A significant part of my engagements involves post-mortems on large, failed technology projects. And out of professional interest, I study public project failures and write case studies about them.
Based on my experience and studies, most of these disasters could have been prevented (or at least anticipated) based on the project’s available information.
While project teams are rarely surprised by the outcomes, sponsoring executives are often unaware of the impending tragedy until it unfolds — and sometimes at the expense of their careers.
One executive decision in particular can move your project from challenged to a full blown disaster. …
I have a very simple metric for determining the health of a project or an organization: the age of issues.
Issues are like fish; when they get old, they stink.
A sure sign of a lack of leadership and upcoming trouble is old issues or issues that take longer than necessary to resolve.
Issues are obstacles that get in the way of execution. It is the project manager’s role to resolve and eliminate these issues as quickly as possible regardless of the owner or the cause.
If the project owner cannot solve it (or doesn’t try) it is up to…
I have done quite a number of inflight reviews and post-mortems of troubled and failed large system implementation projects.
One pattern that emerges very clearly is the one of missing milestones whilst keeping the go-live date the same.
It rarely ends well.
I see it again and again. Important milestones are missed. Sometimes by months.
The ones that are marked as completed have their original scope reduced.
For example system integration tests (SIT) without all interfaces being completed and no production like data.
Or user acceptance testing (UAT) with systems that are not ready or contain so many bugs that…
We all have heard about the disruptions that are impacting our society and the business world: robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, shared economy, blockchain, big data, augmented reality, and so on.
But, there is one disruption affecting our world that media and academia seem to have completely missed.
For decades organizations have been run and structured in a very similar way: hierarchical; in which power, budgets and resources are divided over departments, the so-called “silos”.
Management and management theory was focused on how to run and optimize the business best in an ever during quest for efficiency. …
We’ve all witnessed projects in trouble-the ones that required a quick and firm intervention in need of help from a task force to bring it back on track.
No executive wants to be in such a difficult situation, especially not with one of his or her own projects.
But how do we, as the executive sponsor, handle saving a troubled project? Can it be as simple as mandating a task force?
Let’s start with exploring what a project task force is and when it could be useful.
A project task force starts with a mandate given by the organization’s project…
A new year has just started, but also in 2021 companies will be talking about digital transformation often. I think digital transformation is a terrible description for what is just another transformation. See my article “ Digital Strategy Does Not Exist “ on why that is.
But we shall use the term for a moment to analyze the situation. Digital transformation is nothing new. It is a daily reality for all companies. Some are the disruptors and others are disrupted. And Covid made this even more clear.
All understand that digital transformation-not evolution-is required to maintain a competitive edge. …
I have had many heated discussions around these terms. People mix these up and it confuses your organization and its people.
This is my take on it.
If an organization is running many projects at the same time it is impossible to make the right decisions if all projects are performed in isolation. Therefore projects are managed in logical groups to use resources efficiently and effectively.
There are two kinds of such groups. Programs and portfolios.
The distribution of projects under a program or portfolio depends on the nature and the type of project. …
For many years, organizations, researchers, and practitioners have analyzed how to manage technology projects successfully.
Among them is the Standish Group, which regularly publishes its findings in its Chaos reports. In 1994, Standish reported a shocking project success rate of only 16 percent; another 53 percent of the projects were challenged, and 31 percent failed outright. In subsequent reports, Standish updated its findings, yet the numbers remained troublesome.
The numbers indicate large problems with technology projects and have had an enormous impact on software development and project management.
They suggest that the many efforts and best practices put forward to…
Any system is only as good as how well it is used. If it’s a CRM, ERP, or any other system, when users don’t know how to use the system effectively the benefits of the new system for your organization will be small, or even negative.
This means user enablement is critical to the success of a project.
It is not enough to simply have your new system in place two weeks before your go-live date.
Your users need to know:
1) Why you’re implementing the new system. When it comes to organizational changes and operational logistics, many employees will…
Throughout the past 15 years that I’ve been working as an independent project recovery consultant and interim CIO, I have observed executives’ frustration — even exasperation — with information technology and their IT departments generally. Some of the more common refrains are:
“I don’t understand IT well enough to manage it.” “Although they work hard, my IT people don’t seem to understand the very real business problems we’re facing.”
In fact, the complaint I hear most often from CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and other high-ranking officers, is that they haven’t reaped the business value of their high-priced technology. …
I help C-level executives in the financial service industry with interim management and recovering troubled technology projects.