5 ways to prevent IT failure

Summary:Rather than acknowledge their own management shortcomings, project participants often blame technology for failed IT projects. This denial commonly arises when an organization's culture uses blame, and the corresponding implicit threat of job loss, as a political weapon. Denial aside, most failures arise from poor management rather than bad technology. Here are five management tips to prevent IT failure.

5 avoidable reasons IT projects fail

Rather than acknowledge their own management shortcomings, project participants often blame technology for failed IT projects. This denial commonly arises when an organization's culture uses blame, and the corresponding implicit threat of job loss, as a political weapon. Denial aside, most failures arise from poor management rather than bad technology. Here are five management tips to prevent IT failure.

From an interview with this blogger in Baseline magazine:

Sure, falling in love with technology can cause big project headaches, but rarely does technology alone cause an IT project to fail.

“Yes, IT sometimes falls in love with its technology, but most failures come about, not as a result of the technology, but as a result of the management of technology,” says Michael Krigsman of Asuret, a project management consultancy based in Brookline, Mass. “The consequences of failure can be dramatic, from a technical standpoint and especially from a business standpoint. And the sad part is that most of these failures could be avoided.”

Here's Baseline's list of five ways to avoid failure:

  1. Lack of preparation. One of the most obvious reasons a project fails is poor planning at the outset. Managers who fail to properly scope a project, apply risk management principles and plan in time for quality assurance and security assurance are courting ruin.
  2. Business misfit. Even when an IT project is implemented beautifully, it can be a failure. If a technology or a process doesn’t fit with the business needs or sync with the way the organization operates the project has the potential to be a waste of money.
  3. Unilateral decision making. When IT fails to involve business leaders while planning new initiatives that affect business operations, the technology department risks a business misfit.
  4. Inflexibility. Unfortunately, some IT projects can be so rigid that they fail to allow the business to change processes or adjust to new situations quickly enough to profit from them. This inflexibility is a project killer.
  5. Scope creep. Lack of preparation typically begets the kitchen-sink syndrome, where project leaders add in every kind of feature and the kitchen sink to boot.

Perhaps you think these points are intuitively obvious and suggest nothing new? If so, take a close at your own organization's track record on IT execution. Obvious problems, such as those described above, often fuel IT failures, which is why such lists are important.

If your organization has had IT failure issues, then study the list as a starting point to cut through denial and become more successful.

Topics: CXO

About

Michael Krigsman is recognized internationally as an analyst, strategy advisor, enterprise advocate, and blogger. For CIOs and IT leadership, he addresses issues such as innovation, business transformation, project-related business objectives and strategy, and vendor planning. For enterprise software vendors and venture-funded star... Full Bio

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