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Matinée PMI - Why so many technology projects failing

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Matinée PMI - Why so many technology projects failing
Date : 7 mars 2018
Conférencier : Peter Saderlis

Publié dans : Business
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Matinée PMI - Why so many technology projects failing

  1. 1. 1 Peter Saderlis,PMP Why are so many Technology Projects failing? Lessons learned for successful IT Project Delivery
  2. 2. Introduction Context If we look at statistics for the past 20+ years, the average rate of failure for IT projects has not changed despite the cumulative knowledge gained implementing systems and despite increasing project management maturity within large IT organizations and despite Agile methods and practices Objective We will explore the common root causes (not just the symptoms) and bring some insights, observations, experiences and lessons learned gathered from the front lines 2
  3. 3. Standish Group CHAOS Summary Report 2015 - 1 Achieving successful outcomes from software development projects remains a challenge The following table summarizes the outcomes of projects between a 5-year period Success factors were defined as on time and on budget with a satisfactory result 71% of projects in 2015 failed or were challenged with similar outcomes in prior years 3 https://www.infoq.com/articles/standish-chaos-2015
  4. 4. Standish Group CHAOS Summary Report 2015 – 2 Smaller projects have a much higher likelihood of success than larger ones, as shown in this table. Medium size projects experienced the worst performance where 57% failed or were challenged 4 https://www.infoq.com/articles/standish-chaos-2015
  5. 5. Defining Degrees of Failure and Success Total failure • Project stopped – major re-alignment needed • Project implemented but introduced significant impacts to organization – loss of efficiency due to major operational defects • Solution vendor unable to deliver or no longer in Business • If project is NO longer worth pursuing need to kill it False Success • Approved Projects that are not aligned with Company strategy • Implemented solution does NOT work within context of organization • Expected value not realized and operational costs increased • Projects which bring incremental value prioritized ahead of projects of greater value are a waste of time and resources Successful despite failed elements • In many cases, when a project is failing can act to re-align for success • Need to STOP and re-assess whether the project is salvageable • Is there executive support for re-alignment? • Re-plan, re-baseline, re-Gate and execute according to revised plan and focused governance Successful • Project was delivered within expected constraints and attained expected value (golden path) • A project can fail in its execution, where budget, scope and/or timeline are impacted but solution still brings significant value to the organization and to the end users • Agile methods and practices can help divide large development projects into digestible chunks (sprints) Planned failure (True Innovation) • R&D Projects • Agile methods and practices (ex SCRUM) are perfect for these types of projects 5
  6. 6. Challenges inherent in Technology Projects Shared technical resources across projects and operations • Multiple projects sharing development, test, acceptance, pre-production environments Managing integrations between systems Managing dependencies between various components Managing code retrofits for common technical components touched by multiple projects Integrating new technology with Legacy components Unexpected impacts to downstream components Oversimplification of solution and underestimating defects Synchronizing offshore with onshore team members Finding the right technology partners • Competency and ability to integrate with Internal teams to deliver 6
  7. 7. Planting the seeds for Success early Pre-Project Phases (Concept, feasibility, high level assessment) • Is the proposed initiative aligned with Corp Strategy (directly or indirectly)? • Will the output of proposed initiative bring benefits to the organization? Net benefit = Value – Impact • What are the impacts to the organization of the proposed solution and how will they be measured? • Assess the risk exposure of proposed initiation and associated solution • Incremental impact vs significant transformational impact • Long term impacts • Consider Lifecycle of solution from launch to decommissioning • Impacts to other proposed initiatives Project Prioritization and Launch • Inability to prioritize effectively between initiatives is where many organizations fail miserably • Do not have a formal prioritization model to help compare value between projects • Project prioritization is often Politically driven by various competing factions within the organization introducing subjectivity in decision • Lack of capacity planning: IT SMEs are shared between projects and operational support work • Key IT foundational projects often do not get prioritized As a result • Certain Projects are launched when they should NOT be • Projects that should be launched are delayed or not launched at all • Too many projects are launched challenging the organization to deliver • Planning from the Project Portfolio perspective is done poorly, resulting in projects being challenged from the start • Arbitrary timelines are imposed by Executives based upon insufficient facts and lack of information • Exceptions are regulatory bodies who impose timelines for compliance 7
  8. 8. Planning for Success Once a date is stated at the executive level (sometimes arbitrarily) it is extremely difficult to change • Even after detailed planning shows the date is not realistic for scope and allocated budget • This issue is one of the major causes of Technology project failure • Typically, once PM is onboarded, they need to work backwards from target date and ‘make it fit’ • Political pressure on PM and team to meet unrealistic date • Pressure to start executing before team is ready • Leads to team morale issues, turnover or in extreme cases burnout and illness Executives need to support the planning and gating processes • Avoid committing to dates before validating with their Experts • OK to have a Target but expect that it will change once more information is known Plan for the ‘Unhappy Path’ • Expect storms to hit and path to be littered by fallen trees, washed out roads and other disasters • Leveraging lessons learned from prior projects will HELP tremendously here 8
  9. 9. Planning for Success Need positive answers the following questions – setup conditions for success: • Do we have the capacity to execute within the expected timeline? • Do we have sufficient resources AND the right resources onboarded? • Is Scope crystal clear and do we have management governance to control scope effectively? • Do we have the proper Governance, executive support in place to facilitate decision making? • Do we have an ENGAGED Project sponsor / Owner with right level of authority? • Do we need external Help and do we have the right external partners? • What co-dependencies do we have with Operations, other projects, shared resources ? • Have we considered vacations when planning and production freeze periods? • Have we performed a rigorous Risk assessment in order to feed planning phase? • Have we performed a comprehensive stakeholder assessment to help develop change management and communication plans? • Have we considered to perform a Proof of Concept phase and outsource experts when implementing new technology? • Have we revisited and reconfirmed Business case during planning phase? Expected value vs impact to organization Project Portfolio Planning • Ensure Project Portfolio planning is in place and performed regularly to ensure project inter-dependencies are sufficiently considered • Planning of shared resources (organizational capacity planning), dependencies between projects, Global portfolio budgets, etc. Re-prioritization • Once projects have been prioritized avoid re-prioritizing too often • If a project needs to be re-prioritized within portfolio, need to have a valid Business reason and proper approval and Governance process (not Politically driven) 9
  10. 10. Facilitating success during project delivery FOCUS – align team on objective to deliver agreed upon scope within the allotted budget and timeframe Alignment of all development/infrastructure components Ensure strong Sponsor and Project Steering Committee support for effective decision making Promote transparency when reporting project health Be very clear on level of quality that needs to be delivered If scope is not stable, Agile approaches should be seriously considered Monitor capacity of team members Keep a close eye on interdependencies across projects and resources Monitor execution of change management and communication plans Elaborate test strategy and start preparing scenarios and test cases early Work on ensuring environments are ready and all technical issues and data preparation is done in advance of when required Plan for DEFECTS – prioritization, documentation, tracking, resolution, re-integration and retrofits Plan for handoff to Operational teams and provide sufficient support warranty period Ensure processes in place for system evolution 10
  11. 11. Project Closure and handoff Make sure Operational teams are ready to take over and maintain solution(s) before completely disbanding project team Make sure Business users have the support they need to operate solution(s) Collect anonymous feedback from Project Team: Measure what was done well, what could be improved, morale during project execution, effectiveness of Steering Committee support, etc. Hold lessons learned workshop(s) to leverage and communicate survey feedback to close the loop and document recommendations PMO needs to have a feedback loop in place for new projects to leverage lessons learned 11 New project Delivered project Lessons Learned OR failed project
  12. 12. Life after project (measuring long term Value and Impact) KPIs need to be defined up front during Business Case definition and how these will be measured post project delivery Has the expected value been realized over time? • Keep timeframe realistic– 6 months after production, 12 months, 18 months • At some point benefits are incorporated into base Operations and not indefinite Are Operational teams properly staffed and trained? Have the operational impacts been mitigated? Try to keep parallelism of new solution vs Legacy to a minimum • If a new solution needs to run parallel with Legacy for a period, need to ensure decommissioning phase is defined to reduce Operational overhead 12
  13. 13. Consider the forest vs the trees A mature PMO should focus on Project Portfolio management • Planning across projects and programs • Support to facilitate Business case development to feed prioritization / project launch approval process • Help manage pre-project phases • Prioritization and project selection • Clear Governance supported by Executive committee • Project / Program gating and provide support to PMs and Project Sponsors to prepare for Project gates • Manage Portfolio global budget and communicate high level timelines and health of various projects • Recommendations to Executive committee for project prioritization, selection and budget funds release • Work in tandem with satellite PMOs, Finance and other Organizational support groups • Ensure Portfolio is ‘Balanced’ with right mix of projects: • Growth: Incremental growth (more revenue) vs transformational growth (opening new markets, increased market share, leap frog competition) • Cost benefits/savings: more $$ in your pocket • Keep the lights on: invest in infrastructure to maintain current operational requirements (run the Business) • Satisfy Regulatory and legal Business/Industry requirements: stay in Business • Protect market share: stay on par with Competition • Portfolio health reporting to executives • Facilitate communication between PMs and Operational managers to assess and monitor Project and Operational interdependencies • There are multitude of tools in the Market to support Project Portfolio Management – USE THEM! 13
  14. 14. Project Portfolio management: Need to take a Holistic approach 14 Holistic Approach to PPM Governance Expertise Methodology Best PracticesTechnologies Templates Tools Definition: Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the centralized management of processes, methods, and technologies used to analyze and collectively manage a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics. Objectives: The objectives of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) are to determine the optimal resource mix for delivery and to schedule activities to best achieve an organization’s operational and financial goals while honoring constraints imposed by customers, strategic objectives, or external market factors.
  15. 15. Conclusion • Need to work on the right projects • Aligned with Corporate strategy • Bring value to the organization • Need to make sure we position Technology projects for success • Need to have proper management sponsorship and support to improve chances of project success • Need to have the proper Project performance monitoring and reporting processes and tools in place to flag and deal with problem areas quickly • Need to look at the ‘big picture’ – projects do not operate in Silos and often have specific as well as inherent dependencies with one another 15
  16. 16. Questions 16
  17. 17. Thank you Peter Sardelis B.Sc., PMP peter.sardelis@sympatico.ca https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-sardelis-6786833 17

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