Project Failure Case Studies

In May 2007, the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) signed a contract with Bearing Point, Inc. to modernize the State’s unemployment processing system. The project was called the DUA Quality Unemployment System Transformation (QUEST) Project. Bearing Point filed for bankruptcy in February 2009 and Deloitte announced they would buy Bearing Point for $350MM in March of the same year.

Published in Project Rescue

In order to comply with the Affordable Care Act, the State of Oregon made the decision to build its own Health Insurance Exchange (ORHIX). An online portal to allow applicants was supposed to go live October 1, 2013. As of March 30, 2014 the site was not functional and all ORHIX applications must be processed from paper applications.

Published in Project Rescue

Projects build in technical debt and maintenance groups remove it—if your organization has a maintenance group. Technical debt accrues in any product, whether or not it has a technical component. It is the result of taking shortcuts when building the product. Sometimes it is the result of not having enough time, on other occasions it is due to not having the right tools. Anything from the implementation of the software component to light fixture can have technical debt. Promises are made to correct it later, but later never comes.

Published in Project Rescue

The Pointed-Haired Bosses Concept of Agile

Full implementation of agile project management requires a top-down approach. The differences in reporting, resource dedication, team structure, and customer relationship from traditional project management methodology requires buy-in at the highest level of the company. Educating superiors and customers on the benefits of agile project management is difficult, especially if they have a religious belief in classical project management style. Implementing a pilot project is the best way to quell their fears. Unfortunately, in a recovery this luxury is unavailable—the turn-around becomes the pilot.

Published in Project Rescue
Sunday, 06 December 2009 00:00

Blame The Customer

It is amazing how people on failing projects neglect to look at their own issues prior to blaming someone else. Yes, blame is easy and on red projects since no wants to be the source of the issues. The truth is, everyone is at blame, so before bringing in an auditor or recovery manager, tidy up your house first.

Published in Project Rescue
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition

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Author:Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Released: August 1995
Type: Softcover
Pages: 336
ISBN:978-0201835953

Not too long ago I had coffee with fellow tweep, Peter Kretzman, at the Zeitgeist Coffee in Seattle. We had a wonderful conversation and shared stories, philosophies, and impressions. In the process we stumbled upon a common literary love—The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick Brooks. I read it for the first time last summer and Peter reads every few years. We both extolled the virtues of the book and lamented at the fact that so many of the items Brooks brings up continue to plague us today.

Published in Suggested Books

Trust relationships, certifications, and standards sound like such a safe harbor. These sound like such great words in a proposal or statement of work. How could you possibly go wrong building a trusted relationship with a customer by committing to follow a standard? In fact, this can burn you… in court.

No one ever starts a project with the goal of ending up in court. In fact, litigation may never cross your mind; after all, you have built a trusted partner relationship. Taking a few cautionary steps, however, will make your life easier if you end up in that ill-fated litigious position. Your best chances for success come long before you enter the courtroom—even before the project starts.

Published in Project Rescue
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

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Author:Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling
Publisher: Free Press
Released: April 24, 2012
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 352
ISBN:978-0201835953

This is a non-project management book that discusses how to achieve results in the execution of a plan. The four disciplines are great change management tools that get results and keep people focused. Where it is valuable to a project manager is in its education on how to keep people focused on a goal. It can you used to help your team on short term progress or on driving your project's customer to focus on what they need to achieve success. If you plan to make the move from project management to any other operational mode--even to the PMO--this book gives a number of good tools.

Published in Suggested Books
In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies

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Author: Thomas J. Peters
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Released: February 2006
Type: Softcover
Pages: 400
ISBN:978-0201835953

This book is currently under review, more details will be added when available

If you want to explore and improve your leadership style, this is a "Must Read." Why leadership? Because projects struggle under managers and they excel under leaders. Not only that, but this also gets you thinking and talking like your business leaders. How can you communicate with them if you do not think like them?

Touted as the "Greatest Business Book of All Time" (Bloomsbury UK), In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the boardroom, business school, and bedside table.

Published in Suggested Books
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