Headspring maintains a 98% project success rate by implementing a series of best practices. Here are 8 statistics highlighting common pitfalls of enterprise IT projects & the steps you can take to avoid them.
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AV IDING ENTERPRISE
IT FAILURE 8 WAYS HEADSPRING
PROJECTS BEAT THE ODDS
Most enterprise IT projects
face a grim outlook:
In 2012 alone,
of businesses reported
an IT project failure.1
Those failure rates are
daunting, but Headspring
maintains a 98%
project success rate
by implementing a series
of best practices. Here are
8 statistics highlighting
common pitfalls of
enterprise IT projects and
the steps you can take to
BE TRANSPARENT TO USERS
THROUGHOUT THE PROJECT.
Don’t defer feedback, validation and testing until
the end of the project; instead, take an iterative
approach that lets you adjust along the way.
Waiting until the end of the project to gather
feedback results in rework and delays.
The more unknowns in your project, the more you
must shorten the feedback loop.
Don’t assume you’ll get the project right the first
time. Remember that, for the business users, good
enough now is preferable to perfect later. Don’t
let “perfect” ruin “good.”
Line-of-business users – not IT – own the software.
Get stakeholder and end-user buy-in early, and keep them
engaged throughout the process. Have the development team
observe how end users really use applications in their jobs.
Avoid fragmented development ownership. If your
environment is decentralized, a lack of accountability between
geographically dispersed stakeholders can cause time and budget
Have the right people make project estimations. Most projects
are underestimated, resulting in much higher costs and lengthy
delivery. Project managers tend to underestimate software
development costs, and developers typically underestimate
governance and oversight. Ask the developers who will work on
the project to estimate software development costs and ask the
project managers to estimate costs for governance and oversight.
Combine the two to get a more realistic project estimate.
ONE in SIX
projects is a black swan
with an average overrun
of 200% and schedule
overrun of almost 70%.
Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole by
selecting familiar technology that is not appropriate for
the project; or selecting new technology just because it’s
Although you may be able to deliver a product
within scope and budget initially, any shortfall in
the technology will become apparent during
If you do use new tools, be sure to apply tried-and-
true project management methodologies for product
planning and team structure. Although the underlying
tools have changed, project management needs remain
the same. Iterative development still requires planning.
When testing technology, ensure that the test
environment mirrors the production environment.
Many projects fail because testing isn’t performed in
real-world usage environments.
FOR THE JOB.
of businesses experience
the same major tech failure
Prioritize with the Pareto Principle: 20% of
features deliver 80% of the system value. Tackling
that 20% first – and getting it live – keeps you from
spending the remaining 80% of your budget on
Focus efforts on the 80% of the functions that
will deliver value for most users. Avoid being
distracted by ‘one off’ requests for features/
functions that only a few users want.
FOCUS ON MOST
Larger IT projects
more likely to fail
than small projects.5
Too much time spent working on infrastructure in the
back room rather than user functionality can derail a
Instead, include budget and time for user-acceptance
testing during the project rather than seeking to deliver
a completed, final product.
Accept that as development continues, the business
needs will change. Be ready to adjust to those changes.
DELIVER A TANGIBLE PRODUCT
QUICKLY: CLOSE THE LOOP ON
WORKING SOFTWARE EARLY.
Large IT projects run
over budget and 7%
over schedule while
delivering 56% less
value than predicted.6
Communicate with the
and end users early and
often to avoid “mutual
address small issues before
they become big problems.
Document a project charter and secure
agreement from all stakeholders. The project
charter includes the definition of project success,
parameters and constraints.
Document the project in a written record and
make this document available to all stakeholders
on a collaboration platform.
IT project cost
overruns increase by
for every additional
$ $ $ $
Use the 25% rule: When a project constraint (time, cost
or scope) reaches 25% completion, assess the project
and reevaluate the plan. If the budget is at 25% but you
are only 5% through scope, your project is in the danger
zone and you might need outside help.
AS YOU GO.SIZE IMPACTS
IT projects with less than $1 million
in labor content
IT projects with more than $1 million
in labor content
Agile means adapting to changing
requirements – but you must have the
requirements to get started rather than figuring
them out as you go.
Agile development does not mean ignoring
proven project management methodologies.
Continue to use project-management
best practices like setting expectations and
formulating an execution strategy.
APPLY AGILE PROPERLY.
Cost savings generated
by optimizing application
For portfolio strategy and application delivery with a 98% success rate,
contact Headspring’s enterprise advisory team at 877-459-2260.
1 Forrester Research
2 Innotas, 2013
3 Harvard Business Review, Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think, September 2011.
4 Compuware, Tech Fail: The High Cost of Poor IT Performance
5 Compuware, Tech Fail: The High Cost of Poor IT Performance
6 McKinsey, Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value, 2012
7 McKinsey, Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value, 2012
8 Standish Group, The Chaos Manifesto, 2013
9 Gartner, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2711017