4 and 5

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-05-14 Print this article Print

Experts lay out five of the most common areas where projects will miss the mark and cause undue harm to your business and the players involved.

4. Inflexibility
Agile businesses that can move quickly to adjust to the market’s changing needs are able to put themselves in a position of growth. Unfortunately, some IT projects can be so rigid that they fail to allow the business to change processes or adjust to new situations quickly enough to profit from them. This inflexibility is a project killer.

“The dynamics of the business may change, so your project focus or your project initiatives focus needs to be somewhat dynamic or fluid and to be able to adapt to that business change,” says Sisco, who advises CIOs to regularly scan their roster of projects to ensure they meet business needs today and kill the ones that don’t.

5. Scope Creep
Lack of preparation typically begets the kitchen-sink syndrome, where project leaders add in every kind of feature and the kitchen sink to boot. This is the opposite problem of point-of-failure No. 4, where IT and business managers are so “flexible” that they bloat the project costs with a million bells and whistles added once the project gets underway.

This is yet another problem that stems from lack of preparation. A rigorous chartering process and exploratory phase should be able to give a better picture of actual project scope and costs, which McConnell says is almost always two to three times more than initial estimates.

Then, it is a matter of keeping the reins on a project to balance agility with the budget and timeframe. Leading organizations such as the Project Management Institute recommend implementing a project change-management process to enable flexibility without going overboard with unnecessary changes.

“I think that’s basically just good basic blocking and tackling that is part of good project management,” McConnell says of post-chartering project control measures.

*See also: 8 Ways To Save Your Next Project


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