Sample Research Paper on Project Management

Project Proposal: To Look How Project Management is used to Manage Risks of the DOTA2 Shanghai Masters by Valve



Technology has transformed the world of communication to a level that was unimaginable in some years back. Today, internet has become a way of life for millions of people who depend on it to make a living. The development of the various mobile Applications has enabled people to interact with different environments for purposes of seeking information, business transactions and entertainment through video games and accessing music. The increasing need, especially among the young people, has led to the development of video games that has impacted significantly on the growth of the entertainment industry. It is this growing need that Valve Corporation, a gaming company in China, utilized to develop DOTA 2, a video game that is played by two teams comprising of five members each.

However, the continually evolving technology presents both opportunities and risks to the technological tools developed. Even though the technology provides a platform for innovation, cyber crime activities equally rise that pose a threat to collapse the systems. Cyber crime, simply defined, is the use of technological tools to gain unauthorized access to computer systems. Dashora (2011) describes cyber as the latest and most complicated forms of crime where either the computer become the object or subject in constituting a crime. The DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve therefore, is by a design a soft target to cyber crimes that involve hacking or jamming the system in a manner that make it slower or collapse.

According to Pfeiffer (2015), however, the risk challenges facing the technological systems are not only human made, but also result from natural technical hitches that may affect a system. The systems are prone to systems failures that affect the normal functioning of the system including the software, hardware or the integrated systems. Additionally, the risks may result from the failure of the internal processes to execute the programs. This may result from a poor design of the system or faulty process controls. Additionally, there exists a risk from external events that may include general infrastructural failures, service dependencies and legal issues concerning property rights.

Cyber-security risks are described as the most pervasive and complicated of the technological risks (Pfeiffer, p 10). The attack on the operating system may lead to data loss or corruption of data stored in the systems. The data on participants of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve regarding their personal information may then be used to target the individuals in a series of criminal activities.  Additionally, the cyber criminals may jam the system to prevent access to the game, in a bid to hold the developers at ransom for a consideration in order to end the attack. Additionally, they technological tools face legal risks that may come from individuals affected from a technology failure. Legal risks may also non compliance with the state regulations. Moreover, system failures pose a risk of collapse or damage to the technological tools. The failures may results from technological breakdowns due to sudden loss of capacity to run the program or ineffective backup systems.

According to RSA network security provider (2016), cyber crime rates have increased to alarming rates. The publication which reports on the state of cyber crime in the United States in the year 2015, indicates that mobile transactions takes up to 45% of the transactions held in the U.S. Consequently, the rate of cyber crime activities originating from mobile phones increased by 61% in the same year.  However, it is reported that the mobile fraud increased by 173% between the years 2013 to 2015.  The report indicates that ransomware, a crime that take the shape of the real world extortion where the criminals demand for a price in order to return the stolen data, will continue to increase and put lives and data at risk. The face of these data however represents the current situation all over the world, and as such, there is a reason to be worried.

According to Finklea & Theohary (2015), little effort has been put by the state Governments to independently define cyber crime, a fact that has derailed the creation of policies combating the cyber crimes. However, Li (2015) notes that the Chinese Government have a history of fighting cyber crime beginning from the 1980s, and has so far taken steps to ensure content filtering and monitoring online activity. The Government has also recruited cyber police and invested heavily on security technology and surveillance of internet users. The steps, understandably, are as a result of the high crime rates in China where up to 217 million Chinese had fallen victims of the criminal act by the first half of 2011 (Kshetri, 2013)

Despite of the actions taken by the Governments to fight cyber security risks, a lot more yet needs to be done by the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve developers in order to reduce operational and legal risks and to reduce the systems’ susceptibility to fall for the cyber crimes. Pfeiffer, (p 8) underscores the role of a risk management team as to identifying the risks and accessing their relative impact on the system, devising strategies to mitigate them and constantly reviewing the operationalization of the risk management plan. The risk management team, which Pfeiffer (p 18) defines as technological proficiency, is the project management. As Pfeiffer describes, the role of project management in reducing the risks is to ensure that technological policy guidelines are adhered to. This is to minimize legal risks of compliance. Additionally, it ensures liaison with the Government authorities in the approval of the technological plans that factor strategies for managing risk and are consistent with the goals of the organization. Moreover, the plan ensures that staffs with technical expertise and recruited and continually trained in order to avoid any compromise, and lastly, the technical competence supported by the resources, both human and financial, that ensure sound practices in the management of the technological tool.

Thesis Statement

With the full knowledge of the risks challenging the successful execution and functionality of DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve, this research seek to establish the role and effectiveness of project management as an approach to risk management to neutralize the risks. This will be one through conducting a survey on the developers, video game players and technological security experts. The main aim will be achieved through a breakdown of several specific research objectives.  The successful management of risks is vital for ensuring the sequence and security for the audience, to boost investor confidence and to ensure uninterrupted continuation of the tournaments and other programs initiated by the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve


Research Objectives

  1. To investigate the role of project management in the overall success of technological systems.
  2. To establish the role of project management in reducing risk challenges threatening the success of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve.
  3. To establish the effectiveness of project management as a risk management approach to the challenges threatening the success of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve.
  4. To access the impact of risk management in the successful execution of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve.

Research Questions

  1. What is the role of project management in the overall success of technological systems?
  2. What is the role of project management in reducing risk challenges threatening the success of DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve?
  3. How effective is project management as a risk management approach to the challenges threatening the success of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve?
  4. What is the impact of risk management in the successful execution of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve?



Bodicha (2015) define project management as a tool that helps in the efficient and effective execution of designated projects. He notes however, that the mere application of project management tools is not a guarantee to the success of the project. Project managers therefore, have to identify critical issues that can impede the success of the project, and mitigate them accordingly. Bodicha (p 100) notes the societies’ strong belief in project success and their little tolerance to failures which have increasingly exerted pressure on the project managers to ensure success by minimizing possibilities of failures. Project managers therefore concern themselves with the identification of the possible project risks and their effective management.

The need for risk management strategies is as a result of the project complexity that is brought about by the defined project start and finish dates (Bodicha, p 102). Understandably, the actual finish date of a project is largely dependent on the risk management strategies put in place to ensure project completion within the constraints of scope, including, costs, time and quality. Regardless of the differences in the type of project undertaken, there are risks and uncertainties that affect their respective success. Project management, therefore, serves to foresee possible dangers, plan, organize and mitigate the uncertainties so that he project is executing and successfully completed. Bodicha further identifies that the practice of project management can be traced back to mid1950s when the US Navy was concerned the research, development and manufacturing for the Polaris Missile project. Since the project was faced with high uncertainties  in determining possible time of completion and likely costs to be incurred, they used a mathematical model called Programme Evaluation Review Technique, that factored in the scenarios of optimism, pessimism, and most likely to estimate the cost and completion time.

Given that the objective of any project contribute to the good of the organization, understanding the project from the risk point of view is critical. While the traditional views defined project success on whether it is completed in time, within the budget and of required quality, this has since been expanded by other scholars to the maintainability and sustainability of the project, whether it is reliable, valid, is of good quality and benefits the organization. Accordingly, the supposed success can be reflected by general improved effectiveness and efficiency, increased profits, overall growth of the organization and increased benefit to the stakeholders.

The project management process also involves the identification of critical success factors and optimally utilizing them to reduce prospective risks (Bodicha, p 103). The success factors include a clear definition of project goals, having a detailed plan of the project, clear definition of risk mitigation strategies, obtaining support of the management, maintaining client communication and acceptance at all stages of the project, having a team with technical competence in the project area, the flexibility in dealing with uncertain risks that may arise, and the management commitment to the effective management of risks. Even though the absence of these success factors may contribute to the project failure, it is observed that their existence does not guarantee the success.

According to Junior & de Carvalho (2013), risk is a threat that arise from the uncertainties, and as such, no matter the planning put in place to curb risks, they cannot control the chance of an event occurring. Uncertainty, therefore, bridges the gap between what is know and what is unknown, since probability values can be assigned to it to predict the chance of the unknown occurring. Project managers, therefore need to identify the uncertainties into their categories and devise strategies to mitigate them. The categories, in this respect include the variable uncertainties which result from the variations of the known constrains of scope including cost and timeframe, the foreseeable uncertainties from factors that affect the project in predictable ways, unforeseen uncertainties that result from unpredictable factors that affect the project, and chaos which arise from a total confusion due to the occurrence of unpredictable actors. The project managers therefore should focus in managing the uncertainties from which risks arise.

In a research study that aimed and understanding the importance of risk management in the success of projects, among the four hypotheses put across, two of them that directly related to the project risk management and success of the project were, that the perception of project success is not influenced by the project risk management, and that the perception on the success of a project is not influenced by the type of project undertaken (Junior & de Carvalho, p 69). However, it was revealed that perception of the success of a project is positively impacted by the risk management processes, techniques and tools. It was also revealed that they type of project being undertaken positively impacts the perception of risks and hence, the success of the project. In view of the findings, the research suggests the need for project managers to hire risk management professionals to manage the risks.

Too & Weaver (2014) introduces a new perspective on the role of project management on reduction of risks. They argue that the practice of project management has increasingly been adopted by the management of organizations for the purpose of portfolio management in order to meet the broader strategic priorities of the organizations. The governance role of management in the project management is instigated by the economic pressures to reduce the time taken to deliver the project into the market, and consequently, reduce payback period. Project management for governance purposes, enables organizations to make ethical decisions and managerial actions based on accountability, transparency and defined roles. Governance ensures the right projects which are consistent with the organization’s priorities are approved, and necessary financial support is obtained to sustain the project. This process result in the specification of the various interests of the stakeholders in the project, procedures for decision making and defined and clearly laid down, and strategic framework is developed to ensure the right projects are selected for implementation.

Additionally, project management through governance provides an oversight and assurance to the project implementation. This happens through defining the project’s contribution to the overall strategic objectives of the organization, constant review and modification of strategies in accordance with the environmental changes, monitoring of the projects’ performance within the strategic plan, the effective management of the project resources, and constantly keeping in touch with the project stakeholders including the owners and the relevant authorities. O’Brien & Haskins (2014) also add that, the governance role ensures that the portfolio is well optimized to maximize returns, embrace flexibility to environmental changes, create a good working environment from the project team, and provide direction by advising on risk issues. Project management therefore, enables the organization through governance to mitigate risks by ensuring all the appropriate procedures are followed. Apart from mitigating the physical risk, the organization also guards its reputation by providing assurance to the stakeholders.

Project Institute Management (2010) underscores the role of project management as a method and strategy to mitigate risk, reducing costs, and ensure success of the projects which are all important to improving the competitive edge. PMI mentions a report which revealed that many organizations invests in project management as a due diligence measure, to review and assess risks, and to frequently measure both the qualitative and quantitative project outcomes. Furthermore, it is observed that implementing project management helps in creative a strategic value chain which gives the organizations a competitive edge against their competitors, especially in the high risk markets. Delivering quality projects in the market within the designated time frame and budget give companies a head start in the competitive market. Keleckaite & Meiliene (2015) add that application of best project management practices ensure increased customer satisfaction better decision making and progressive improvements are made easier.

According to O’Brien & Haskins (2014) only 2.5% of the projects are successfully completed to 100%, while most of them fail either when overrun by average costs, breakdown in communications, lack of proper planning of resources and activities. Among the major factors that increase risks that ultimately collapse the project are identified as changes in scope in the middle of project implementation, poor projection of estimates during the planning process, the inadequacy of resources to complete the project, poor planning of the implementation. Additionally, lack of flexibility of the project plans to the changing environment, the change of environment and ineffective and unreliable suppliers also cause failure of projects. These failures do not only result to financial losses, but also result into high opportunity cost, affects employee morale, reduced company motivation to undertake following projects, and most importantly, injures the company image and perception in the market (O’Brien & Haskins, p 18).

To effectively manage risks therefore, the project management team need to identify the risks and design strategies to mitigate them. However, this process begins by establishing the goals of the project and understanding its environmental context (Berg, 2010). This would involve conducting a SWOT analysis to identify the environmental factors pertinent to the issue. This would be followed by identifying the possible risks through the analysis of the weaknesses and threats facing the project. Moreover, the risks are assessed and evaluated. This involves assessing the source of the risk and estimation of the extent of the likely damage it might cause, or whether it can be ignored. Additionally, applicable strategies are developed to mitigating, avoiding or retaining it depending on the outcome of the assessment.  Moreover, a post implementation review is done to evaluate the outcomes of mitigating the risk, and alternative strategies adopted where necessary.

Summary of Literature Review

Empirical studies have demonstrated the importance of project management in the risk management and in ensuring the overall success of the project. The benefits which come by the practice are equally vital in ensuring customer satisfaction, increased profitability and the maintenance of the organizations’ public image, which influences investor decisions. The analyses of these studies therefore provide a strong base for making a case for the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve. As a technological tool which equally continues to attract interests from investors and participants alike, investigating the role of project management in reducing risks that may affect it is indeed of a noble cause.



The research will utilize both qualitative and quantitative techniques to collect data. Quantitative techniques will be used to collect data relating to quantities such as the number of times the operating system of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve has gone down, and the extent of loss realized. It would also be used to capture other costs including legal costs as a result of non compliance if any. Qualitative techniques on the other hand would be used to capture the respondents’ feelings and perceptions regarding the relevance and impact of project management on the functionality of DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve.

The data will be subjected to tests of validity and reliability to ensure their accuracy, consistency and authenticity. Specifically, quantitative data would be tested through test-retest where the data collection tools will be repeatedly administered to check whether the results are consistent and whether the data collected are the desired results. On the other hand, the data collected on perceptions, personal experiences, beliefs and perspectives would be subjected to authenticity and trustworthiness to verify their validity and reliability.

Data Collection Tools

The following collection tools will be applied in obtaining data.

Secondary Sources

More of literature and theoretical review will be done using the available materials including publishes research articles and Government documentations. These materials will enable the researcher to have a wider perspective and approach to risk management. Additionally, government publication will give accurate data on cyber crime rates. Analysis of publications by Valve Corporation on risk mitigation strategies will also be done. Bryman (2012) not only describes this method as cost and time effective, but also enables the researcher to interact with quality data. However, data collected from these sources faces challenges on their validity and reliability. This is because they are prone to obsolesce with time. To ascertain that they are still valid and reliable, confirmation tests will be done to ensure they are relevant and are from credible sources before using them to inform this research.

Participant Observation

This data collection tool uses a combination of methods to collect data in an organized group of respondents (Bryman, p 432). The technique involves listening to what is said in the conversations, observing behavior, asking questions, taking notes, taking photographs and recording videos where necessary. The researcher plans to bring together stakeholder and other interested parties ranging from project managers, risk management experts and the Valve Corporation in focus groups to discuss the relationship between project management and managing risks challenges likely to face DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve. Structured interviews will be conducted specifically targeting the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve management and risk and project management expert. Additionally, semi-structured interviews will be conducted targeting the game participants. During all these engagements, the researcher will keenly observe their perceptions, feelings and behaviors, and take notes. Video recording will also be used after obtaining the respondents’ consent so as to capture specific reactions for later analysis.


Questionnaires that are well structured will be administered to the identified respondents. Random sampling will be used to identify the respondents during the DOTA 2 tournaments. The decision to use this tool during the tournaments is informed by the fact that most, if not everyone, participates or have participated in the game and therefore they have personally experience the functionality of the DOTA 2 Shanghai Masters by Valve. However, a pilot study would first be done to test the functionality of this tool, as to whether it gives the desire results. This tool would capture respondents’ personal experiences, perception about its risk management.

Data Analysis

Analysis of quantitative data will be done through a combination of the SPSS, the Computer-Assisted technique, and Microsoft Excel. These will help in regression analysis and to generate descriptive statistics including standard deviations, frequency distribution tables. The purpose of the tool is to help in determination of and analysis of risks. Graphs and charts will be generated to represent the situation, including the extent of reduction of risk with the introduction of project management. The researcher will also take note of statistical errors to allowable degrees. Qualitative data, on the other hand would be analyzed by triangulation and integrate the findings that enable arriving at an authoritative conclusion.


Ethical issues concerning how researches handle respondents have today become of concern Bryman (130).  The researcher will engage in any actions that contravene ethical issues. Firstly, the researcher will seek informed consent of the respondents before administering the research too. The researcher will explain frankly the purpose of the study and why the participants’ views are important. In addition, participants’ personal information will not be captured in any other forms. The researcher also undertakes to commit that video recordings will only be taken after seeking the participants consent, and any publication of any photos of the video would not be published before obtaining rights to do so. Furthermore, given the risks associated with the study, the researcher will take necessary steps to ensure the insurance cover is in place to take care of any uncertainties that may arise.



Berg, H.P. (2010). Risk Management: Procedures, Methods, and Experiences. Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, Salzgitter, Germany. Pp 79-95

Bodicha, H.H. (2015). How to Measure the Effect of Project Risk Management Process on the Success of Construction Projects: A Critical Literature Review. The International Journal Of Business & Management, Vol 3, Issue 12. Pp 99-112

Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods (4th Ed.). New York. Oxford University Press. 1-341, 377-588

Dashora, K. (2011).  Cyber Crime in the Society: Problems and Preventions. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, Vol 3, No 1, 240-259.

Finklea, K. & Theohary, C.A. (2015, January 15). Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement. Congressional Research Service

Junior, R.R. & de Carvalho, M.M. (2013). Understanding the Impact of Project Risk Management on Project Performance:  an Empirical Study. Journal of Technology Management and Innovation, Volume 8, Special Issue ALTEC. Pp 64-78

Keleckaite, M.  & Meilene, E. (2015). The Importance of Project Management Methodologies and Tools in Non-Governmental Organizations: Case Study of Lithuania and Germany. Project Management Word Journal, Vol. IV, Issue VII. (2nd Ed). Pp 1-17

Kshetri, Nir (2013). “Cybercrime and Cyber-security Issues Associated with China: Some Economic and Institutional Considerations” Electronic Commerce Research 13 (1): 41-69.

Li, X. (2015, December 2). Regulation of Cyber Space: An Analysis of Chinese Law on Cyber Crime. International Journal of Cyber Criminology Vol 9 Issue 2. Tallinn University, Estonia

O’Brien, D. & Haskins, L. (2014). Project Management: Improving performance, reducing risk. PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Pp 1-31

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The Project Management Institute. (2010). The Value of Project Management. Pp 1-6

Too, E.G. & Weaver, P. (2014). The management of project management: A conceptual framework for project governance. International Journal of Project Management, Vol 32, Issue 8. Pages 1382–1394.

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