A recent Gartner survey finds that somewhere between 20% and 28% of all IT Projects fail. This survey goes on to document the main reasons for failure, the top three of which are: “Functionality Issues”, “Substantially late”, and “High cost variance” (Gartner, June 2012). However, these are only the symptoms of deeper problems that stay hidden below the surface. The main cause for the functionality issues and project cost and schedule overruns that Gartner highlights is due to poor management. In my experience, here are some of the root causes of project management failure:
- Unclear objectives
- Unclear scope
- No plan or poor plan
- Poor communication
- Lack of expectation establishment and management
- Lack of continual project monitoring
In order to avoid these failures, certain questions must be asked at the beginning of a project, as well as throughout the project:
- Why are we doing this?
- What is and is not included in the project?
- What is needed, when is it needed, and who will complete it?
- Who needs to know what, and when?
- Who is responsible for what?
- When and where did we go off track?
If these questions are asked and taken seriously, what will result is:
- Clearly defined objectives with team support
- Agreed up project scope and expectations
- Project plans that are developed by the right stakeholders
- Clear and approved communications
- An appropriate “battle rhythm” or cadence for checking and reporting of status
Beacon has the right recipe for success when it comes to project management. That’s why our projects are continually successful. We take the time to understand the customer’s requirements and needs, then we document those objectives and scope, and create a plan to deliver our product on time and in budget. At Beacon, each web development project includes these tools:
- Business Requirements Document – This is an important document that defines the project’s objectives and scope, as well as the client’s high-level needs and desired features and capabilities. The document is developed after Beacon and the client meet for requirements gathering sessions.
- Project Plan – This is a timeline of tasks that must be accomplished in order to complete the project. It includes tasks for both Beacon’s development and the client’s review and input.
- Periodic project reviews and status reports, are conducted both internally and with the customer to ensure the project stays on course and within budget. Any issues that arise will be proactively addressed and handled as a team.
Though projects vary widely in scope and need, this list of project management tools helps guarantee the success of the project as well as the satisfaction of our clients. These tools ensure that each project asks the right questions on the outset, and continually monitor and control project performance and delivery.