Failed IT Projects

How angry feel when you buy something, and it doesn’t do what you thought it would? Ideally, we should be looking to return our purchase and get our money back, right! Would you do the same with Failed IT Projects?

If we’ve invested weeks or months of our time and effort as well as our money to get something that will have a positive change for our business. It now becomes a more complicated decision. The idea of going back to where we were, rendering all the time and money is simply unthinkable for many. So, we must compromise and accept some steps forward but ultimately, we have not achieved what we set out to achieve.

For so many people in business, this is their experience of IT Projects and implementing IT Systems. Business owners have invested time, effort and money and are left feeling disappointed, frustrated and angry with results.

If we were to pause and think about what we did wrong, it would likely make us feel very uncomfortable and angry, but we must learn from our mistakes. While it’s easy to point the finger at the IT application not doing what it’s supposed to do, this may be unfair. It’s unlikely that the application changed what it does during an implementation. It’s far more realistic to conclude that the application was never going to deliver the benefit that we had originally indented.

  • How did you capture and communicate these benefits?
  • What problems did you need to be solved?
  • How did we communicate this internally and externally?
  • What evidence where you given to ensure this was achievable?
  • What assurance and controls did you put in place to make sure that it happened?

It’s not always pleasant reflecting on mistakes we may have made, but if you are not able to answer these crucial questions when looking back at a bad experience with failed IT projects, you need to own some of the blame and find a way to move forward.

All of the above questions are centred on activities that should be dealt with early on within the project. Making the project or new IT system will solve the problems or exploit the opportunities that we want them to before we start spending money. Making it clear to all stakeholders what you expect and put in place controls so that any deviations are dealt with early and don’t derail the expected benefits.

Hopefully the questions above can give you a few opportunities to think about you will want to do things differently going forward. We can’t stop moving forward or simply give up! Just because you’ve had a bad experience with failed IT projects, there will be problem and opportunities within your business that IT can provide you with some great ways to advance your business. Learning from previous projects, whether positive or negative experience will put you in a good position to create positive results with the next project.

Get it right at the beginning and you are on the right path!

There are two roles or skills sets that play a key role in delivering successful IT projects. Project Management and Business Analysis roles should work together to outline what any IT project is to deliver and how that will achieved the desired business benefits. The Business Analyst role can work as a Requirements Engineer to capture everything that the IT Solution needs to deliver, linking this to the overall business benefits that the project must deliver. The Project Manager role will make sure that any supplier can first of all demonstrate their ability to meet the requirements and also put in place a number of control measures to hold all project team members (including third party providers) to account. The project team can work within agreed tolerance, but any deviations are expedited straight away. This allows corrective actions to be agreed and implemented, ensuring no nasty surprises as left until the end of the project.

If you are planning on running your own IT project, there are many great resource available including those at the PRINCE2 Resources site. However, these type of services and support is available from Appsure IT for any size of IT project.

You can read more about the importance of good Business Analysis and Project Management in the Appsure IT Services pages.

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