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We Have Met The Enemy – He Is Us
or ICT Project Failure – The Human Factor
Peter M Salmon, CA, AIITP
Manning Charles & Ass...
My background
• Over 40 years experience with projects
• Formerly partner with Coopers & Lybrand
• Led professional servic...
Project “Failures” – some examples
• KPMG survey results showing that only one-third of
projects are delivering the desire...
ICT Project Performance*
• Organisations in the Information Technology sector
view themselves as more successful than aver...
Impact of ICT Project Failure
• Cost of failure is huge – US$ 6.2 trillion p.a
worldwide by one estimate , for IT alone
• ...
So then
• Why do so many projects fail?
• Why despite the news reports, enquiries,
conferences, papers, courses and books ...
The Villain
• Business Managers
• Consultants
• Vendors
People
10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charle...
Why are we the villains?
• A cynical, but quite possibly accurate post at
ComputerWeekly.com identified 5 probabilities
re...
Why are we the villains?
• A touching belief in silver bullets and the
benefits of snake oil
• The desire to be seen to be...
Contributory factors include
• Complexity impedes effective delivery – we
cannot resist the temptation to ‘solve world
hun...
Contributory factors include
• Core management skills shortage –
leadership
• Treating governance as a mechanistic
process...
What can we do?
• Make informed decisions, thus avoiding the
degradation of value resulting from broad-brush
actions, whic...
Leadership - the key to resolution
• Effective leadership at entity and project level is
critical
• Leadership must , in m...
Reducing the risk of failure
• Requires leadership, which means that leaders and others must
be coached and educated to ne...
The Four Ares
10/10/2014
© October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 14
Are we doing the right
thin...
Conclusion
• Understanding the human dimension is imperative
• Important to develop a clear view of outcomes
required
• Cl...
Important Notice – please read
• This notice applies to all materials and information available in
this presentation.
• Al...
About Peter Salmon
• Peter Salmon is a senior executive and consultant with
Manning Charles & Associates, and has had a lo...
Peter Salmon – Contact Details
Should you wish to contact Peter on this or any
other matter, where he might be able to ass...
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We Have Met The Enemy - He is Us - The human factor in project failure

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Presentation to #ITx2014- Peter Salmon looks at the root cause of project failure, why they continue to fail despite our best efforts, methodologies, and governance. Peter draws from decades of experience as a consultant, executive and project manager to consider the roles of managers, executives, vendors and consultants, and how governance itself affects project execution.

He provides some common sense steps IT professionals can take to reduce the chance a project will fail, while poking holes in the conventional wisdom.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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We Have Met The Enemy - He is Us - The human factor in project failure

  1. 1. We Have Met The Enemy – He Is Us or ICT Project Failure – The Human Factor Peter M Salmon, CA, AIITP Manning Charles & Associates Limited ITx2014 – Auckland – 9 October 2014
  2. 2. My background • Over 40 years experience with projects • Formerly partner with Coopers & Lybrand • Led professional services in Asia/Pacific for Unisys • Extensive involvement in project assessment • Varied background in business consulting 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 1
  3. 3. Project “Failures” – some examples • KPMG survey results showing that only one-third of projects are delivering the desired outcome. • Only a minority of survey respondents are consistently using best practices to deliver results. • Reported success rates vary widely across different industries, with organisations in the IT sector reporting better results • Some notable failures Novopay, INCIS, Capital & Coast DHB and UK’s –NHS IT project • ??? And the rest 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 2
  4. 4. ICT Project Performance* • Organisations in the Information Technology sector view themselves as more successful than average at completing projects successfully. They reported above-average project success (21%) on key measures of timely delivery, delivery on budget and delivery of stated deliverables. • The data does not explain the drivers behind this trend. One explanation may lie in the higher maturity in general of project management in the IT industry *Source KPMG 2013 Survey 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 3
  5. 5. Impact of ICT Project Failure • Cost of failure is huge – US$ 6.2 trillion p.a worldwide by one estimate , for IT alone • At a minimum a huge destruction of wealth and in many instances a wasteful spend of money • Many projects – are late, over budget or don’t meet planned objectives • Negative impact on services, productivity • Many organisations fail to properly measure value 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 4
  6. 6. So then • Why do so many projects fail? • Why despite the news reports, enquiries, conferences, papers, courses and books do we still see such a high failure rate? • Why are so many so quick to allocate blame to the project managers? • Given what appears to be waste on a massive scale, why do we keep pouring money into projects in this way? • What stops us from achieving improvement? 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 5
  7. 7. The Villain • Business Managers • Consultants • Vendors People 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 6
  8. 8. Why are we the villains? • A cynical, but quite possibly accurate post at ComputerWeekly.com identified 5 probabilities regarding the conduct of IT projects in the UK or US, whatever the political complexion of the administration:- – 1) Over-optimism – 2) A willingness to believe inspirational thought-leaders in the private sector who say that, yes, complexity in government can be simplified with technology (as opposed to changing the way things are done) – 3) An insistence by ruling politicians and senior civil servants that what seems to be an IT-based disaster is, in fact, a success – 4) What can be covered up will be – 5)Knowledgeable critics will be dismissed as Luddites 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 7
  9. 9. Why are we the villains? • A touching belief in silver bullets and the benefits of snake oil • The desire to be seen to be doing something • Ego • Organisational politics • Our capacity for self delusion, despite realities presented to us e.g. we are making an investment = this does not stack up economically 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 8
  10. 10. Contributory factors include • Complexity impedes effective delivery – we cannot resist the temptation to ‘solve world hunger in one project’ • Inadequate or lacking business case – many projects should never have been undertaken • Failure to address underlying core business issues • Project management ineffective – KPMG noted decline in use of PMOs • IT procurement weaknesses 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 9
  11. 11. Contributory factors include • Core management skills shortage – leadership • Treating governance as a mechanistic process • Organisational cultures which promote happy talk rather than reality – communication • Failure to share learnings 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 10
  12. 12. What can we do? • Make informed decisions, thus avoiding the degradation of value resulting from broad-brush actions, which are often the kneejerk reaction to a crisis • Focus investment so as to create and maintain value; enabling mitigating action where risk to value emerges • Rigorous assessment and delivery of new initiatives, in a manner based on optimal benefit/value achievement over the lifecycle, with appropriate risk mitigation when required • See as well Thorp: Using governance to navigate through troubled times 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 11
  13. 13. Leadership - the key to resolution • Effective leadership at entity and project level is critical • Leadership must , in my strongly held view, be combined with a sound ethical framework and robust values of integrity and straight dealing • Without leadership and values the plethora of acronyms such as ISO 38500, CoBIT, SarBox etc will be worthless; as will all the frameworks and legislation • The required leadership must be underpinned, organisationally and personally by integrity and strong values – cannot be over emphasized 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 12
  14. 14. Reducing the risk of failure • Requires leadership, which means that leaders and others must be coached and educated to necessary levels of understanding • Implementing appropriate policies, processes and organisations with unambiguous roles, responsibilities and accountabilities • Needs rigourous performance reporting :- Programme and Project Reviews, Portfolio Management etc. • Various studies suggest substantial value results (20% +) • Requires strong senior executive commitment to make it happen and to embed robust, effective governance in the organisational culture 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 13
  15. 15. The Four Ares 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 14 Are we doing the right things? Are we getting the benefits? Are we getting them done well? Are we doing them the right way? Enterprise Operations Business Adapted from the ‘Four Ares’ developed by John Thorp in The Information Paradox Strategy Organisation Delivery Value Alignment of process with business objectives. Organizational structure and process, and the integration of programmes within Organizational capability, resources available and supporting infrastructure needs Proactive management of activities seeking to maximize benefits
  16. 16. Conclusion • Understanding the human dimension is imperative • Important to develop a clear view of outcomes required • Clear focus on the overall perspective is invaluable • Getting the engagement of all parties is critical • Building a climate of trust aids resolution of governance situations, rather than blame • When setting up structures and processes, harness culture and people to them, not in competition or combat with them • Organisational and personal values are critical 10/10/2014 15© October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd
  17. 17. Important Notice – please read • This notice applies to all materials and information available in this presentation. • All information and materials are provided on an 'as is' basis and are not intended in any way to be comprehensive. • Any reader making use of this material does so at his/her own risk and readers are advised to take independent professional advice before acting on any information or materials found here. • Neither Peter Salmon, nor Manning Charles & Associates Limited , accepts any responsibility for, nor do they give any representations or warranties, express or implied, that any of the information and materials contained in this document and presentation are complete, accurate or free from errors or omissions. 16© October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd10/10/2014
  18. 18. About Peter Salmon • Peter Salmon is a senior executive and consultant with Manning Charles & Associates, and has had a long career in IT, working with C-level executives, management and staff to provide successful business focused outcomes across many business sectors. • Peter's consulting experience includes IT consulting, general consulting, financial investigations and litigation support. • His other experience includes executive management, professional services, practice management including service economics and profitability, quality assurance and resource management. 10/10/2014 © October 2014 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 17
  19. 19. Peter Salmon – Contact Details Should you wish to contact Peter on this or any other matter, where he might be able to assist then please contact:- Phone:- +64 21 533651, or Email:- manning.charles.assoc@gmail.com Web:- Some Thoughts – Peter Salmon’s website 10/10/2014 © October 2010 Peter M Salmon and Manning Charles & Associates Ltd 18

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