70% of IT projects fail, according to McKinsey. This is a widely known stat but understanding how to stop this happening in your IT team can be challenging. Whether its failure to meet timescales or budget or complete failure of the project, knowing how to run an IT project successfully can be a huge help to your organisation.
In this article we discuss the 4 main causes of IT project failure and what you can do to solve them.
- Clear requirements
This is probably the number 1 reason projects fail. Without clear requirements and objectives how can you keep the project on track.
If you are working with an IT partner and you do not have clear requirements, then it can be hard to keep track of progress and costs. Taking the time to fully understand your requirements upfront is a worthwhile exercise that will save you time and money during the project and will lead to a much better experience and relationship with your IT partner.
- Managing change
All projects experience scope creep via new ideas and suggestions along the way. These can be great but can also lead to a wide range of challenges. New ideas or suggestions normally come with additional work, which can lead to project delays and rising costs. It is not uncommon for the budget on a project to be spent without the key deliverables being achieved because of a lack of good change control.
To solve this, we suggest a strict adherence to the scope of work set out at the start of the project. Either a change board, project team or overall decision maker must be assigned to make decisions on any additional suggestions or requirements. It can be helpful to understand the cost in days or time to carry out the change before agreeing to it, so you understand the overall impact on the project. Another way of managing change can be to stick to the statement of work and project scope and move all other ideas and suggestions into a second phase that can be separately costed and scoped out, removing the complications and helping you ensure you are on time and on budget.
- Roles and responsibilities
Having clear roles and responsibilities is a great way of keeping a project moving and successful. Knowing exactly what your IT partner is going to be doing and what you are responsible for is key to keeping things moving.
Even an IT project where you are using an IT partner will require a significant input of time and resources from your own teams to make sure the solution meets your needs. Is there a clear decision maker/product owner? If there isn’t, then there needs to be. Decisions by committee can burn valuable time and resources trying to keep everyone happy and can sometimes get caught in a loop of constantly tweaking or changing things without a clear end. A final decision maker can cut through this and take responsibility for these decisions and keep the project moving properly.
Even if you have run a change controlled project with clear product owners and followed the initial requirements to the letter, your project can still fail and this can be because of a lack of UAT. UAT stands for User Acceptance Testing, it is where you take the solution developed and test it in your organisation with a collection of stakeholders and gather their feedback. UAT is the key step to making sure your solution meets the needs of your users and is designed properly.
UAT can be a challenge, it takes time away from peoples day job and prioritising this regularly leads to delays or if not done properly a solution where users don’t love it.
These are our top tips to ensure your IT project is successful. If you would like help with your IT projects, please contact us today.