Your IT Project is Toast –
11 Early Indicators To Watch For

By: Jim Bruce
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Today’s Tuesday Reading, “Your IT Project is Toast – 11 Early Indicators To Watch For”,  is a slide deck that I recently found in InfoWorld.  The author is Roger Grimes, contributing editor of the InfoWorld Test Center.

The IT world and every other world, for that matter, is not immune to projects going down in flames.  Many times when projects fail, those working on the project have sensed trouble long before the scheduled delivery date.

In his slide deck, Grimes calls out 11 red flags that every one who is potentially a project leader – IT or not – should heed:

  1. The project has launched without senior buy-in.  Under the table, so to speak.  But, without senior buy-in, the resources – money and people – necessary to complete a large, or sometimes even a small, program are likely not going to be available.
  2. No detailed project plan exists.  “Failure to plan is planning to fail!”  Grimes believes that every project with a timeline longer than two weeks should have an appropriately detailed project plan.
  3. Meetings are scheduled without concern for team member availability.  Doing this, undercuts the purpose and effectiveness of the meeting, and creates unnecessary stress for the team.
  4. Clients have little (often NO) early involvement in the project.  Be sure that the end-users and stakeholders are involved early in the project even if you don’t believe that they are needed.
  5. The project targets the minimum specifications.  Bare minimums, either in functionality or in hardware, tend to kill any success that accrues to the project.
  6. Testing is an afterthought.  Success requires rigorous testing of data and processes with both good and not so good data.  And, don’t forget load testing.
  7. No recovery plan is in place just in case.  What will you do if the project fails?
  8. Recommendations from experts are rejected without evaluation.
  9. The go-live date is a weekend or a holiday.  Will all of your first-string non-project team resources be available and on site?
  10. Expectations have not been clearly set for everyone – non-project IT staff, especially client support, the sponsors, the clients, etc.  Everyone needs to really understand the impact of the new system on their work.
  11. Skimp on training.

Lots of good advice here and most of it is applicable to much of what we each do.  This just might be a good time to take a good look at your project.  How many red flags are you flying?

Have a great week.  .  .  .     jim

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