2 5/9/2015 Agenda – Objectives – Do IT projects succeed? – The early warning signs of failure Interest Levels Communication Velocity “No bad news” Overtime Quality vs. Time and Cost Governance or the lack of it Resource allocation & diversion Change – Conclusion & Lessons Learned
3 5/9/2015 Session Objectives By the end of this session, we intend to be able to: – Identify the early signs if a project is not going in the right direction. – Identify the Intangible and a few tangible indicators leading to the project failure. – To be a catalyst as a PM to resurrect the project being at the right time and right place and do the right things. – Learn from experiences….
4 5/9/2015 Be Reassured: Failure isn’t inevitable To the contrary of conventional wisdom more and more IT projects are deemed success compared to 2 years back. 1994: 31% IT projects were outright failures; 16% completely successful. 2008: 24% IT projects outright failures; 32% success rate. Another 44% delivered a useful product but did not meet all the project criteria. The huge shift in success is attributed to “Discipline in project management”.
5 5/9/2015 Looking for Warning Signs Still 25% (1 in 4) IT projects fail. 2 in 5 are partial failures. Higher the labour cost in projects, bigger is the concern and chances of failure. Lack of Management Support and Unclear objectives are the common reasons. So, what else contributes other than the obvious? So, what are the intangibles that contribute to the project failure?
6 5/9/2015 We all know We look at these everyday to determine where we are…..
7 5/9/2015 Lack of Interest This comes from the lack of buy-in. A project can have conflicting agendas but need to have the same GOAL. It is a must to have complete buy-in from all stakeholders. Participation from sponsor is a must. Positive Environment within the team is a key indicator in project success. An active participation, feedback and energized user base is imperative for a project success. Understanding the required outcome ; Everyone needs to know what is expected as a whole group and as individuals with time line
8 5/9/2015 Lack of Communication Lack of communication both formal and informal is the next early warning sign. If the stakeholders, from team members to users, aren’t talking to each other, there is an obvious problem. Ideally project review meetings should not be surprises, because everyone should know in a general way – in the other parts of the project. Failure occurs when there is no adjustment to issues occurring within the project; when the right hand do not know what the left hand is doing or where they are within their part of the project This can become the key indicator if not focussed all the time.
9 5/9/2015 “Velocity” signifies to what it means speed, acceleration or a combination. Projects delivering at a higher ‘velocity’ – deliverables intermittently succeed and keep the momentum going. Smaller milestones are the key – helps keep the morale high. One of the classic signs of a project going down is the lack of deliverables or the speed of it. Lack of Velocity or Movement
10 5/9/2015 A “No Bad News” Culture This is a tricky cultural thing. Allergy to bad news – Easy to develop a culture where bad news is percolated upwards very slow. This deprives management of vital and if unpleasant information first hand. This environment needs to be created by the Project Manager/ Project Leader and not the job of the team member.
11 5/9/2015 Lots of Overtime Early sign of a project slipping is to see the teams working on a lot of overtime. This can be detrimental as it is the easiest way for PMs to overcome problems by assigning additional time to resources. Overtime can have obvious side effects leading to ill health of an employee which would have a large cascading effect on all project resources.
12 5/9/2015 Only focus on time and cost..not on quality The picture is self explanatory…
13 5/9/2015 Lack of Governance Structure Very early signs of not having a Governance structure is an obvious indication towards failure. A simple but uncomplicated governance structure must be available. Decision making becomes the key gap with a lack of governance. One person is the driving force a must; can be the PM or a Delivery Lead/ manager. The PM must keep everything moving forward and be able to adjust to any problems and manage to stay on track with the agreed time line.
14 5/9/2015 Diversion of Resources A very common challenge and obvious reason for project failure is diversion of resources. Resources keep getting pulled out, changed which creates a sudden panic response from other project resources. Initially a few hours shared here and there do not impact but these keep getting added to become a considerable amount in case of shared resources.
15 5/9/2015 Scope Alterations/ change Projects often are ready to make changes to accommodate/ change of business goals. Also one common way to bring back the project on track is to cut/ alter the scope here and there other than the proper scope changes. These small changes hardly change the scope of the work but are mere indicators which actually remove features but these never involve cancelling anything. This eventually puts lesser time on actual project development, implementation and testing which eventually impacts the end delivery. On the contrary “Inability to change” can become another indication.
16 5/9/2015 A few others.. People - Not doing the activities and jobs they are responsible for. Not having the right resources for the project. Workloads - Businesses are trying to squeeze every penny out of peoples time and overloading of work resulting in low morale and obvious lack of progress. Lack of adherence to a work/process flow. Business requirements are often not well articulated by business sponsors leading to a list of business requirements that might not actually lead to the end goal! This gets compounded during the course of the project. Funds not properly allocated from the sponsor or an absentee sponsor altogether. There are many more….
17 5/9/2015 Conclusion & Lessons Learned – It is not only the Tangible (numbers/ data) parameters that determines the project’s meeting its objectives or not. – A few early warning signs are critical in identifying a failing project. – “All going well” is not always “all well”. – Always an eye for ‘Overtime’ & ‘Resources’