Learn The Keys To Avoiding Tragic IT Project Failures

Working on complex projects can demand an enormous amount of resources. This includes human capital and the intelligence required to create software, financial investment and sweat equity.

No matter whether it is a small project between a client and a few developers, or a large development costing over $10 million, every technology software project is susceptible to major blind spot issues that can threaten the completion or success of the project. In this video, you will learn how to plan for success and avoid these types of pitfalls.

Video Transcript:

Important Facts about IT Project Failures

Four Big Issues

What I want to do for this session is look at four big issues or IT project failures. This is the safety session. This is the session that is going to stop bad things happening in your world. Alex’s session towards the end is going to look at how to make good things happen. It’s going to look at how to run projects really well.

The stats on technology projects are not good. Maybe the reason that so many things fail is because the stats on tech projects are bad. McKinsey, one of the world’s big consulting firms and Oxford Uni, got together and did some numbers. They looked at just over 5,000 large IT projects where the value was over $15,000,000. Seventeen percent of them were so bad they threatened the viability of the business. You’ve spent $15,000,000 on a system and your project went so badly it threatened the existence of the company.

On average, large IT projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time while delivering 56% less than the value predicted. Could you imagine if that was true of the building industry, or frankly any other industry? There are some bad things that can happen. IBM looked at 1,500 executives, only 40% of the projects met the target.

But the best organisations were ten times more successful than the worst. That’s why this is important because the variance is massive. It is possible to do this well.

Case Study

I want to give you some examples from smaller projects, because they were big ones. There is a lady I was talking to, I’ve known her now for twelve months. I was talking to her as late as a couple of weeks ago. She runs a successful business about the same size as Alliance Software, about twenty to thirty staff. She had some software developed with a firm. We came in initially to quote on a separate project.

We got talking about this earlier project and I ended up giving her a bit of consulting around unwinding some of the mess. This is what had happened. She had gone in and built software with a firm and effectively had no formal agreements other than to say we’re going to pay this much money. (We’ll talk about intellectual property in a moment).

What ended up happening was that this firm took the view that they owned the intellectual property in the project and it got worse. The key developer who was working on the project had built up a very specific way of doing things. The actual nature of the project any software developer could have done. But they built up a certain way of doing it.

The key developer left and they trialed a number of other developers and couldn’t get it back in. She eventually got to the position where this software runs her business. All of her paying customers use the app and the website, to give her the data that she needs to run her business. This firm will not release the IP, have lost interest in the project, they can’t get the software worked on anymore. So she is hoping and praying that the app store doesn’t block her app because it becomes obsolete. The app store is now starting to block apps that they deem to be old and obsolete and not updated.

She doesn’t own the IP. The firm won’t work on it anymore, we can’t get the IP out and it runs her business. She spent $250,000 to get it in the first place. It’s pretty ugly. All of that could have been avoided with what I’m going to tell you now and half an hour of very basic negotiations.

This is the safety session. That is what it’s for. We’re going to talk about intellectual property, quality and testing, security, scalability and they’re our big four that we want to make sure we cover.

No matter the size of the project or the amount of money invested, you can see that every project can run the risk of unforeseen challenges that could potentially shut the project down. By taking a close look at the concepts we have developed to protect our investment of time, money and intellectual property, any development project can avoid costly pitfalls and achieve success.

If you’re looking for help to get your development project headed in the right direction, please get in touch with us today.

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