A 2012 study found that around 70% of all IT projects failed at some stage, and that somewhere in the region of 17% of all large scale projects with big budgets went so badly that they threatened the very existence of the parent company itself. Additionally, the study found that many participants on new, large scale IT projects expect them to fail from the off-set. With this in mind, it's more important than ever for businesses to identify potential problems before a project starts, and also accept that a project may not be successful.
The Project Start
Setting a good project plan in place before anything gets underway is a crucial step, and understanding what role the project aims to fill clearly by understanding and gathering customer requirements is also fundamental. Often, time pressures demand that a project gets underway as soon as possible, but rushing in can be a sure fire way to disaster and a wasted budget. It is ultimately much safer to spend time planning meticulously in order to ensure that the project is not only successful, but actually viable.
Maintaining a close eye on a project from start to finish is also a must, otherwise no matter how much planning is done, things can quickly fall apart. Making sure to review and update a project plan regularly can help to overcome problems and avoid pitfalls during the development process. Also, providing clear lines of feedback and response for both customers and the project team can speed up problem solving and the overall process in general.
The Right Team
An important question to ask is whether your staff has enough capable members to implement the project in the first place. If skills are lacking, the project is most likely going to run over budget and result in a lot of wasted time. The worst case scenario could mean that external professionals will need to be called in and start from scratch - a costly and time consuming result.
Handling the Failure
Perhaps most importantly, the question of whether your company can weather a failed project needs to be posed. If the risks of failure could result in severe ramifications for your company, then it can often be worthwhile bringing in outside help. Again, are managers and teams able to provide the skills necessary? If not, then starting up a major project could be a serious risk.
Bringing a dedicated, professional team in to plan, manage, and implement your project is often a much better approach. Costs will soon be recuperated once the project is successful, and the additional stress and burden of running such a task won't be placed on an already busy internal workforce. Professionals will know how to effectively engage and manage customer expectations too, so there is much less risk of having a highly visible disaster on your hands. If there are ever any doubts about skill levels, the possibility of failure, or having the right management for the job, the safest option is nearly always going to be outsourcing the project to experienced professionals.
Beata Green is Director of HeadChannel Ltd. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.