On April 7, 2006, I wrote my first blog post, titled Poor, Poor FBI, describing an ill-fated FBI project called the Virtual Case File. That article kicked off a writing spree, which continues to this day, of more than 1,000 pieces on ZDNet and elsewhere.
Today, I’m extending the IT failures mandate to include broader set of topics related to enterprise success, organizational transformation, social business, and CIO leadership. Although a broadened focus is important to me, this blog will continue to include study and analysis of IT failures.
After six and a half years, it is gratifying to see far greater interest in IT failures than in the past. Although my efforts helped bring attention to this problem, there are now excellent journalists, authors, and bloggers writing about IT failures on a regular basis. Among these are reporter Chris Kanaracus, entrepreneur/author Gene Kim, consultant/author Todd Williams, and system integrator Erik Kimberling.
In almost all cases, IT failures arise from organizational issues rather than technical or software problems. For this reason, resolving IT failures requires an organization to address communication, collaboration, leadership, and knowledge sharing across departments and silos. Because most companies struggle with managing expectations and aligning disparate groups, they blame poor project management for their IT failures. Although this is a losing strategy, because project management is only one small facet of the problem, it helps explain why the high rate of project failure continues unabated.
From the beginning, my goal in writing about IT failures has been helping organizations understand troubled projects, with the hope they will learn lessons and improve. Although this goal remains unchanged, I have come to believe the solution requires a broader focus.
For this reason, ZDNet and I have changed the title of this blog to Beyond IT Failures, although, in reality, the content shift happened long ago. Read through past articles on this blog and you will see extensive discussion of the organizational dynamics that underlie success and failure. Recent posts included CIO leadership matters, cloud, and other topics designed to help you achieve success. It’s an exciting time to talk about IT and the enterprise, and the expanded blog focus will make this column relevant, useful, and fresh.
I have also started a new website, called mkrigsman.com. Please take a look and sign up for the newsletter.