IT Project Failures: Ineffective Planning
IT projects do fail. You would probably be hard pressed to find an organization that hasn’t had a failed IT project at some time. Maybe it was a minor failure, or maybe it was a huge disaster. There are various reasons a project can fail. The main thing is to understand how your project failed and what you can do to prevent repeating the same mistake. One of the biggest reasons IT projects fail is due to ineffective planning. Which should scare you. That means most IT projects fail in step 1. Let’s look at the elements that go into project planning.
For a project plan to be effective, it must include a complete understanding of the projects goals and requirements. In addition to this, each goal and requirement needs a process to finish and checks and balances. If any of these key components are missed, projects quickly fall apart. When reviewing your company’s failed project or reviewing a potential project plan, look for these key indicators of bad planning as the source of the problem:
- Lack of direction. This issue often stems from the project manager either getting or giving bad direction. Any failure to define expectations, milestones, and desired outcomes typically leads to ineffective scope.
- Poorly designed SOW (statement of work). An effective SOW acts as the high-level outline for the project plan. This SOW should include a timeline, end goal, and milestones layed out prior to project start. Every part of management and the project team should review and understand the SOW prior to launching the project. If at any point you think your SOW isn’t effective or needs redesigned, you need to stop the project and take corrective action before taking any further steps. One of the most effective ways of improving a projects chance of success is to implement a review strategy and schedule regular check-ins.
- No detailed work plan. A detailed work plan takes the SOW and drills it down into actionable steps. This should include tasks that need completed, who is responsible for the work, and what date it needs completed by. This list needs reviewed throughout the project and if you are doing it correctly, this list will grow and change throughout the project.
Project failures can come with significant investments including money, time, and resources. For this reason alone, you need to carefully select your project managers and understand their importance for a successful project. If you want to start your project out on the right foot, you won’t start any steps of the project until you have your project manager, project team, and detailed project plan in place. Lastly, understand you are not in your IT projects alone. 2W Tech has specialized project managers on staff that can integrate seamlessly into your project and ensure its success. 2W has certified IT and Epicor Consultants on staff, give us a call today and see how we can help.
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