By Rob Prinzo, Founder and CEO, The Prinzo Group
If you work in the business world, you likely have heard of or experienced horror stories with complex software implementations that range from daily headaches to loss of business. But the fact is that most organizations do not anticipate project failure. Instead, they plan for success, governed by budget, next-step deliverables, executive expectations, and go-live deadlines. Heads down to the task at hand, the project manager and team have little visibility and less control over potential risks within the project—until it’s too late.
Not unlike the evolution of business process reengineering, we are discovering that there is a better way to plan for and prevent failure. It begins with a blueprint of strategic project assurance at critical points in the implementation project’s evolution. It establishes clear understanding of expectations among all people involved—from the executives to the business and IT management to vendor partners and end-users.
Over the years, countless papers and articles have been written on software implementation project success rates and why projects fail. Interestingly enough, the reasons projects fail are the same today as they were 10 years ago: lack of top management commitment, unrealistic expectations, poor requirements definition, improper package selection, gaps between software and business requirements, inadequate resources, underestimating time and cost, poor project management, lack of methodology, underestimating impact of change, lack of training and education, and last, but not least, poor communication.
In short, projects will continue to fail due to human factors. This is especially true for businesses today where system implementations may cross many internal and external organizational boundaries. The question is: How can we improve the odds for implementation success if we continue to approach systems implementation as we have in the past?
The Need for Project Assurance
One way to avoid the system implementation mistakes of the past is to adopt a modern view of project assurance methodology. Project assurance is about making sure projects are delivered on time, on budget, with client acceptance. Having project assurance as part of a large-scale business system implementation helps you:
Project Assurance methodologies, such as Collaborative InterventionSM, are based on the following principles or best practices:
At the end of the day, having a project assurance methodology gives you the power to go beyond traditional project management barriers and gives you the answers you need to assure project success. It helps you to identify and resolve the strategic, tactical and intangible issues—and manage the human factors—before issues become insurmountable. And best of all, project assurance gives you (and everyone else involved) peace of mind that the project is on the right track.
Rob Prinzo is founder and CEO of The Prinzo Group, a knowledge firm that provides performance management expertise through project assurance solutions for enterprise transformation and technology projects, as well as performance measurement research, publications, workshops, and training. He holds a Master’s Degree in industrial management and a Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, both from Clemson University. His book, “No Wishing Required: The Business Case for Project Assurance,” is available at nowishingrequired.comand Amazon.com.