Making sense of business analytics in project selection and prioritisation: insights from the start-up trenches

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Zamani, Efpraxia D.
Griva, Anastasia
Spanaki, Konstantina
O'Raghallaigh, Paidi
Sammon, David
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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Purpose: The study aims to provide insight in the sensemaking process and the use of business analytics (BA) for project selection and prioritisation in start-up settings. A major focus is on the various ways start-ups can understand their data through the analytical process of sensemaking. Research Methods: This is a comparative case study of two start-ups that use BA in their projects. We follow an interpretive approach and draw from the constructivist Grounded Theory Method (GTM) approach for the purpose of data analysis, whereby the theory of Sensemaking functions as the sensitising device that supports us in the interpretation of our data. Findings: The key findings lie within the scope of project selection and prioritisation, where the sensemaking process is implicitly influenced by each start-up’s strategy and business model. BA help start-ups notice changes within their internal and external environment and focus their attention on the more critical questions along the lines of their processes, operations and business model. However, BA alone cannot support decision-making around less structured problems such as project selection and prioritisation, where intuitive judgement and personal opinion are still heavily used. Originality/value: Our study extends the research on business analytics (BA) applied in organisations as tools for business development. Specifically, we draw on the literature of BA tools in support of project management from multiple perspectives. The perspectives include but are not limited to project assessment and prioritisation. We view the decision-making process and the path from insight to value, as a sensemaking process, where data become part of the sensemaking roadmap and BA help start-ups navigate the decision-making process.
Business analytics , Software development , Sensemaking , Start-up , Project prioritisation , Project selection
Zamani, E. D., Griva, A., Spanaki, K., O'Raghallaigh, P. and Sammon, D. (2021) 'Making sense of business analytics in project selection and prioritisation: insights from the start-up trenches', Information Technology and People. doi: 10.1108/ITP-09-2020-0633
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