Prog.PhD STI
Adm. – Grad.2017 – 
Dir.; Codir.Stéphane Gagnon; Raul Valverde

Business Technology Management Semantic Integration for Automated Project Team Composition

Torres, Beatriz

Over the past 20 years, Agile methods have grown beyond their origins in Software Engineering (SE) and have been adapted to most other sectors in Project Management (PM). There remain key challenges to harmonizing core aspects of PM methods with Agile principles, such as the integration and formal management of delivery constraints (e.g., budget, integration, schedule) and control mechanisms (e.g., accountability, benefits, risks). As well, agility is often claimed by many project leaders, but their implementation of agile methods rests on merely a few basic principles, leaving numerous improvements unexplored. Lack of project process customization is therefore a key reason for the relative low impact of agile methods in more traditional PM environments.

We propose to improve project process customization by relying on Knowledge Graph (KG) technologies. The use of PM ontologies and semantic reasoning would allow for a more open and flexible representation of PM methods components and integrating the dynamic features of agility with the more static features from concerns surrounding the project environment. Our proposal builds upon the natural evolution by which teams take ownership of Agile methods through an organic and self-organizing process, while ensuring they remain compliant to enterprise policies and meet all obligations for project governance. 

Following an Action Design Research (ADR) methodology, we first integrate several PM ontologies within the Business Technology Management (BTM) Body of Knowledge (BOK) ontology. BTM is a rapidly emerging trans-disciplinary research area and unified profession at the crossroads of business, computing, and engineering disciplines. It seeks to provide an integrated framework for the strategic use of IT and leading digital organizations. This allows us to have a formal representation of PM along with a wide array of IT PM requirements, roles, tasks, processes, and processes. We develop, validate, test, and implement an Ontology Web Language (OWL) to integrate IT and PM methods within a common framework.

Next, we integrate to our PM-BTM ontology a KG representation of the «Essence» SE Standard, adopted in 2014 by the Object Management Group (OMG), an evolution from its 2008 SE standard entitled Software & Systems Process Engineering Metamodel (SPEM 2.0). While the Essence metamodel is focused on 7 “alphas” or components touching on Customer, Solution, and Endeavour, we integrate 6 additional alphas touching on Constraints and Controls, as described in most PM standards. We further integrate this Extended Essence with two of the most popular open- source PM initiatives: the Open Project Management Method (Open PM2) developed by the European Commission, and the Open Project platform that serves as one of the fastest growing alternatives to commercial PM software.

Finally, we develop rule-based queries in SWRL and SQRWL that represent typical PM customization decision parameters. We test these queries on our PM ontology, first supplying a set of IT PM requirements from actual completed projects, and then querying the ontology to verify the most likely logical process recommended. The process is considered an optimal gold standard, against which actual process implementation parameters are compared. We analyze results based on F-measure and Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC) to evaluate the quality of our ontology inference capabilities.

This research may have a significant impact on ensuring greater relevance of academic research for professional practice, and interest of practitioners for academic knowledge as well. The use of semantic reasoning for project process customization may lead to more seamless adoption of agile methods. As well, our results may help a more systematic, exhaustive, and evolving framework for professional practice standards, in service to support IT PM Human Resources Management (HRM). The project aims to make agile, PM, and BTM BOK standards easily accessible, customizable, and reusable for decision-making by IT PM professionals, employers, higher education, and other associations involved with IT-related standards, certification, and accreditation.