Non-obvious conditions often drive cost on large IT projects. Some of these conditions are beyond anyone's control -- for example, sudden changes in the economic environment can affect a company's willingness to continue an ongoing project.
However, many project costs are reasonably predictable, even if they don't explicitly appear on contracts when the project is started. ROI blogger, Rob Tyrie, describes 14 of these hidden, or indirect, costs:
- Specialized documentation
- Upgrades or changes to hardware or supporting software
- Security changes
- New operations or maintenance procedures
- 3rd party software required to complete solution
- Contracted increases or ability to change license, services and maintenance costs
- Employee training
- Interfaces to other systems
- System testing and deployment
- Backup systems, Security and Redundant hardware for disaster recovery
- Facility changes
- Data storage and Data conversion
- Operating systems in parallel
- Report conversion
Depending on your particular experience and background, some of these points may seem obvious. However, the range of issues is diverse and few people have depth across them all. Therefore, this systematic checklist, against which you can evaluate your own project, is helpful.
Each of these issues is a primary candidate for failure. Consider training and documentation as an example: system integrators sometimes don't include end-user training in their bids, keeping initial cost proposals artificially low. By the time you realize training wasn't included, which could be months later, you're locked-in with no choice but to increase the budget. Without casting aspersions on honest vendors, let's just say this scenario isn't entirely uncommon.
Use the 14-item checklist to remember hidden pitfalls and stop being a sitting duck in someone else's crosshairs.
[Sitting duck target via JustDucks.]