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5 Reasons IT Projects Fail

Last updated: 13 Apr 2023

It’s no secret that technology is changing rapidly and is becoming more and more integrated with businesses across all industries. Most organizations are aware of this and are dealing with the dynamic nature of technology in primarily one of two ways: (1) they use the break-fix method; they only update when technology breaks or reaches the end of life, or (2) they strategically plan what technology to update at the most appropriate time.

We all know that method 2 is smarter, less costly, and less disruptive. You could be advocating method 2 on a larger, more macro scale within your organization. But implementing each new technological solution is a project that requires Project Managers. Are your Project Managers advocating the same thing? According to the 2016 Innotas Annual Project and Portfolio Management Survey, 55% of respondents reported they had a project fail, meaning the project came up short in scope, time, or budget. So even though we all know the right way to implement new technology, why do IT projects fail so often? Here are some common mistakes that might explain it:

Unclear Goals and Acceptance Criteria

IT projects will fail with unclear targets. Without understanding the scope and desirable project outcome, one cannot expect a project to succeed. In other words, no light at the end of the tunnel, and no map to figure out where you’re going. There are specific instances where the Agile project management methodology is necessary, like software development projects, which would not require such specific goals. But IT projects mostly utilize the Waterfall project management methodology, as opposed to Agile, simply because it is nearly impossible to implement a new IT solution without understanding the end goal.

Inadequate Planning

In the PMO (Project Management Office), it’s ideal to have guidelines set around project processes, project security rules, project tools, etc., mainly for governance and consistency purposes. But planning each specific project using comprehensive project management methodologies is a must. When planning an IT project, one must consider scope, cost, timing, quality, communication, risks, user adoption and interaction, procurement, and more. Too often one of these important factors gets overlooked, which is what inevitably leads to project failure.

Insufficient Communication

Another common reason IT projects fail is because of disastrously poor communication. Effective and efficient communication with all key stakeholders, including upper management, project teams, and customers (aka users) is vital to the success of a project. What is the plan, are there stage gates, is there required communication between the onsite engineer and Help Desk, what will users experience, will there be downtime, etc.

Cost-cutting Approaches

Not allotting funds to a project can have serious consequences. Allocating an insufficient budget for your project will result in less skilled resources, missing elements, and more frequent quality issues. For a project to be successful, you must plan, implement and test, which all require enough resources to thoroughly complete. Cutting corners leads to project failure.

Incompetent Project Managers

Inspiring leadership can go a long way toward bringing about IT project success. Project managers are responsible for managing time, money, effective communication, team performance and progress, problem resolution, and more. But if project managers are not following the guidelines set by the PMO, or are not considering and responding to the organization’s needs set by the Primary Stakeholders, IT projects will not succeed.

While you may be espousing a method of strategically planning your organization’s technological updates and implementation, you need to make sure that mentality is used throughout all levels of the organization to ensure IT project success. Hiring a third-party Managed IT Services company can be a great way of ensuring projects go well. They have dedicated and certified Project Managers who understand the importance of IT strategic planning and can help you implement it within your organization.

Want to learn more about what type of IT projects you can streamline with a Managed IT Services provider like us? Receive a free consultation from BlackPoint IT today at 866.575.9512 or fill out our contact form and we’ll call you.

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