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Project Management in IT

The topic is something discussed, debated and explored quite often. I would like to hear from esteemed members here and see if we get to any new ideas/perspectives than what is usually covered in the materials available over Internet.

Here is the topic: Why are many IT projects perceived as problematic (if not out right failures)?

I'll start with my take. In many of the cases, the IT eco system is much quite complex and there are hardly any standards (like in the field of Cellular systems) leading to a lot more options to plan these projects. However, it is exactly the abundance of choice that spoils the planning and introduces chaos. Secondly, when I look at IT projects in the Telecommunications industry, a lot of IT projects are initiated in a hurry. So, many projects do not get the time to plan in a way that is required by the complexity. I do believe that it is possible to plan an IT project well enough to lead it to a successful completion.

How do you see this?
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IT projects require the same, if not more rigor than any construction projects out there. They are the Same as Construction projects.

For example Construction projects need requisite government/council approvals, compliance and license approvals, Land and Soil testing, Legal help (Conveyancing) , survey, architecture, designs, Build in a sequence of activities, handover and warranty arrangements.

IT projects also require Business case approval, applicable Regulatory, Security and Legal compliance, procurement and contracts using Legal experts, Solution Architectures and Designs, Build and Testing , Detailed Deployment Plans, Go Live and Handover activities.

It is important to understand that whether you are working on a technology enabled project or not, the end goal is to deliver it on time, within budget, with minimal changes , Quality product with meticulous planning and customer engagement.

The abundance of choice in no way , shape or form stops the IT Project Manager from protecting the Project Scope or insufficient planning.

IT is very important , even in IT Projects to avoid the Halo Effect and recruit the best architect or developer as a Project Manager

The discipline and the science of project management does not require the Project Manager to be a Technology expert to lead an IT Project .

In the same way , the CIO does not need to be a Technical expert but have enough knowledge of IT but more of business acumen , management , leadership skills

They still need to have some form of IT Education or degree but then they need management and leadership skills.

You need project leaders and teams not to be scared of technology but embrace it and understand that you are solving a business problem or objective and you need to drive technology to your benefit , not let technology drive you.

In addition to some great points by Deepesh.

A challenge often faced in IT is verifying and validating that the proposed initiative serves a purpose, is solving a business problem, and aligns with the organization's direction and strategy. IT cannot simply 'do stuff' because someone thought it would be a good idea. That cause disparate rogue solutions dispersed in the ecosystem, creating double work for producing it and migrating. If there is no true, aligned, business need, there will be no realized benefit from the effort.

There is only one key thing that is critical to understand: the software intangibility That is what makes all IT and software related projects quit different. .

Good project management is not enough for IT projects to succeed. Many IT projects, especially those that require a great deal of creativity depend heavily on technical expertise and of course on the creativity of the technical experts that work on such projects.

It is not uncommon for technical experts (even for good ones) to figure out in the middle of the project that the approach that they have taken is not good and there is the need to go back to the drawing board and start over with a better solution.

What can project management do in such a situation? How can the PM ensure that the project is delivered in time when the technical experts decide to start all over?

But that's not all. When you deliver an IT project, even when you use Agile techniques for software development projects, the users may figure out that what the project had delivered was not what they wanted. If the acceptance is obtained and money are paid the PM may be happy and consider the project a success but the project would be a big failure in reality.

IT is too complex and good project management is not enough to guarantee the success. Good planning of course helps a lot but it is not enough. If perfect planning had existed (it does not) it still wouldn't have been enough to guarantee the success of an IT project, especially one that requires software development or other type of creative work.

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