence individual projects

As shown in the output above, most of the respondents felt that sound project portfolio management will result into an equally good performance of individual projects. Most of them noted that with efficient supply of financial, moral, and workmanship to a project, it was easier to develop a successful individual project within the specified duration. 29 percent of the respondents felt that the impact was good, while 8.8 percent felt that the impact was very good.

The questionnaire also focused on the experience of the employees based on gender during project management. In order to test whether there is a significant difference in the experience of female employees of Emirates Islamic Bank by virtue of their gender, a chi-square of equal proportions was applied using SPSS. Table 3 below shows the findings.

Table 3: How was the experience
Gender Observed N Expected N Residual
Female Poor 2 12.5 -10.5
Fair 7 12.5 -5.5
Good 29 12.5 16.5
Excellent 12 12.5 -.5
Total 50

Source: Analysis of survey data.

Table 4: Test Statistics
Gender How was the experience
Female Chi-square 33.040b
df 3
Asymp. Sig. .000

Source: Analysis of survey data.

From Table 4 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 33.040 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, it can be concluded that there is a significant difference in the experience of female employees of Emirates Islamic Bank, by virtue of their gender. It shows that female employees felt more uneasy towards managing situations when they were at crisis levels. They feared that they might fail to deliver when the system is experiencing difficulties. This reduced their performance within a given project.

Testing the research hypotheses

Every research in social science attempts to prove that specific phenomena occurred for specific reasons. Conducting a research is like a walk in the desert without a guiding map to show clear directions that should be taken in order to reach the desired direction. Care should be taken by every researcher when conducting a research to ensure that he or she does not wonder off the focus of the study just by the sheer wonder of the research in question. A path should clearly be set, upon which the research would take on reaching the desired solution.

Research hypotheses always provide solution to this. Hypothesis is a proposition made by the researcher about the research upon which the research would try to determine if it is true or otherwise. It is kind of a proposal or a guess that the findings of a particular research would be in a particular way. A research would always have two hypotheses for every single desired result. There is always the null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis.

The null hypothesis would always refute the claim by saying that the proposition does not hold. On the other hand, alternative hypothesis would always try to affirm that the proposition set by the researcher holds. A test would always be conducted on the null hypothesis with an aim of rejecting it. By rejecting a null hypothesis, the research would be accepting the alternative hypothesis. It is always every researchers desire to reject a null hypothesis because when a research accepts a null hypothesis, it would render the whole research unnecessary. It would be rejecting the proposition made by the researcher, a fact that would render the research null and void.

In analyzing the research hypotheses, the researcher would always set the significance level, always expressed as a percentage. This percentage would be the limit within which the researcher would accept a null hypothesis. If the limit were surpassed, it would be said that there is significant difference and therefore a null hypothesis is rejected. Setting the percentage too high would be increasing the chances of confirming a given hypothesis, but it would reduce the accuracy of the research. Setting this percentage too low would increase chances of rejecting the hypothesis and increases chances of accuracy. In most of the social sciences research, 5 percent is always acceptable as the standard significance level. As earlier stated in the assumptions above, this study takes 5 percent as its significance level.

The researcher would test this hypothesis by analyzing the data gathered from the firm’s staff. In total, there were 50 respondents.

Below are the four null hypotheses that the researcher wishes to test and reject in order to accept the alternative hypothesis, which would help in validating this research:

H1o. Project portfolio management has no direct effect on the performance of individual projects within a firm.

This is the main hypothesis of this research whose rejection would validate the need for this research. By accepting this hypothesis, it would be a clear sign that the research confirms that there is no significant relationship between project portfolio management and individual project performance. The researcher wishes to reject this hypothesis.

It can be observed from the table and the pie chart below that 91.7 percent of the employees felt that project portfolio management had direct effect on the performance of individual projects within the firm. In the study, 91.7 percent stated that success in the management of project portfolio would have a trickledown effect on the performance of individual projects within the firm. Only 8.3 percent stated that they did not feel that there was a close relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual projects.

Is there any relationship between project portfolio management and individual project performance?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Yes 46 91.7 91.7
No 4 8.3 100.0
Total 50 100.0
Graphical presentation.
Graphical presentation.

This leaves the researcher with the alternative hypothesis, which states as below.

H1a. Project portfolio management has direct effect on the performance of individual projects within a firm.

Upon rejection of the above null hypothesis, its alternate hypothesis would automatically be accepted (Barthe 2010, p. 46). The null hypothesis has been rejected by a wide margin. The researcher has therefore proved, from the data gathered from the population sample that there is direct relationship between project portfolio management and the performance of individual projects. Having confirmed this hypothesis by a wide margin, the researcher consequently confirms that there is need to conduct the research that seeks to investigate the relevance of project portfolio management and success of individual projects. This opens door for the researcher to test other supportive hypotheses, which would further help in confirming this hypothesis.

The next hypothesis was formulated to determine employees felt about successful project portfolio management and how such success would be transferred to individual projects.

H2o. Successful project portfolio management would not result into success in the performance of individual projects.

The graph below shows that there was an overwhelming support of the thought that success in project portfolio management would result into success in the performance of individual projects. The graph below shows that about 90 percent of the respondents felt that success in project portfolio management had a direct positive influence on the performance of individual projects. Only ten percent of the population felt otherwise.

Do you believe that successful project portfolio management would result in success of individual projects?
Figure 6. Do you believe that successful project portfolio management would result in success of individual projects?

In order to test whether there is a significant relationship between success in project portfolio management and success in individual projects, chi-square for equal proportions was applied using SPSS and the findings are shown in Table 8 below.

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Yes 45 90.0 90.0
No 5 10.0 100.0
Total 50 100.0

Source: Analysis of survey data.

Table 9: Test Statistics
Relationship between project portfolio management and individual project
Chi-square 177.975a
df 3
Asymp. Sig. .000
a. 0 cells (.0 percent has expected frequencies less than 5. The minimum expected cell frequency is 70.3.

Source: Analysis of survey data.

From Table 9 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 177.975 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis can be rejected and hence concluded that successful project portfolio management would result into success in the performance of individual projects.

H2o. Successful project portfolio management would result into success in the performance of individual projects.

By rejecting the null hypothesis above, the alternate hypothesis would be accepted. It therefore comes out very strongly that project portfolio management would result into success in the performance of individual projects. As was previously hinted in the review of literatures in chapter two, it is now clear that the management has a role to play in ensuring that individual projects gives out a yield that is within the expectation of the firm.

The hypothesis below was developed to ascertain the relationship between project managers and the top management of the firm in regard to ensuring that projects yield what is expected of them.

H3o. The ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully does not depend on successful management of the project’s portfolio by the top management.

To help in testing the above hypothesis, the researcher used the results from the respondents. The research covered 50 respondents of this firms at its facility in Dubai.

The researcher conducted a correlation analysis using the SPSS and the output below was generated.

Correlations

Success of individual project is influenced by project portfolio management How does project portfolio management influence individual project performance in a firm
Success of individual project is influenced by project portfolio management Pearson Correlation 1 -.013
Sig. (2-tailed) . .943
N 34 34
How does project portfolio management influence individual project performance in a firm Pearson Correlation -.013 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .943 .
N 34 34

Source: Analysis of survey data.

Using Pearson Correlation analysis, the data above demonstrates that the possibility of project portfolio management influencing individual project’s performance within a firm.

To validate further the above findings, chi-square test for equal proportions was applied using SPSS and the findings are presented in Table below.

Table 10.

Noticeable relationship between project portfolio management and individual project performance
Observed N Expected N Residual
Yes 37 25 12
No 13 25 -12
Total 50

Table 11.

Test Statistics
Noticeable relationship between project portfolio management and individual project performance
Chi-square 12.253a
df 1
Asymp. Sig. .000
a. 0 cells (.0 percent has expected frequencies less than 5. The minimum expected cell frequency is 12.

From Table 11 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 12.253 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis can be rejected and would therefore be concluded that the ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully depends on successful management of the projects portfolio by the top management.

By rejecting the above null hypothesis, this would help validate the first alternative hypothesis.

The findings would be a confirmation of the alternative hypothesis below.

H3a. The ability of the individual project manager to manage an individual project successfully depends on successful management of the projects portfolio by the top management.

This hypothesis tries to emphasize the fact that there is need to conduct the research to ascertain the relationship between project portfolio management and individual project’s performance.

Following the analysis of the literature review, it is important that the management develops a clear mechanism through which they can manage project portfolios. It is confirmed from the findings of the primary research that success of an individual success depends on the successful management of project portfolio within the firm. This means that the top management of a firm has direct responsibility of ensuring success in the individual projects. The hypothesis below was meant to further shed light into the success of an individual project based on the amount finance assigned to each project in the portfolio.

H4o. The ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals does not depend on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management.

From the table and pie chart below, majority of the respondents (70.8 percent noted that financial capacity of a project would play a very vital role in ensuring that it achieves its objectives to the firm. Only 20.8 percent felt that that it has negative effect while 8.3 percent stated that it does not matter.

Do you believe that the amount of money assigned to a given project would influence its success in achieving its objectives?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Positively 36 70.8 70.8
Negatively 10 20.8 91.7
Does not matter 4 8.3 100.0
Total 50 100.0

Do you believe that the amount of money assigned to a given project would influence its success in achieving its objectives?

The null hypothesis is rejected and it is concluded that the ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals depends on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management. This therefore means that the alternative hypothesis below was accepted.

H4o. The ability of an individual project to successfully achieve its set goals depends on the financial strength assigned to the project by the top management.

Confirmation of this hypothesis not only supports the main hypothesis (the first hypothesis) of this research, but also gives more clarification on the relevance of financial strength in managing projects within an organization.

Sensitivity Analysis

In every research finding, the correctness is always very important because an action may be taken upon the findings and recommendations of a given research (Earl 2009, p. 38). In case the result deviates from the truth by a considerable wide margin, it can result into serious consequences, especially if the action taken is of great impact. However, it is worth appreciating that human being is prone to making errors in a number of occasions. This error can be in the process of input of the data or its analysis. Whichever point it may arise from, the consequences of such errors may be adverse if action were to be taken upon its recommendation (Gusti 2011, p. 39). Sensitivity analysis is therefore important in mitigating such errors in a report. It helps in determining how robust a given research is.

In this study, the researcher appreciates the fact that such errors may occur. For this reason, there is need to develop measures that would help validate this research. In this research, the main aim was to determine influence of project portfolio management on single projects. Reliability and Validity studies below help further explain how this research ensured that it maintained correctness of the findings.

Reliability

Reliability means appropriateness, applicability, and truthfulness of a study. It refers to the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values. The consistency of the measure, the probability of obtaining the same results again if the measure was to be replicated is referred as reliability. It is the relationship between the true underlying score and the observable score.

Internal consistency is also important for the survey since it indicates the extent to which the items in the measurement are related to each other. The most commonly used index of internal consistency is Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (Brause 2000, p. 114). This index ranges from zero to one, where a reliability of zero means no relationship, and reliability of one indicates a perfect and positive relationship. Since the reliability declines as the length of the question increases, the questions would be designed to be straight to the point. The idea behind internal consistency procedures is that questions measuring the same phenomenon should produce similar results (Clement & Henry 2010, p. 48).

In internal consistency reliability estimation, single measurement instrument is administered to a group of people on one occasion to estimate reliability. The overall consistency of the employees’ questionnaire in this research was 0.7 indicating that the questionnaire was reliable. Table 16 below shows the findings of reliability analysis.

Table 16: Reliability Analysis.

Data Crohnbach Alpha
Employees 0.71

It would therefore be true to emphasize that the researcher ensured high level of validity in this research.

Conclusion

It is clear from the discussion above that project’s success depends on a number of factors, and the prevailing conditions within a given business. Project portfolio management is always important when a firm is planning on how to influence all the projects positively. An individual project can be influenced by project portfolio management in various ways, as will be discussed in this research paper.

Due to the demand and desire to compete effectively in the world market, researchers have directed a lot of their attention in projects management. In the past years, little of project portfolio management was known, but now in the current world, things are changing with the many changes taking place in various sectors. People, including scholars and business managers, have become very innovative. Modernity is taking place at a very high rate and so many changes are observed in the world market. This calls for an effective project management for any project’s goals and objectives to be realized.

The discussion above clearly demonstrates that projects are identified and classified into various categories mostly during the initial stages of a project. There is a raised concern to come up with a better project portfolio management approach in order to march with the competitive market environment. This means that a project needs to be managed as part of the portfolio within the organization in order to ensure that the top management does not ignore them.

Several arguments have come up showing that portfolio managed has been noted to have very positive effect on a single project’s success. Success of a single project may be pegged on how the top management manages the project portfolio. In the portfolio of projects, there are different projects that have different weights. The top management should know how to award both material and moral support to each project in the portfolio. This will demand that this management have a clear understanding of all the projects in the portfolio.

When there is a general lack of understanding of the project portfolio, it means that the relevant authorities will have limited understanding of each individual project. This failure to manage the portfolio of projects would mean that individual project may not succeed because it was not well taken care of initially. It is therefore, of interest to understand the influence of project portfolio management on success of an individual project. This paper aims at identifying the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects.

Based on the discussion above, project portfolio management refers to a process of centralizing management system of projects with the aim of maximizing financial gains while taking into consideration, the existence of various constraints and the interest of various stakeholders within the firm. The world has increasingly become competitive, and firms are struggling to come up with various strategies that would enable them become competitive in the world market and enable them maximize financial benefits.

A firm will come up with a project with an aim of creating a competitive advantage in a given market. Every project has its own constrains that the project managers must consider. Project constrains must always be factored in when determining the appropriateness of a project. Project portfolio refers to an assortment of projects that are to be managed in a collective manner in a way that will achieve organizational objectives.

It is important to note that the process of project portfolio management is a complex process that requires attention of all the stakeholders within the firm. The project managers and project members have the responsibility to success of the project as this will highly determine the overall success of project portfolio management. This is so because, the interests of members of a firm would always vary, and their interests should be wisely considered in defining the viability of any proposed project. For a project portfolio management to be effective there is need to apply unique skills, knowledge and several other collections of tools together with techniques (Coveney & Highfield 1995, p. 45). A combination of all these will enable the project managers and members to effectively manage allocate various resources in the projects and boost the management at different levels of production in the firm and hence a high financial return.

It is apparent that project portfolio management always has a direct effect on success of individual projects. It would therefore mean that mismanagement of the portfolio of projects will have a general negative impact on the individual projects. Project portfolio management would always mean that the there will be a clear way on how each individual project will be managed by the top management. The top management should clearly state what is expected of each project. This way, it should be clear to project manager for individual projects and the project members to have a clear understanding of what is expected of the project. They will know what is expected of them, and this way, they will act in a way that will help achieve the expected objectives.

According to the discussions of the above chapters, it comes out clearly that managing of projects requires a great deal of understanding the project itself. Having a portfolio of projects would mean that the project coordinator will have to assign every single project to a group of individuals, headed by project manager. When handling a single project, the project manager and project members must understand the objective of the project, and how it relates to the strategic objectives of the organization.

The ultimate aim will always be to ensure that the project helps in achieving the long-term goals of the organization. In managing single projects, the first issue that should be considered is the project’s goals and the constraints that it faces. Having defined the project, it would be necessary to determine the constraints that the project would face in the implementation process. In most of the cases, time and finance are the leading constrains in a project. It is important however, to go beyond these two obvious constrains. There must be specific constrains that are unique to the project. In managing such a project, the project manager will be responsible for explaining to the project members all the project deliverables, and how each member will play part in ensuring an overall success in the project.

Managing a single project means that, the firm will be narrowing down to specific projects out of the available portfolio. Every single project will be aiming at achieving the long-term goals of the organization. The project manager will coordinate his or her team in a way that will ensure that each member understands his or her role in the organization. When managing a project, it is important to involve various stakeholders, especially the customers.

This scholar holds that in the current world, it is imperative to engage consumers in project management in order to help ensure that they own both the project and the final product. When involved, they will feel that the product was part was as a result of their opinion, and for that matter, they will feel comfortable owning the entire project. This is part of ensuring that there is a long-term return to the firm, especially if the firm retains such consumers. It is through this that there will be a general success in managing a single project.

It is very vital to ensure that portfolio management is effective given the fact that it has great influence on individual project’s success. Success and effectiveness of a portfolio is derived from comparing the amount of total inputs allocated in the projects and the total outputs derived from the same while considering the satisfaction of consumers. The inputs and output are valued in terms of money and a difference between the two is obtained. Many scholars argue that for a firm to measure the success and effectiveness of a portfolio several factors should be considered.

A proper indicator of a successful and effective portfolio management apart from considering the financial returns is by checking out the achievement of the project’s aims and objectives and the fulfillment of the ultimate mission of the project. This also puts into consideration the portfolio fulfillment of all the stakeholders’ interests and expectations. Fulfilling the stakeholder’s expectations is vital for any successful and effective portfolio management. It would therefore be important to give recommendations based on the findings of this report.

Recommendations

In every piece of research, the ultimate aim is always to come up with a solution to an existing problem. A piece of research is always meant to give a new concept to a given issue in a way that would enrich the existing knowledge. In this research, the focus was on the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects. The topic has been comprehensively discussed in chapters one, two and four of this paper. The secondary sources of data were analyzed critically in chapter two, while the analysis of the primary data was done in chapter four. Based on the two sources of data, the following are some of the recommendations made on the influence of project portfolio management on individual projects.

  • The management of an organization must have an in-depth understanding of individual project within a portfolio of projects. The understanding should be based on the value of the project to the organization, and the costs of supporting such a project.
  • The management should ensure that before commissioning a project, there is a careful analysis of the needs of the firm in its current position. This is to ensure that projects commissioned would address the most pressing needs.
  • Project portfolio management officer must have a clear understanding of what each individual project should achieve within the firm. This should be stated in clear terms before a project can be assigned to a project manager for implementation.
  • Each individual project within the firm should be in line with the vision of the firm. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that before implementing a project, its objectives must be in line with the vision of the firm. This should involve both the long term and short term goals of the project.
  • Project portfolio management officer should set achievable goals to every individual project. Success of an individual project would always be determined when the set objectives are achieved. The objectives would always be communicated to other members of the organization and therefore, they will be looking up to the firm to achieve them. These objectives should be set in a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) manner.
  • Project portfolio management officer has the responsibility of ensuring that in a portfolio of projects, there is no case where the interest of one project is conflicting that of another. It may be difficult to see a success of an individual project if it is running counter to the objectives of another project in the portfolio. Before commissioning a project, their objectives should be aligned to the overall objectives of the firm to ensure that all the projects are all geared towards achieving a specific goal within the organization.
  • Each project should be allocated enough time and resources based on its value to the firm. From the analysis of the primary data in chapter four, it is clear that success of an individual project is always based on the level of resources assigned to it. It is important for the project portfolio management officer to ensure that each project is assigned enough finances that will enable it achieve its objectives as expected by the organization.
  • In order to achieve the best results from individual project, project portfolio officer should assign qualified employees to the project. These employees, who will become project members, should have an understanding of what is to be achieved from the project. These project members should be people who can get along well and work as a unit in achieving goals of the project.

List of References

Amrosini, V., Johnson, G & Scholes, K 1998, Exploring Techniques of Analysis and Evaluation in Strategic Management, Financial Times Press, New York.

Anderson, J 2009, Assignment and thesis writing, Juta, Cape Town.

Anderson, P 2004, Research Methods in Human Resource Management, Chattered institute of Personell Management London.

Andrzej, A & Buchaman, A 2007, Organizational Behavior, Prentice Hall, London.

Badenhorst, C 2007, Research writing: breaking barriers, Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria.

Baily, C 1996, A guide to field research, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks.

Baily, K 1994, Methods of social research, Free Press, New York.

Bak, N 2004, Completing your thesis: a practical guide, Van Schaik, Pretoria.

Barthe, G 2010, Verification, Model Checking, and Abstract Interpretation, Springer, New York.

Barzun, J 2004, The modern researcher, Wadsworth, Belmont.

Bell, J 2005, Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science, Open university press, Maidenhead.

Bell, P 2001, Evaluating, doing and writing research in psychology: a step-by-step guide for students. Sage, London.

Binder, J 2007, Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders, Aldershot, Gower.

Bouma, G 2000, The research process, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Brause, R 2000, Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation: Invisible Rules for Success, Falmer Press, London.

Calabrese, R 2006, The elements of an effective dissertation and thesis: a step by step guide to getting it right the first time, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham.

Clement, M & Henry, R 2010, Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Cooper, R 2009, Portfolio management for new products, Perseus, Cambridge.

Coulter, M 2009, Strategic Management in Action, Pearson Higher Education, New York.

Coveney, P & Highfield, 1995, Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World, Fawcett Columbine, New York.

Cramer, D 2003, Advanced quantitative data analysis, Open University Press, Maidenhead.

Creswell, J 2009, Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Daft, R 2009, Organization Theory and Design, Cengage Learning, New York.

Dane, F 1990, Research methods, Brooks Pacific, Groove.

David, F 2008, Strategic Management: Concepts, Pearson Higher Education, New York.

Delving, A 2006, Research methods: planning, conducting and presenting research, Wadsworth, Belmont.

Denzin, N & Lincoln, Y 2011, The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage Publication Inc, New York.

Dunleavy, P 2003, Authoring a PhD: how to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation, Macmillan, New York.

Earl, B 2009, The practice of social research, Wadsworth, Belmont.

Ewens, W 1972, The sampling theory of selectively neutral alleles, Theoretical Population Biology, 3, 87–112.

Glatthorn, A 2005, Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: a step-by-step guide, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks.

Goddard, W 2001, Research methodology: an introduction, Juta, Lansdowne.

Gusti, N 2011, Cross Section and Experimental Data Analysis Using Eviews, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Hakim, C 2000, Research Design: Sucessful Designs for Social and Economic Research, Routledge, London.

Hoyle, R 2002, Research methods in social relations, Wadsworth, Fort Worth.

Kalmbach, D & Carr, K 2010, Becoming a Teacher Through Action Research: Process, Context, and Self-Study Routledge, New York.

Kanda, A 2011, Project management: A life cycle approach, PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi.

Kothari, C 2004, Research methodology: Methods and techniques, New Age International (P) Limited Publishers, New Delhi.

Kousholt, B 2007, Project management: Theory and practice, Nyt Teknisk Forlag, New York.

Krathwohl, D 2004, Methods of educational and social science research: an integrated approach, Waveland Press, Long Grove.

Kumar, R 2004, Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners, Sage, London.

Leedy, P 2010, Practical research: planning and design, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.

Letavec, C 2006, The program management office: establishing, managing and growing the value of a PMO, Ross Publishers, Florida.

Miller, D 1991, Handbook of research design and social measurement, Sage, New Park.

Mouton, J 1990, Basic concepts in the methodology of the social science, Hunan Sciences Research Council, Pretoria.

Murch, R 2004, Project management: Best practices for IT professionals, Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River.

Murray, R 2006, How to write a thesis, Open University Press, Philadelhpia.

Nagarajan, K 2005, Project management, New Age International, New Delhi.

Oppenheim, A 1992, Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement, New Edition, London.

Panneerselvam, R & Senthilkumar, P 2010, Project management, PHI Learning, New Delhi.

Perry, M 2011, Business driven project portfolio management: conquering the top 10 risks that threaten success, Ross Publishers, Thousand Oaks.

Pimple, K 2008, Research ethics, Ashgate, Aldershot.

Pointer, J 1991, How to research and write a thesis in hospitality and tourism industry, Wiley, Chichester.

Poole, M 2004, Research Methods in Human Resource Management. Chattered Institute of Personell Management, London.

Proulx, T 2011, Modal Analysis Topics, Volume 3: Proceedings of the 29th IMac, a Conference, Springer New York.

Rowntree, D 1991, Statistics Without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians, Penguin Books, London.

Rubin, A 2005, Research methods for social works, Thomson, Belmont.

Rudestam, E 2007, Surviving your dissertation: a comprehensive guide to content and process, Sage, Los Angeles.

Rugg, G 2007a, A gentle guide to research methods, Open University Press, Maidenhead.

Rugg, G 2007b., Using statistics: a gentle introduction, McGraw Hill, New York.

Soles, D 2010, The essentials of academic writing, Cengage Learning, Melbourne.

Stewart, D 1990, Focus group: theory and practice. Sage, Newbury Park.

Struwig, F 2001, Planning, designing and reporting research, Pearson Education, Cape Town.

Tanke, M 2000, Human Resources Management for the Hospitality Industry, Cengage Learning, Albany.

Taylor, G 2005, Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in research, University Press of America, Lanham.

Vogt, P 2007, Quantitative Research Methods for Professionals Author, Pearson, New York.

Walizer, M 1978, Research methods and analysis: searching for relationships, Harper and Row, New York.

Walsh, A 1990, Statistics for the Social Sciences: With Computer Applications, Harper & Row, New York.

Wickham, S 1999, Towards a postgraduate identity: guidelines for MA and PhD supervisors and their students: workbook, Research and Academic Development, Cape Town.

Wisker, G 2008, The postgraduate research handbook: succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD, Macmillan, New York.

Appendix

Questionnaire for Research

Background Information

  • Nationality:
    • Emirati ____
    • Non-Emirati _____
  • Gender:
    • Male _______
    • Female _______
  • Highest level of education:
    • High School______
    • Bachelor’s______
    • Master’s _____
    • Doctorate_____
    • Other _____
  • Are you employed? (Tick as appropriate)
    • a) Yes
    • b) No

Information from Employees of Emirates Islamic Bank

  • For how long have you been working with this bank (Years)?
    • Between 0-2 years
    • Between 3-5 years
    • Over 5 years
  • How many projects have you been engaged in directly within the firm?
    • Between 1-5 projects
    • Between 6-20 projects
    • Over 20 projects
  • If yes, how successful was the project?
    • Bad
    • Fair
    • Good
    • Excellent
  • Do you think this performance was in any way influenced by projects portfolio management?
    • Yes
    • No
  • How would you rate the responsiveness of the influence of projects portfolio management on the performance of an individual project? (Tick as appropriate in a range of 5: where 1= very
  • poor, 5=excellent)
  • Would you recommend a close involvement by top management in running of individual projects?
    • Yes. Why, briefly explain: ____________________________________________
    • No. Why not, briefly explain:__________________________________________
  • Is there any noticeable difference between projects closely monitored by top management and those left in the hand of project managers?
    • Yes
    • No.
  • If yes, which projects yielded better results?
    • Those With Direct Influence of Top Management
    • Those Without Direct Influence of Top Management
  • As an employee of this firm, how would you rate the performance of projects with direct influence of top management?
    • (Given a scale, where 1= very poor and 5= very good)
  • As an employee of this firm, how would you rate the performance of projects without direct influence of top management?
    • (Given a scale, where 1= very poor and 5= very good)

For Management only

[This part is specifically meant for the current management employees of this bank.]

  • For how long have you been employed at this institution as a manager? _______
  • What is your level in the bank as an employee? (Tick the appropriate level)
    • Middle-level management
    • Top-level management
  • Have you been directly engaged in the management of a project?
    • Yes
    • No
  • If yes, how positively or negatively do you this the influence of project portfolio management had on that particular project?
    • Positively
    • Negatively
    • Does not matter
  • How would you rate your level of satisfaction with project portfolio management in the performance of an individual project?
    • (Given a scale, where 1= very poor and 5= very good)
  • Do you find any difference in the performance of projects with direct top management involvement and those without?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you think that the ultimate performance of a project will depend on how the portfolio of projects is managed?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Given an opportunity, how would you involve the top management in managing individual projects?
    • Yes
    • No

The researcher highly appreciates the fact that you have taken your time to respond to the above questions. The researcher would like to assure you that the information gathered will specifically be used for academic purposes and that it will remain a confidential document that is to be shared between the researcher and the faculty only. Thank you very much!