aNewDomain.net – IT is certainly not immune to projects collapsing and going down in flames. Some research asserts that only one in eight IT projects is considered successful by meeting original time, cost and quality requirements criteria.
Sometimes it may even seem that a project is doomed long before it’s completed, yet the project continues regardless. That’s why it’s helpful to know the signs of an IT project failure long before things fall apart at the seams. The following are some tell-tale signs your IT project may be doomed.
No detailed project plan exists
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Any IT project with an estimated timeline longer than two weeks should have a solid, detailed project plan that forces stakeholders to follow the necessary phases and steps. If you don’t have a plan yourself, get senior buy-in before moving forward.
ROI doesn’t drive the technology investment decision
“The larger the company, the greater there is a chance that what drives tech investments isn’t what’s best for the business, but rather what’s best for the decision-maker’s career,” according to InformationWeek. And in large companies, those two factors rarely align.
“Rare is the executive who puts the company’s interests before his or her own (financial stability, career progression, personal brand building),” the articles states. “And that kind of behavior isn’t exclusive to executives; it’s pervasive from the boardroom to the mailroom.”
“Communication is the most important factor of successful project management,” says Tim Parkin, President of Parkin Web Development, in PC Advisor. “Without regularly and clearly communicating, the project will fall apart.” When a project or team leader schedules meetings suddenly, or that are in conflict with the schedules of others involved in the project, the project may be on the fast track to failure.
The solution is simple, says InfoWorld. Spend time before scheduling project meetings to learn the calendars of important team members. Publicizing the meeting times so that others don’t accidentally schedule over those times is also smart. You can even send reminders a week in advance of the upcoming meeting.
Users have had little, or no, early involvement
Tech pros are taught to involve users early on in the decision-making process of a project. Yet managers of many large and complex projects neglect to do this. Ensure real users are invited to the project from the beginning, suggests InfoWorld. The more involvement from users, the greater the chance a project will succeed. Participating users should be aware of the project’s objectives and feel they can voice their real opinion.
A lack of flexibility
You may think the project plan is solid and needs few changes. But it’s important to remain flexible, says Carol Woolfe, Project Manager at Blackbaud, in PC Advisor. “It’s good at various intervals to step back and take a fresh look at the overall project, review how things have gone so far, and how you can improve your future work based on what’s already changed along the way,” she said.
Not Having a System for Approving and Tracking Changes
“Often, success or failure of a project hinges on the changes that occur after it begins,” notes Christen Bergerud, Executive Vice President of EcoSys, in PC Advisor. Yet all too often no system is in place for approving and tracking changes. “Having a clear process that must be followed is the best way to ensure the pertinent details – how much it will cost, why it is necessary, the impact on the overall project – are known before the change is approved. It’s also extremely effective for auditing performance during and after project completion.”