Friday, August 10, 2007

IT project management lessons learned, and re-learned

Liam Durbin, CIO at GE Fanuc Automation, writes in CIO Magazine about one of the most important lessons learned in IT project management--the need for strong leadership from the business side.
I took my current position on the heels of such a hard lesson. Our software business was the scene of the crime for our disastrous CRM implementation. Inside sales team was bleeding badly from several deep wounds and a thousand paper cuts. Channel partners were revolting. Activities that used to take minutes, like placing an order or checking availability, now could take half an hour. The system was bouncing frequently. The IT team was releasing a Siebel recompile every other day.
The root cause of the problems? A lack of strong functional leadership on the project. To emphasize this lesson, Durbin points out five scenarios where IT projects fail from lack of functional business leadership (in my words):
  1. Trying to make the new system work just like the old system
  2. Rushing the implementation to satisfy unrealistic schedule expectations
  3. Expecting the IT project manager to represent business users as well as IT
  4. Underestimating the complexity of data warehouse projects
  5. Having multiple functional leaders instead of a single commander
It's not that IT executives don't realize the need for engagement by functional leaders--it's that they too often forgot or compromise "just this one time." They know what's right, but they don't stay strong in the face of false assumptions or unrealistic expectations.

Read the whole article.

Related posts
Philly pulls plug on failed Oracle project
Project management: the missing discipline

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