Waxing tech projects


Nailing tech projects
Nailing tech projects

Schedule slippage, quality flaws and budget overruns are all warning signs that a project is in trouble. When it comes to the implementation of technology-related projects, such problems are often due to poor planning and poor management of complexities associated with the project, which can potentially result in companies suffering significant financial losses.

A 2011 survey conducted in the US by software company Geneca revealed that 78% of respondents reported that their business was often or always out of sync with technology project requirements. An earlier study by IBM revealed that only 40% of projects in the US met schedule, budget and quality goals.

According to Anton Burger, Director at OIM Operations Solutions, failure of technology projects in South Africa is currently most prominent in the financial services sector. The reason for the high level of failure is companies neglecting planning and early stages of analysis, which in turn causes a downward spiral of negative consequences, such as a failure to keep to schedules, missing deadlines and failing to complete projects.

“As a result the company’s bottom line is negatively affected and it has no choice but to invest more capital to complete the scheduled projects. The key to the success of technology projects is managing and balancing its complexities. These complexities include defining the approach and implementation process of the project, as well as ensuring resources are specifically allocated to the work that needs to be done during the project. Furthermore, ensure the end results include specific goals to achieve value in terms of time, cost, performance, function and quality,” says Burger.

He gives the following reasons for the failure of technology projects:
•           Lack of sufficient upfront planning. Project planners often start executing too soon without a clear objective and proper project & risk management plan;

•           Lack of a properly defined implementation methodology. If not done properly, this will lead to re-work and time wasting;

•           Misalignment of expectations. A project has specific goals to achieve from a cost and functionality point of view. Misalignment of expectations occurs if the value of the function outweighs the cost;

•           Poor communication channels. Inevitably when a company starts putting in new systems, the way processes function and the way people work will change, along with their job descriptions. If these changes are not communicated properly, the change will have a negative impact;

•           Lack of executive support, management decision making and ability to execute. The project WILL incur delays if these key aspects are not in place;

•           Lack of resources. Companies don’t secure the right resources in the right quantity at the right time and they often realise too late that they need special resources which are scarce. Moreover, it takes time for these resources to be mobilised, causing huge delays in getting a job done;

•           Poor supply chain coordination causes delays;

•           Technical complexities, specifically around data migration, integration and infrastructure. These highly complex activities should be front-loaded with planning and start as soon as possible. The non-delivery on these tasks will cause delays in the majority of the deliverables.

“If a technology project lacks any one of the above, or if the proper standards are not followed throughout the project, the probability of failure increases,” concludes Burger.

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