Unmasking project/programme failure

All too frequently technology projects/programmes fail to deliver.

There are any number of reasons why this occurs. It might be due to unrealistic planning, inadequate change management or lack of internal quality control. It may simply be that these projects/programmes did not deliver an expected benefit.

Organizations are eager to avoid this type of failure and strive to be able to keep projects/programmes under control in order to achieve what is actually required of them.

Organizations are increasingly employing measures to overcome the risk of failure. Indeed for many organisations, the business demands levels of assurance that the final solution/deliverables will meet the expectations of all stakeholders (this must be achieved before such solutions are put into a production environment). This is especially pertinent for regulatory controlled organisations.

Frequently business management is directly engaging external (to the project/programme organisation) specialist resources to assess the effectiveness of both project/programme management, on-going progress of the project/programme and delivery of key deliverables. These resources are working throughout the duration of the project/programme lifecycle, reporting directly to the organization’s business management on the performance of the project/programme.

The basis of these on-going assessments relies on a risk-based approach and seek to evaluate performance as well as validate and verify a range of key performance indicators (KPI) and measures. Each organisation develops their own collection of KPIs, measures and assessment areas, and will use them during internal reviews, health checks and audits of their project/programme portfolios.

There are a number of early adopter organisations that have refined their approach and have developed mature and well-established frameworks. Certainly many professional services firms have established their own unique frameworks, perfected over several years and now finely polished to assist their clients.

So what areas should an organisation be looking at to ensure fewer projects fail. Good question! Rather than make this post any longer than it already is, I’ll address these areas in a subsequent post.

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