No business environment is without errors, irrespective of the company’s field or size. However, when the IT department implements a major project that fails to produce the expected results and bring the company the much touted benefits, executive and stakeholder patience is exhausted fairly quickly. A number of explanations for the lack of success of an IT project can be found, ranging from lack of preparation or planning as well as exceeding the resources (financial or otherwise) that the company can afford to allocate. Let’s examine five of the most frequently encountered grounds for failure.
1. Integrating technology that’s cool, but ultimately unnecessary
With the advent of numerous technologies that appear to simplify our lives and the business environment, it’s relatively easy to go overboard. In other words, you could be persuaded by the shiny new features and complex algorithms, and fail to see the fact that a certain project just doesn’t have a place within your company.
When you decide whether or not a certain technology should be implemented, don’t get sidetracked. Always ask yourself why it would be useful and how it could benefit your business, in a strictly objective manner.
2. Commencing the project before the planning phase is finalized
Your IT department may pressure you into accepting their project and starting the implementation ASAP, either because they fail to see the whole picture or because they’re ‘drunk’ on past successes. They tend to work under the assumption that virtually every issue that arises can be solved by throwing more technology at it. Unfortunately, this category of practices is not only ineffective financially, but stands to have potentially disastrous consequences for your operations.
When you don’t draw a strict set of rules and guidelines and plan for every foreseeable outcome, you’re bound to run into problems in the implementation phase. It’s like going fishing without knowing where the lake is.
3. Failing to establish limitations
Without a doubt, all IT projects are liable to a number of changes and additions that would improve its functionality to various extents. However, continuing to perform alterations and adding features without any restrictions, rather than focusing on the core concept inevitably leads to missed deadlines and growing expenditures. Furthermore, those features might not even be useful in the greater order of things.
4. Refusing to pull the plug on a doomed project
Similarly to a poker player who continues to increase his bids in an attempt to recuperate his losses, some managers continue to fund IT projects that are evidently doomed. In other words, because they have already invested significant company resources, pulling the plug seems like a mistake. However, it’s always better to monitor the project in various stages and evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility than to persist in error despite the evidently negative outcome. Set milestones and goals for each of them, and you’ll be able to achieve a clear picture of how well the project is doing.
5. Calculating the ROIs wrongly and overestimating the lifespan of the solution
All IT projects should be evaluated based on their ROI, and this is particularly true when the anticipated expenditure is limited whereas the benefits are presumed to be spectacular. What may initially appear as low cost or even free could come with unexpected piling costs later on that render the whole affair counterproductive.
Finally, don’t forget to plan the strategy for the final days of the IT solution you intend to implement. As the project progresses, you will be faced with numerous requests for additions, tweaking, updates and maintenance expenses. There is a threshold after which it would be better to implement a new solution rather than pour vast amounts of resources into up-keeping the current one. To avoid failure, it will also be best to go for IT consulting services so that you will not waste time and money on IT solutions that will not work for your business.