Projects

“No IT projects”? A practical take

Tweet If you follow the news, it’s quite clear that we’re in the “silly season” of politics, that time when people eagerly grab hold of any questionable statement of their opponent and use it to extrapolate rank incompetence or dastardly intentions (or worse). Language is frequently quoted out of context, definitions become blurred, things get […]

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“ASAP” considered harmful

Tweet When do you want it?  “As soon as possible”, comes the ready answer. Everyone says it. Everyone knows what they mean by it, in essence, and it seems fairly harmless.  But more often than not, I’ve seen it overused as a substitute for real thought and real leadership. Especially in this new era of […]

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We don’t like that estimate. Change it.

Tweet CIO: “We can’t go live in six weeks as you want.  It’s going to take at least three months.” CEO: “That’s … unacceptable!” One of the most recurring memes in IT, for me, has to be hearing “we don’t like that estimate”, coming from stakeholders, senior management, etc. Depending on the mood and/or semi-intellectual […]

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The IT project failure dilemma: how to get early warnings

Tweet Thinking about how to prevent big system project failure has somehow always reminded me of the Will Rogers quote: “Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.” In other words, with big projects, […]

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Simple, more practical approaches to actual resource allocation

Tweet Anyone ever tell you that a simpler approach can often work better than a more complex one? Whoever it was, it probably wasn’t a project management software vendor.  But simplicity has its merits, and I’d like to point out a few of these when it comes to resource allocation. Project management, at its core, is […]

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IT transparency is good. But how transparent should you be?

Tweet A few years back, I had an extremely surprising and unpleasant experience as CTO. The director of my Program Management Office ran a weekly status meeting for project stakeholders, where we’d all methodically go through the current project portfolio, in order to communicate on issues, gather necessary feedback, and align everyone’s expectations. I typically […]

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Complexity isn’t simple: multiple causes of IT failure

Tweet Roger Sessions recently published a white paper on IT complexity and its role in IT project failure: “The IT Complexity Crisis: Danger and Opportunity”.  It’s certainly possible to quarrel with bits and pieces of his analysis, and thereby tweak his numbers, but the overall thrust remains undeniable: IT failures are costing the world incredible […]

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“Refuse to lose”: how executive pressure contributes to IT failure

Tweet “We went live before the system was ready”.  It’s a common excuse/explanation that I hear from IT people when they tell war stories about system launches that failed miserably. Implicit (and sometimes explicit) is the add-on statement: “and we told them so beforehand, too.” There are obviously many things (and many parts of the […]

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