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Project failure is prevalent all projects. Todd's Back From RedTM blog addresses the reasons for project failure along with methods to avert and correct the problems that cause the failure.



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Technologists Are Never the Problem

I sent a note to professional organization's program director the other day asking if their group would be interested in hearing about methods to increase project success. The organization was for a technical group that worked with data transformation—a skill set used in every IT project I have ever been on. The reply came in a prompt, succinct, and sarcastic reply:

"We [sic] you please tell me just how this would ever relate to the members of our group. You obviously do not understand that we are not responsible for running the project."
 
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Value Equations Won't WorkValue, the Project Manager's Deliverable

A project manager's job is to deliver value. Achieving the original schedule, budget, and features is meaningless if the customer does not receive value. As with all simple statements, this much easier said than accomplished. Projects managers must assemble adaptable teams that use flexible, lean methodologies. Arrogantly selling the latest technology or tool is narcissistic. Focus on the customer. Be vigilant at ensuring the information is always available for the customer to reassess the project's value and for the project team to reevaluate their proposal.

 
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Picture representing indecisionIndecision: The Graveyard Of Good Intentions

"People say I am indecisive, but I am not so sure about that." I have seen this quote attributed to a former US President, but I doubt it. First, it is too intelligent a comment for him and, second, he is far from indecisive. The liberal pundits trying to attribute that quote to him confuse indecision with defective decision making. You can figure out who the President is on your own; however, it is irrelevant. This article is about leadership not politics. Organizations confronted with a decision-challenged individual in a leadership role, is adrift in the sea of serendipity. They bobble around having no direction.

 
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Picture Courtesy of the Christian Science MonitorThe US Congress Needs a Project Manager

As I walk onto any troubled project, guess I hear? We are spending too much money, we cannot miss the due date, we need everything we are asking for, and it is "their" fault. My job is telling them the bad news—we need more money, we are cutting scope, and the project is still going to be late. Those are the unavoidable facts and the stakeholders need to accept them. Worse than that, I am not going to blame anyone. Blame is counterproductive. So, how does this compare to the situation with the United States Congress? In short, they do not get it. They need an apolitical, outside entity to build the recovery plan—just like we do anytime we are recovering any project.

 
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Working for Peanuts and Other Communication Tricks

Back in the eighties, I was working for a large aerospace company cutting my teeth as a systems analyst. My bosses were a little older then I am now, and they loved talking about the days before cubicles, pontificating on how personal computers were inferior to mainframes, and reminiscing about the days of the BOMARC missile. It was their way of telling us thirty-something kids that they were in control and we needed to respect their position. Then, as now, information was king and these pterodactyls were not letting it go. To earn the stripes, one had to partake in the tribal rituals, smoke cigars over three-martini lunches, and attend your boss's parties. They saw no value in email let alone the boondoggle shop floor automation project I was part of. In two words, communication sucked.

 


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Project Failure Insight:

The following blogs regularly have articles on project failure, recovery and good management practices.
Chris Curran
CIO Dashboard
Michiko Diby
Preventing Project Failure
John Estrella
Dr. John A. Estrella's Blog
Mike Krigsman
IT Project Failures on ZDNet
John F. Moore
Random Thoughts of a Boston-based CTO
Roger Sessions
Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises

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