A successful project is defined by 3 dimensions:  time, cost and quality. It is documented that 60% of IT projects don’t satisfy one or more of these terms (IBM statistics). So, what makes the IT projects have such a high rate of failure?

What we should be aware of?

The traditional way of managing a project is by representing it through a Gantt chart. In my opinion, a really detailed Gantt chart is not enough. You can clearly represent the tasks, dependencies, timelines but it simplifies the reality.  From this gap (between the complex reality and a plain representation) might arise some unexpected problems . Don’t be lured in the simple representation of a Gantt chart, reality is not so simple.

IT projects involve people with different backgrounds, technical or non-technical. Decision making is subjective and heavily decentralized across the team. Therefore, we arrive at the well-known point where we say that communication between stakeholders, IT team and project manager is one of the most important factor.At this point you have to be sure that everybody is on the same page.

What if the project is not going in the right direction?

The most important thing is that people learn from past projects. An after-action review is mandatory after a project is finished.

Looking at what went wrong and what could have been done better will help us to get around any futur issues in a much  more fundamental way. Not blaming the project manager and implementing a process improvement can increase the success rates for future projects. This analysis should examine problems and constraints experienced and non-value-added activities identified during the project. The project manager should have a meeting with each team member involved in the project and document the feedback. This is a base for him to compare actual performance with planned performance, to analyze variances, to assess trends to effect process improvements,  to evaluate possible alternatives and recommend appropriate corrective action.

He can then set up a dedicated dashboard to pinpoint those issues and use it as a basis to improve processes on his next projects.

Happy Dashboarding!

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