Avoiding failed projects despite of PM methodology

‘More than 80% of all IT projects do not reach their targets’. This fact is regarded as undisputable in the market.

But project results are also taken as criteria to evaluate the performance of IT organizations by top management within the business. Exactly there, make-or-buy-, budget -, and future role decisions regarding the IT are made.

This is why project performance is of existential interest for IT organizations as well as for the competitive strategy of the company.

So what to do? Since years the IT management has reacted, implemented project management systems and had their employees certified and trained according to PMA, IPMA or PRINCE 2 standards.

Within our consulting projects we frequently find out, that the IT department misses a systematic process management system in order to manage their projects and that the expected benefit of an ‘applied methodology’ fails through a non-sustainable implementation.

By embedding projects into a process management system, structure and integration will be enabled. We see two major fields in which IT organizations with implemented project management methodology will increase their maturity to successfully conduct projects:

Completeness of methodology:

Besides applied project management methodologies (PMI, IPMA, PRINCE 2), successful IT project management needs development processes for the solution system consisting of hardware, software and services.

Independent of the involvement of external suppliers within the solution development, the IT organization should always have a clear picture of their total solution process in order to consistently describe interfaces and effectively perform build management. Otherwise the root cause for deviations will be created and the company runs the risk of being controlled by the service provider instead of being in control on the path to meeting the targets.

Degree of implementation

What is important in many other fields of management is also viable in IT projects:

Rather choose to do less things right and complete than many things incomplete. Looking at the last few project plans and business cases in a company and comparing them to the actual course of the project raises the following question:

Which of the defined deliverables out of the concept phase are consequently followed through the implementation? Very often the Plan-Do-Check-Act – loop is not closed and therefore improvement just doesn’t happen. What helps is embedding your projects into a process management system in order to install regular checks along defined maturity stages.