Mitigate the Risk of IT Project Failures
The failure rate of IT projects is appalling. In my 30+ years of IT software experience, I can safely say that custom-built software as well as cloud-based software projects do not meet planned objectives in 7 out of 10 cases. And if it comes to finding the main culprit, all five fingers point to ‘Senior Management’ of the company.
I once read a pun about road accidents that is true also for software projects – “The maximum number of accidents are caused by the nut that holds the steering wheel”. In smaller enterprises, the need for business automation starts at the very top and is immediately and fiercely resisted by the lower levels. The fear of accountability and visibility raises imaginary obstacles. This may slow down the start of a project, but the lack of participation by ‘Senior Management’ is the real nail in the coffin that forever seals its fate.
As a business owner, you embark upon an automation project for a myriad of reasons. Efficiency, modernization, or sheer Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Take an example of an IT project like a CRM implementation. While the teething troubles may be overcome by a skillful integrator, the lack of participation by sales managers, CEOs, and founders diminishes the morale of the actual users.
Reports are the key output of any system and when managers stop reading or relying on them there is no incentive for the users to input data in the system or to provide accurate details that exploit the full potential of the software.
Requirements study is an essential start to any project and participation must be at all levels of the organization including the top. When a founder or senior managers are too busy to contribute, it dilutes the analysis phase. Discovering gaps only after the software is developed or has been configured is a sure recipe for disaster. Don’t conceive a project if you are not able to devote time during the requirement analysis stage.
Testing inadequacy on the client side allows the developer/integrator to sign off an incomplete or bug-filled project. The frustration of the users is reason enough for abandoning the project or losing faith in its value. Identify internal resources to spend time during the test phase or outsource the QA to an external agency if it’s a bigger project.
And finally, if you have to make your IT project a success then you have to make sure that you invest sufficient time in finding the right partner. This is as critical for custom-application as for off-the-shelf software implementation. In both cases, you need partners who understand business processes, human culture, and your corporate goals.
IT projects are not destined for the thrash-bin nor hold-up forever. They help you edge out your competition by reducing cost, increasing value, and enabling innovation in customer service. As an owner, take the full onus, from start-to-finish and enjoy the fruits of automation.
Mohammed Sutarwala, Managing Director, emQube