Avoiding IT Project Failure

Summary:Writer Andy McCue of Silicon.com offers some helpful comments on avoiding failure on large IT projects: The software itself is now rarely the cause of [huge failures], the root cause of which can more often be linked to the massive business and process change associated with implementing an ERP system.

Writer Andy McCue of Silicon.com offers some helpful comments on avoiding failure on large IT projects:

The software itself is now rarely the cause of [huge failures], the root cause of which can more often be linked to the massive business and process change associated with implementing an ERP system.

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Dale Vile, research director at analyst Freeform Dynamics, said problems with the business and process change often come when organisations hand over the implementation of the system to someone else, which leads to misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities.

He said: “The most critical imperative is to regard the implementation as your own. The biggest danger comes when organisations delegate responsibility to their implementation partner. Remain in the driving seat and don’t put it in the hands of someone else.”

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Vile agreed that a big pitfall is often trying to do too much in one go. “The change requests should be challenged against the business objectives - be led by the business objectives and what the software can do,” he said.

The final key piece of best practice advice for a major SAP rollout is to make the system as “vanilla” as possible - that is to say using the standard off-the-shelf package with as little customisation as is feasible.

Vile said: “The golden rule is only deviate from the standard functionality in areas that really matter.”

Key takeaway message 1: IT project failures more often arise from business, rather than technical, issues and challenges.  Read through the pages of this blog, and you’ll find numerous examples of poor planning, poor execution, and poor management. These are simply not technical problems. 

Key takeaway message 2: Retain control of your own destiny. No matter how good the consultants, the locus of control on the project should always remain with you. If you aren’t clear on why the consultants recommend a particular strategy, then ask. The best consultants will welcome your questions, and carefully work through the issues with you.

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Software

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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