Full Content: The purpose of today’s session is to help organizations better prepare for technology implementation challenges. The specific topics include: Current Situation of IT Projects ImplementationWhat is the IT project success rate?Why are IT projects so challenging?Framework for Bridging Planning and ExecutionWhat is a simple and workable framework? How to make it real? Planning for ImplementationWhat are the key components of planning? What are the best practices?Executing ChallengesWhat is vendor management?What is project management?Sustaining the Project OutcomeHow to make it stick?Why is operational management important?
Te has been involved in higher education industry for over 10 years: Teaching at Montclair State University for the past ten years; Stevens Institute earlierWorked with higher ed clients including College Boards, Columbia University Teacher School InnovationVP of Program Management at Access GroupHighlights of career – pertaining to projects and programsCreated a professional services team named “Execution Management” at HandshakeShut down a major IT project of nearly $15+M at Access GroupSuccessfully built Student Loan Servicing at Access Group, Regional COEs at KPMG, and currently building a “Single Code Factory” also at KPMG.Other notable programs include Consumer Reports, Standard and Poors, and establishing product development capabilities at College Board
IT projects today are challenging, for a multitude of reasons:TechnologyTechnology is changing rapidly. There are inherent risk, especially at cutting edge.Scarcity of talented resources. For my current project, it took over 9 months just to find someone with SAP skills.Cost is often over budgetApplication have a long life. This means not only the upfront implementation cost is high, the maintenance and regular updates are also high. The is reflected in the growing concern over total cost of ownership.But technology is often the least of the concerns.Business processesIn the 1970’s and 1980’s, the focus was an automation.In the 1990’s, the focus turned to integration with the rise of ERP (enterprise resource planning tool) as business re-engineered.In the 2000’s, the focus turned to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).Today, the attention is business intelligence – how to tap into the wealth of knowledge about customers, products, industry, and organization.With each new level of focus, the need for integration, process reengineering, usability, and now intelligence increases. The complexity is rising quickly.But business process, while challenging, are still “deterministic”.People factorOften the biggest challenge deals with people and organizationIdiosyncrasies of the sponsors, expertsDifficulty of defining requirementsUsers
According to a 2009 Standish Group survey, only 32% of IT projects are considered successful.Almost 25% were considered failures, and44% were considered to be challenged as they were either late, over budget, did not meet scope, or some combination Considering the success rate was around 25% in the last decade, the improvement is rather insignificant, especially when considering the huge advancements in fields such as project management.There are many reasons for these failures. The next slide presents a taxonomy of failures.
According to this paper, there are six root causes of failure:Project management – the ability to provide proper planning and controlTop management – this is a question of ownership and commitmentTechnology factors – in addition to resource expertise, there is the challenge of extending technology beyond its limit thus creating uncertaintyOrganization factors – One of the most important factor is decision making style and the ability of the organization to adhere to its decisionComplexity – we discussed this great detail alreadyProcess factors – there are many ways to do things. From expertise, it is often more important for an organization to choose one set of processes and follow it through.
Regarding higher education, the implication of Standish research is less clear. On one hand, according to a recent Gartner Survey of Higher Education, Higher Ed is in last place compared to other industries in exploiting outsourcing (as measured in percent of IT budget) at 13% versus 24% (across 21 industries)On the other hand, by relying less on vendors the project’s success rate may actually be higher than the industry average. Regardless, Gartner’s Survey shows that Higher Ed needs to be more efficient by leveraging external sourcing more strategically. For example, according to the same Gartner’s survey, only 20% of higher education CIOs have a documented sourcing strategy – an indication that very few treat external sourcing strategically.
For organizations that are tackling major IT projects, it is important to underpin the approach with a sensible framework to guide work. Below is one such framework.PlanDetermine goals and objectivesDevelop specific scope and requirementsPerform capabilities gap analysis – what you have and what you needDecide on an action planBuildDetermine a governance structure that works for youCreate a robust project environmentBe realistic with milestones and celebrate when they are achievedTackle issues and risks, preferably in advanceSustainMake it easy for the users to adopt the technology Develop transition plan to operations earlyDetermine the operational model and the agreed service levelCreate continuous improvement processes
What are the primary goals that the project is aiming to achieve?How are they tied to the overall strategy of the organization?Are the goals realistic and achievable?How well is the requirement defined?What is the capability gap between what you already have internally versus what you need to acquire in the marketplace?For the capabilities that you need to acquire, do you have the expertise to manage the vendors?What is the roadmap from here to getting the project completed? Is there an action plan?
Alignment. Always align your projects (think of them as investments) with the organization’s goals30% Rule. When working with vendors, make sure you have at least 30% of the knowledge in order to manage them. Otherwise, seek a trusted advisor.Be true to yourself. Be realistic with your internal capabilities. Organizations often overstate competencies.Requirements. Developing the right requirements is critical to success. It is also a good way to mitigate vendor risk. Success. Define your success metrics early. It is important that everyone agrees on these metrics. See SMARTIE system.
The SMART system is well established. But for today’s complicated world, there are two additional factors (Integrated and Essential):Using the “SMARTIE” system to define success:Specific – 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why)Measurable – Preferably quantitative and objectiveAttainable – (Internal evaluation) Do we have the capability, resources, and drive to achieve this?Realistic – (External evaluation) Is there precedence? Have others within similar resources and constraints achieved this? Timely – Does the goal change over time?Integrated. Organizations must define success metrics that are multi-dimensional and truly reflect the entire work. It’s typically a collection of criteria, but the holistic thinking is critical. How well is the metric aligned and integrated with the organization’s overall objectives? Are there areas of conflicts?Essential. Is the objective stated truly essential and relevant to the overall project? Or is it a good to have? Can it be manual, even if it is less than ideal? Large programs and projects often have multiple phases. Should this be in a future phase instead of crowding everything into this one – thus increasing its risk of failure. Is the objective really essential and relevant to the project’s success?
The original MoSCoW was designed for requirements prioritization. I adopted here for success criteria prioritization.The MoSCoW method is an easy system to prioritize (requirements and success metrics), popularized in the Dynamic System Development Methodology.The example below applies to success metrics, but it can also be modified for prioritizing requirements.Must Have – Essential to the project’s success. The project should strive to achieve 90% or more of this success criterionShould Have – Important considerations. The project should strive to achieve a reasonable percentage (say 50% or greater) of this success criterionCould Have – Valuable factors. Some aspect of this should be achieved. Project teams should look for synergies to achieve this with other higher priority objectivesWould Like To Have – Worthy factors. Should be considered in context, especially in future phases.
What is the governance plan? Is there a single owner who has the clout to get this done?What is the decision process? How fast?What is the project management approach?Is there a project management plan? Methodology?Who is controlling the project and how?Who are the stakeholders and are their expectations reasonable?If there are vendors involved in delivery, what is the vendor management plan? Does the project have realistic scope, schedule, budget, and resources?
Project Management. This is the most frequently cited reason for project failure. But, project management is more than a process or method, it is about leadership.Leadership. Make sure the project leaders are empowered to take suitable risks.Process. Define the key processes and methods early. There are, at minimum, two methods to consider: project management and IT developmentResources. Assign / hire the best people you can afford.Vendor Management. Trust has to be earned. Make sure the objectives are as aligned as possible. Consider random audits.Risk. Increase peripheral vision and explore dependencies, especially between vendors.
ContextIn Planning, the situation is often idealized. But in Build, work must now be delivered and the situation is rarely idealized. Three common challengesConflicts – 3 types: Task-based, process-based, and interpersonalTask-based – Disagreement on priorityProcess-based – Disagreement on “how” to work Interpersonal – Personal disagreement (the most dangerous of the three)Trade-offs – Leaders must be prepared to make tough choices as all projects have limited resources. There is no “free lunch.” For example, more time dedicated to testing will result in higher quality product. But, time costs money.Decision Making – Projects often require rapid escalation and decisions, and this often does not fit with the organization culture. Leaders must “harmonize” the differences and determine the best process.
What is the user adoption strategy? How do you know that users will adopt it?How to make it easy for the users to say “yes”?What are the user “performance metrics” and how are they tracked and monitored?Who is managing the IT operations (infrastructure, software application)?How are the operations measured? How are defects and changes managed? Are their established service level agreements?What is the transition plan between project and operations?How are improvement suggestions managed? Is there a plan for continuous improvement?
Think from the customer’s perspective. Make it easy for the users to adopt the technology. Remove obstacles, keep things simple, and make it compelling.Ideally, this is designed upfront as user requirements. But, in sustainment mode it is important to maintain and preferably increase customer loyalty.Operations. This is often the most important component of the overall endeavor, but it is often the one that receives the least upfront attention – until something goes wrong.If Operations is managed by the vendors, hire a strong manager or trusted advisor to manage the vendors.Define operational metrics, especially service levels.Be very clear on the processes to manage issues, defects, enhancement requests, and service requests.
Explain the overall framework. All businesses perform 3 functions: Plan, Operate, and Change. Change is inevitable, even for the slowest and most mature organizations.For vast majority of organizations, the strategic imperative is to balance between the two pillars of change.Evolutionary change – slow incremental changes, such as automation and streamlining or responding to regulatory changesRevolutionary changes – breakthrough innovation, launching new businessesMost organizational transformational changes are more revolutionary in mindset, if not in practice.Most importantly, explain that the framework is about embedding and harmonizing tactics with strategy.Change, except for the most basic such as dealing with the latest fire, should be enshrouded from a strategic perspectiveBut even the most strategic change must be realistic and deal with the tactics of how to get there.
Discuss the five key integrative areas, and what makes SBI special:Action should be planned from the beginning. Even when developing a corporate strategy, there needs to be a question of “how to make it work”. Action Planning must be grounded in three core concepts:Realistic – Actions must be reasonably achievable – meaning that the resources, skills, funding, etc can be stretched but should not be impossible to perform. In the worst case, good people are “set up to fail” because of the impossibility of the skills.Integrative – In complex projects, very few activities are truly standalone. This requires planning in an integrative fashion. Many organizations today wants to “do more with less”. While worthy, the shortcuts often results in longer term pains.Alignment – Do not lose sight of the bigger picture2. Roadmapping is a critical exercise, perhaps the most important of the planning work. It is often easy to envision the nirvana, but how to get there is considerably harder.3. Program / project execution – more on that later4. Transition to operations – This is especially important if it is different team responsible for project versus operations. Knowledge transfer is more than just “teaching” the new system. It requires time to determine and document the changes in business processes, operational procedures, rules of conduct, service levels, and interaction with end customers.5. Collaboration – Big change is multi-disciplinary by nature. The SBI framework on the previous slide only lists some of these areas. A strong program manager must weave these considerations early on.
A capability “heat” map provides a mechanism to convert ideas to action. Similar concepts can be applied to creating new product development, process improvement, and business transformation.The numbers 0 to 5 represents different level of maturity. 0 = Not available / ad hoc - This capability or process has not been formally introduced 1 = Basic - Either No change from the current situation or basic concept introduced 2 = Improved - Improved capabilities strive toward standardization and clarity of capability or process definition 3 = Building upon improved capabilities, efficiency is gained through consistent adoption and execution across the regions 4 = After attaining efficiency, the goal is to achieve greater effectiveness as defined by consistency and repeatability of results 5 = The processes and capabilities are mature and stable; continue to seek for continuous improvements
Avoid big bang projects (with some exceptions in the ERP projects). This means keep the project short and deliver value at every juncture.Establish effective governance early on – this includes but is not limited to project management, risk management, cost and budget management, decision making, prioritization, and conflict resolution.Be realistic with yourself and your expectations. Technology is not a panacea and it takes hard work. Even adopting an off-the-shelf technology can be painful if there are enough customizations (avoid them at all cost).Technology vendors often overpromise and under deliver. Be wary. (Mitigation: Develop excellent requirements, agree internally on success metrics, and establish project management)70/30 Rule – Even if you outsource everything, make sure you have at least 30% of the capabilities from a trusted source to ensure proper monitoring and tracking of vendor’s work.
Next Gen Innovation
Navigating Technology This presentation is used during an oral presentation and discussion. Without the accompanying oral comments, the text is incomplete as a record of the presentation. September 18, 2012 Version 1.0 Created by Te Wu PMO Advisory LLC