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With most failed information technology projects, the failures were planned to happen from the start. A good IT project plan has several key drivers for success.
Each year companies and institutions spend millions of dollars on infrastructure and software development project. Astonishingly, only about one third of all IT projects are completed on time and on budget. In fact 70% are stopped in mid-stream and or on average they are 189% over budget. Unless you are playing baseball where 30% or hitting 300 is considered great – these numbers are not encouraging!
There are many reasons why IT projects fail.
The 10 Most Common Reasons For IT Project Failures
Actually I prefer to take a positive approach and look at these reasons for failure as opportunities to improve project success. They should be addressed in the planning stage.
- User input — Lack of or poor user input will doom you to failure.
There is a famous saying a wise man once said… “Garbage in = Garbage out ”.
- Corporate Culture — The IT Project Plan must address business, technical and cultural issues in addition to the project functions and deliverables.
Your corporate culture can determine how well you focus on projects and how easy it is to share resources between departments.
- Senior Management Support — Make sure senior management is committed financially and politically.
I am a firm believer that if you have C-level (“chief” or highest-level executive) support for a project, you are half way home.
- Scope Definition — Detailed project scope definition will minimize scope creep and eliminate time and budget overruns.
Avoid scope creep – Adding features and functionality without addressing the effects on time, cost, and resources or without customer approval.” — PMBOK ® Guide Third Edition
- Project Timelines — Be realistic with timelines. Cutting corners and delivering less than anticipated is not the solution to meeting timelines.
Unrealistic time lines are one of the major enemies of project success
- Lack of Adequate Resources — Getting adequate resources is a must. Assigning the “right ” resource for the task at hand will help ensure a successful IT project.
Adequate resourcing depends on senior management support.
- Incomplete or Changing Requirements — A common occurrence in most projects and therefore must be addressed at the planning stage and the project plan must deal with mitigating the impact.
To increase the chances of success you should employ the services of a qualified Business Analyst (BA) to develop requirements that meet the goals of the project and the organization.
- Lack of Leadership — Project managers are notorious for having outstanding technical skills. But while their technical skills are highly developed, often their interpersonal skills are not. This is often the reason for many a project failure.
Hiring an experienced, business oriented, project manager will greatly improve the possibility of success.
- Effective Communications — The more information everyone has the better they can contribute to the success of the project.
“Need to Know ” applies to everyone associated with the project.
- Stakeholder Management — Staying in constant contact. Keep them informed – not surprised.
Focused communications is the best way to manage stakeholders.
Devoting the necessary time and effort to address the above opportunities will lay a solid foundation for building a good IT project plan that will drive project success. The time and effort invested addressing these topics will pay handsome dividends during project execution. The plan is your compass and your key to project success. So, like a popular sneaker ad says – “Just do it! ”
In my upcoming blogs, I will be addressing each of these opportunities specifically and how good IT project planning can drive success.