why projects fail
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Why Projects FailAnd what to do about it!ODTUG Conference 2004 Co-authors Dave Kempson, PMP Dan Kwit, PMP
According to Scott Adams
Top 10 ways to Guarantee the Failure of a Systems ProjectDulcian, Inc.
1. Dont use a specific methodology because coding is all that is really important. 2. Create the project plan by working backwards from a drop-dead system completion date. 3. Dont bother with a data model. Just build whatever tables you need. 4. Use a technical lead that has never built a similar system. 5. Hire forty developers to make coding go faster.
Top 10 ways to Guarantee the Failure of a Systems ProjectDulcian, Inc.
1. Build the system in Java, even though most of the development team still thinks Java is coffee and you have no intention of ever deploying to the web. 2. Three months before the system goes live, assign one junior developer to handle the data migration. 3. Skip the testing phase because the project is way behind schedule 4. Change the system to support critical new requirements discovered during final development. 5. Buy a commercial off-the-shelf package and customize ita lot.
Agenda Introduction Project Failures What the research shows Personal experience
What we can do about it Wrap-up
Out of Control Project Project in Crisis Project Roadkill Disaster Project Project from Hell Career Killer Challenged Project
Fiasco Runaway Project Troubled Project Chaotic Project Crunch Project Mission Impossible Project Doomed Project
Top Ten Signs Your Project is in Crisis1. Lack of Communication 2. Inadequate Project Planning and Management of Plan 3. Unstable Requirements 4. Lack of Training/Mentoring for Managers/Leads 5. Unachievable/Unrealistic Schedules 6. High Turnover in Project Staff 7. Inadequate Use of Outside Resources 8. Inadequate Work Environment 9. Workforce Tied to Old Technology 10. Lack of Long-term Commitments
Top Ten Signs Your Project is in Crisis1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Poor Communication Inadequate Project Planning and Management of Plan Unstable Requirements/Lack of Change Control Lack of Training/Mentoring for Managers/Leads Unachievable/Unrealistic Schedules High Turnover in Project Staff Inadequate Use of Outside Resources Excessive infighting/finger pointing Workforce Tied to Old Technology/Competence Deficiency Inadequate executive buy-in/Lack of Long-term Commitments
Why do Projects Fail?
Project Failure Research 1994 Standish Group CHAOS Report Results: U.S. spends $250,000/yr on IT development on approximately 175,000 projects 31.1% of projects canceled prior to completion 52.7% cost 189% of estimate Cost of failures and lost opportunities cost trillions of dollars each year Only 16.2% of projects completed on-time & on-budget
Project Failure Research 1994 CHAOS Report Results:SMALL VS LARGE COMPANIES SUCCESS RATESStatistic On-time and on-budget/Successful Original features and functions Projects challenged Projects impaired and subsequently cancelled Small Company % 28% 74.2% 50.4% 21.6% Large Company % 9% 42% 61.5% 29.5%
Project Failure Research 1988 CHAOS Report Study of 7500 IT projects by the Standish Group 72% of IT projects come in late, over budget, or not at all 28% of IT projects are cancelled or never implemented out of the rest 46% are behind schedule, over budget, or both
Project Failure Research Standish Group Top Reasons for Project Failures Incomplete requirements & specifications Lack of user input Lack of resources Unrealistic expectations Lack of executive support Changing requirements and specifications Technology Incompetence Unclear Objectives Unrealistic Time-frames New Technology
Project Failure Research OASIG Study (1995) 8 of 10 projects fail Contributors Poor management/project management Poor articulation of user requirements Inadequate attention to business needs and goals Failure to involve users properly
InformationWeek surveyed IT managers Top 3 Reasons for Project Failure Poor Planning or Poor Project Management (77%) Change in Business Goals During Project (75%) Lack of Business Management Support (73%)
Project Failure Research KPMG Study (1997) 87% of failed projects exceeded schedule > 30% 56% of failed projects exceed budget > 30% 45% of failed projects failed to produce expected benefits 3 Most Common Reasons for Project Failures Poor Project Planning Weak Business Cause Lack of Top Management Involvement and Support
Project Failure Research Managements Seven Deadly Sins Why Projects Fail - Gopal Kapur, president of the Center for Project Management (CPM):1. Mistaking half-baked ideas for viable projects 2. Dictating unrealistic project schedules 3. Assigning under-skilled project mangers to high-complexity projects 4. Not ensuring solid business sponsorship 5. Failing to break projects into manageable chunks 6. Failing to institute a robust project process architecture 7. Not establishing a comprehensive project portfolio to track progress of ongoing projects
Personal Experience Projects fail because no one did anything to prevent it! Natural tendency to hide bad news. Good, open communication must be present. Project management is essential and proven PM methodologies should be followed to minimize failure.
Project ManagementMorgan W. McCall, Jr., Ph.D. - PM Flaws that Bring Careers to Screeching Halt:The 10 Killer Flaws: 1. Insensitivity 2. Acting aloof 3. Betraying trusts 4. Overmanaging 5. Being overly ambitious 6. Inability to think long term 7. Inability to adapt to a new manager 8. Overdependency on a mentor 9. Making poor staffing decisions 10. Inability to deal with department's performance problems
Cost of Correcting an ErrorOracle Corp.
Project Life Cycle Strategy Analysis Design Build Transition Production 1x 5x 50x 100x 500x 1000x
Source: Oracle Corporation
What to do about it?
PMI Process Groups Projects commonly fail at different stages for different reasons. The Project Management Institute defines 5 major process groups that constitute a typical project. Initiating Planning Executing Controlling Closing
Initiation is recognizing that a project should begin and committing to do so
Initiation Phase Executive buy-in Buy-in and involvement crucial especially for projects that cross organizational boundaries Must be prepared for setbacks to respond and demonstrate support. Must buy-in to methodology and encourage it to become part of the organizations culture
Organizational Culture (Tom Mochal 7/2/03) Process Orientation Governance Training
Business Driven Not IT driven Should support vision and mission Portfolio Management system to allocate resources based upon business priorities
Initiation Phase Overall Vision Big picture of how one project relates to another Architectural vision Clear communication of the vision
Limited Scope Compromise of wants and needs matched against capability. Manageable chunks
Technical and Business Requirements In accordance with scope Agreed upon and formally accepted by both business units and IT No deviations without formal change management. Use manual or automated tools for documenting and managing
Planning is devising and maintaining a workable scheme to accomplish the business need that the project was undertaken to address
Planning Phase Well defined roles Project manger, team members, and stakeholders
Project org structure Who is accountable to who? Recommend creating an org chart for the project Remove ambiguity with regards to communication, responsibility and information flow.
Team member competencies Make sure the right people are assign to the right tasks
Planning Phase Understanding of data quality issues and constraints Often overlooked & underestimated. Often the most complex and resource intensive project deliverable
Methodologies, standards and processes Critical for repeatable success PMBOK, SEI CMM
Execution and Control Phases
Executing is coordinating people and other resources to carry out the plan
Controlling is ensuring that the project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress and taking corrective actions when necessary.
Execution and Control Phases Communication Poor communication is one of the most common root causes of failure Must be evident at all levels and directions False assumptions are common Executive sponsors must be seen and heard and ask the right questions. Avoid a no news is good news mentality Project leaders should be the communications hub Style is important (positive and upbeat) Dont hide bad news, present it as a challenge to the team Remain honest in reporting Have a plan! Utilize tools (Tracking logs, dashboards, regular reports, etc)
Execution and Control Phases Clear process for change management Avoid Gold Plating Change has a cost and must be managed (not frozen) Involve all stakeholders Have a well documented process for change control Measure and publish to encourage excellence Measure performance against baseline cost and schedule Measurement helps identify early warning signs Improves morale by reinforcing accomplishments Helps establish confidence and trust in the team
Closing is formalizing acceptance of the project or phase and bringing it to an orderly end.
Closure Phase Customer support strategy Why capitalize a project if you arent going to operationally fund it? Training Support Maintenance Enhancements
Be careful not to outsource your corporate knowledge Hot Wash/Lessons Learned (non retribution)