As Wall Street struggles and economic markets seesaw, it's time to perform preventive maintenance on your IT project machine.
Poorly performing projects waste precious budgets, hurt morale, and pull dollars from ROI-producing activities. Follow these steps to ensure that manageable problems don't become expensive failures:
1. Examine the portfolio
The first step is establishing systematic criteria against which you can evaluate your portfolio. Some examples include:
- Value. Rank your projects on a relative scale of significance to the business. Let's face it, some projects matter more than others and you identify the most important ones.
- Risk. All things being equal, keep the projects you can finish easily and successfully. Balancing project risk against strategic business value is a critical part of this equation.
- ROI. Determine which projects offer the clearest financial benefits to the organization. Conversely, take a hard look at projects offering murky financial returns that can't be quantified.
2. Gain consensus to reduce trauma
Natural selection is an important part of ongoing portfolio maintenance. Not all projects are created equal, making periodic reviews both desirable and healthy. That said, many organizations have difficulty stopping any project mid-stream.
Given reluctance to interfere with ongoing projects, it's important help your team recognize the need for action. To make that process easier, remind colleagues that it's far better to kill a marginal project today than to face an enormous failure tomorrow.
3. Pull the plug decisively
Having identified the poor project performers and gotten the team to agree, it's time to pull the plug.
Make your decision, line up whatever support you might need, and then just do it. Be prepared to explain your logic and reasoning to the naysayers but move forward as planned.
Let's face it, killing troubled projects is neither fun nor easy. However, it's a natural process and key part of preventive maintenance for your IT portfolio.
[Image via MJ Mechanical Services.]