Figure 625 IT Project Execution Barriers Execution is the challenge

Achievement of business benefit is not measured

Project selection is not prioritized on a portfolio basis

Commitments are not met by business or IT groups

Project selection is not prioritized on a portfolio basis

Undefined business value and success metric

Project scope - too big, too long, too vague

Project costing (estimates vs. actual) unmanaged

The most common barriers to project success are these:

■ Unclear and unmeasured business value: Funded projects are selected without a clear business case, defined metrics, or measurement strategy. IT project portfolios are not actively reviewed and revised.

■ Poor governance processes: Roles and responsibilities of business and IT project members and stakeholders are not well defined. Neither side is mutually accountable for project success; commitments are not met.

■ Poor communication: Weak communication among project team members, sponsors, and stakeholders leads to conflicting goals and schedules.

■ Cost overruns: Inadequate budgeting, poor financial controls, and lack of contingency planning result in cost overruns.

■ Time overrun: Without executive sponsorship and leadership involvement, project management schedules are often not actively tracked.

■ Scope growth: Projects lacking short-term deliverables and interim milestones often incur extended scope due to overdesign and poor accountability.

Of course, you should not take any of this as an indictment of IT project management. Although only about 34 percent of projects achieve true success, it is still true that IT projects are virtually impossible without some form of project management. The key is to understand, up front, that IT projects that are seeking to achieve a transformation of any part of the organization are likely to be hard to do. Rather than drop such projects, it is better to focus on those things that can promote project success within the context of sound project management.

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