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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Government Report Says IT projects almost always fail to deliver?

In my other blog I talk about how a Government Report Says IT projects almost always fail to deliver? Yet why should IT projects be any different to normal projects?

In reality they are but the principles of project success can be snatched from the jaws of such project defeat.

The government has compiled a list of excuses for project failure. It's a white paper called "Common Causes of Project Failure". These eight causes may be summarized as follows:

  1. Lack of links to an organisation's strategy
  2. Lack of management ownership and leadership
  3. Lack of involvement of stakeholders
  4. Lack of skills
  5. Lack of proper project plans
  6. Supplier chosen on price, not ability
  7. Lack of senior supplier contact
  8. Lack of effective project team integration

These causes have repeated themselves through many government and commercial projects. In fact you see them in failed or failing projects that don't have an IT element in them.

Note that 7 of the eight items starts with a lack of something.

You should only start a project when all the lacks you've identified have been resolved. These lacks are often called risks.

That is the usual downfall of a project: a risk that was thought to be resolved reappears, or a low level risk suddenly changes character and becomes a high level risk or an unforeseen risk occurs.

What should you do about it?

Keep monitoring your risk register.

If you want to have my own risk register/monitor send an email to web (AT) with the word "risk" in the subject and I'll be pleased to send you a copy.

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