Projects sometimes go off track. It is almost a rule. But it is always possible to reduce the number of projects with insoluble problems.
Although many factors affect the success of a project, the failures often result from poor planning, which fail to consider the basic restrictions. In IT, there are restrictions in the following areas:
Specific skills – All planning must consider the availability of skills in high demand. A member of the retail list of Fortune 500 companies had to rebuild almost all applications in use. Initially, the plan seemed aggressive, but achievable. Further analysis, however, revealed significant personal failures. Nine key people, including architects and project managers were given assignments in excess in more than one project. Avoid this by checking the availability of personnel, even if specific skills are needed only for a limited time. This seems obvious but is often ignored.
Culture – The plans must accommodate different cultures in an organization. A global company with hundreds of small independent offices did not take into account the independence of these offices to deploy a centralized corporate help desk. The offices did not see the value in help desk and ignored.
Project managers have a habit of ignoring the organizational culture at their own risk.
Deliverability – Every IT organization has limitations imposed by the infrastructure. A food manufacturer, also part of the list of Fortune 500 companies, decided to change all his direct sales force and simultaneously his entire mix of products and credit instruments. Unfortunately, their home systems were inflexible. Old and poorly documented legacy became difficult to update. The IT planning team refused to include improvements, despite many protests. Unable to make decisions or ship products for six weeks, the company almost went out of business.
Budgets – Planning ignoring budget constraints are doomed. A CIO was forced to make eight major projects in parallel, while there were not enough managers. His requests for additional staffing or delay were always denied. IT staff, now discredited, was forced to work on plans considered unviable. Result: many chose to seek other employment opportunities.
Planning errors are often the result of weaknesses of the companies. Pressure management is one of the most common weaknesses. Inexperience is another. Planning teams need to have enough experienced participants to ensure that deadlines are realistic and the constraints and risks taken into account.
Even aggressive planning can succeed if they are realistic. The more daring the plan is, the less room for error. Planning undetected errors are a harbinger of failure.
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