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Posts Tagged ‘project scope’

Why Do So Many Information Systems Implementations Fail and What Can Be Done to Improve Our Success Rate?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Information Systems (IS) implementations normally fail due to a lack of ownership, planning and execution by the organization.  The software and hardware tend to do what they are supposed to do.  Their features and limitations are typically known, at least if we take the time to investigate.  However, it is the organizational issues among and between business units and teams that actually require most of the effort when running an IS project.

The root causes of IS project failures include weak scoping, lack of executive management ownership, poor project management, lack of scope controls, improper infrastructure and inappropriate technology choices.

Weak scope leads to a project whose requirements are too broad to be met by any single system.  Similarly the team will be too broad with differing opinions as to the ultimate purpose of the project and therefore application.  After all, if the team members are each interpreting the goal(s) of the project in different ways it will be difficult, and time consuming, to arrive at consensus on each aspect of the project.

Lack of executive management ownership leaves the project team without an effective sponsor.  Having such a sponsor helps mitigate the various issues that will arise as the project team seeks to design and implement a new system.  Maintaining focus on the business goals of the system along with championing the system and breaking down barriers between groups are major functions for the executive owner.

Project management is key to delivering on any sort of solution, technology or otherwise.  Knowing the team roles, responsibilities, timelines and dependencies allows for issues to be identified proactively and resolved in a timely manner.  Exit strategies must be defined that rely on understanding the current project risks.  Without effective project management the actual status of the project remains hidden.