IT projects have a reputation for spinning out of control and eventually failing. The good news is that it is possible to overcome this perceived susceptibility to failure. Project managers who embrace a disciplined approach can reduce risks and successfully achieve project goals.
Research has shown that four factors largely determine implementation outcome:
- Level of User Involvement – User engagement from start through implementation, beginning with the design and continuing through operation of the business solution. The proper level of engagement will positively affect results.
- Management Support and Commitment – If an IT project has the full backing and commitment of management at all levels, it is more likely to be perceived positively by both users and the IT staff. Both groups will believe that participation in the development process will receive a higher level of attention and priority.
- Level of Complexity and Risk – Systems differ dramatically in size, scope, level of complexity, organizational impact, and technical characteristics. The greater the complexity, the greater the risk; therefore you should tailor the process to the specific project.
- Management of the Implementation Process – The development of a new business solution must be carefully managed and orchestrated. Make time and budget for training, onboarding, troubleshooting, and day-to-day items that crop up.
Project management is a collection of techniques and practices for planning and controlling activities designed to achieve a specific goal. A well-constructed project plan should include criteria for cost, schedule, and performance; project managers can make intelligent trade-off decisions to balance these three criteria. For example, if it becomes necessary for a project to be completed early, the schedule can be compressed by increasing the cost of the project or decreasing the performance of the project’s outcome.
To avoid becoming another IT project statistic, consider the following questions:
- Are you using formalized mechanisms and best practices to manage all ongoing IT projects?
- Are you providing clear communication of IT project status to all constituents?
- Are business process owners actively involved in IT projects?
- Are you able to manage scope and expectations of critical projects?
- Do you have a record of completing projects on time and under budget?
- Is there a periodic assessment and optimization of IT project portfolios in relationship to business objectives?
To ensure successful growth of your IT initiatives, pay close attention to every phase of implementation, and get enterprise wide buy-in to ensure long-term achievement.