The IT failure curve of death

The importance of proper planning in preventing failed IT projects cannot be overstated. Steps taken early in the project can have a profound impact on downstream success or failure.

The importance of proper planning in preventing failed IT projects cannot be overstated. Steps taken early in the project can have a profound impact on downstream success or failure.

Unfortunately, most folks running projects are too busy during the startup phases to address potential vulnerabilities that can cause dramatic harm later.

Think I'm wrong? Then please explain why so many projects are late, budget, or don't meet planned goals.

An SAP website describing Safeguarding, the company's sales-oriented review service, includes a diagram that portrays the impact of early-stage planning on downstream success:

Although the diagram shows SAP's particular methodology, it's applicable to projects from every software vendor.

Related: 7 tips to safely kill zombie projects

My take. There's rarely enough time or money to do things right, but the budget for fixing problems often seems endless. For most organizations, solving this problem requires broad rethinking of priorities early in the life of a project.

Project improvement requires a "lifestyle shift" for most organizations. To begin the process, start by defining the problem and then enlist senior management support. Results won't happen overnight, but over time your projects will run more smoothly, waste less money, and let your entire team rest more easily.

[Diagram (c) 2010 SAP AG. All rights reserved. Photo of the Grim Reaper, who watches over death spiral projects... waiting for his opportunity, from iStockphoto.]

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