Project Governance and Failure

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Lecture on project governance and failure presented to a Master’s level class in strategic project management at University College London on March 25-26, 2009. The class was led by Dr. Andrew Edkins, UCL Senior Lecturer.

I blogged about this on ZDNet: http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures/?p=2528

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Project Governance and Failure

  1. 1. Governance and failure Key issues, obstacles, and solutions Presented by: Michael Krigsman, CEO, Asuret, Inc. © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Agenda Bio  State of failure  Achieving success  Asuret governance and  failure analysis simulation Key governance lessons  This lecture, and the associated governance failure simulation, was presented to a Master’s level class in strategic project management at University College London on March 25-26, 2009. The class was led by Dr. Andrew Edkins, UCL Senior Lecturer. © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Bio: Why IT ? CEO of Cambridge Publications, documentation and  training outsourcing (from 1988) Key Innovations:  Manage documentation with software development rigor  Apply consumer-level values to system documentation  Fixed-price, fixed-scope projects (Microsoft, Intel, SAP,  IBM, many VC-funded startups, etc.) Over 100 customers and hundreds of projects  Software industry: projects late, over-budget, internal  battles, etc. © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Bio: Why IT ? Developed SAP’s rapid implementation tools starting  1995 (AcceleratedSAP and more) For 10 years, developed SAP’s consulting  automation tools Developed implementation tools and methodologies  for IBM Created methodologies of all sorts  BUT… Failures persist despite millions of dollars  invested in tools and methodologies. Why?? © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Asuret: Measuring causes of failure Failures arise from business, organizational, political,  and cultural reasons Can’t fix what you don’t see  Solution: Expose the hidden causes of failure through  unique approach to data collection, measurement, analysis, and process © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Blogging: IT failure Key assumptions:  IT failure is common and resonates with many people 1. Data-driven approach to blogging: case studies, statistics, 2. practical advice, insight and analysis Objective and balanced: not sensationalistic 3. Major challenges:  Discussing failure is taboo: Hard to gather information 1. Gaining trust: Don’t reveal secrets 2. © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Use of media:  Social media: Blogs, Twitter, conferences, and discussions  Traditional media: Magazines, newspapers  Analysts: Close associations  Recognized industry “influencer:”  SAP, Oracle, Saleforce.com, Lawson, etc.  Goal: Trusted, independent, and objective advisor  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. State of failure © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. State of failure: Governance issues are No organization is immune to failure  30% - 70% of IT projects are late, over-budget, or  don’t meet planned requirements “IT project managers cannot accept all of the responsibility of delivering projects successfully. Top management and steering committees have a significant role to play in managing project risk. Ambitious-sized projects, moving targets, and managerial turnover present challenges for IT projects that stretch even experienced project managers. Effective oversight of projects can help project managers respond to these challenges.” Academic research report (November, 2007) © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. State of failure: Methodologies and tools are enough Project failures persist despite PPM, ITIL, PMI, CMM,  and other business process improvements “Distortions” interfere with process: poor judgment, politics,  and personal agendas Extreme case: “Successful” process / failed outcome  “One of the major weaknesses uncovered during the analysis was the total reliance placed on project and development methodologies. Processes alone are far from enough to cover the complexity and human aspects of many large projects subject to multiple stakeholders, resource and ethical constraints.” British Computer Society (June, 2008) © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. State of failure: are common Lack of alignment:  Business / IT  Management / project staff  Vendors / customers  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Preventing failure © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Preventing failure: Removing to success Diagnose and measure the real sources of failure  Share knowledge and lessons learned to  improve success rates Embed innovation around IT project success  in the organization Evaluate your organization’s collaboration capabilities  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Preventing failure: Removing to success (cont’d) Increase appropriate communication to reduce information  silos Connect social networks to support continuous  organizational improvement Facilitate rapid, effective, and ethical decision-making  Align IT with measurable business results  Change project culture, not corporate culture  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Preventing failure: beyond IT What problem does the project solve?  Who is the project champion?  What does the stakeholder map look like?  What PM toolbox are you going to use and what drives it  (procurement issues)? How will the project be governed (who, how, when)?  How will the project be controlled (planning, monitoring,  reporting)? How will success be judged or measured? (who when, how)  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Asuret Failure Analysis Simulation © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Asuret failure simulation: Measuring 7 of success Organizational, political, and cultural factors are critical  Hard to measure  Project Management Executive Change Sponsorship Management Stakeholder Third-Party Involvement Relationships IT Business Resource Project Case Availability Success © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Asuret failure simulation: Specialized Wisdom of crowds  Requires carefully-selected group to avoid  “stupidity of crowds” Measurement through “indirection”  Reduce bias for charged issues  Simple questions based on observable situations  Stakeholders consensus workshop follows analysis  Ensure analysis is accurate and complete  Gain consensus to avoid decision-making gridlock  Goal: insight, clarity, consensus  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Key Governance Lessons © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Key governance lessons: knowledge Governance: people, collaboration, and responsibility  IT and construction governance are fundamentally the  same Measurement and diagnosis are not sufficient to  create future success Consolidating / aggregating lessons learned is  essential to achieve continuous improvement Goal: Create shared organizational memory  Engage stakeholders  Improve collaboration and communication across silos  © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  21. 21. Key governance lessons: signs Forward-looking warning signs of failure:  Ambiguous or diffuse project ownership  Stakeholder complexity  Conflicts of interest  Inconsistencies (hardest to discern in advance.  (For example: Taurus stakeholders not required to participate in project; Clissold fitness for purpose problem– architect didn’t understand target population needs.) © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  22. 22. Key governance lessons: The point Be fearless and brave to do what’s right  But, also exercise good and wise judgment  (don’t needlessly destroy your career) © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.
  23. 23. Let’s have coffee! Michael Krigsman CEO Asuret, Inc. Email: mkrigsman@asuret.com Web: http://asuret.com Blog: http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures + 1 (617) 905-5950 © Copyright 2009 Asuret Inc. All rights reserved.

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