Technology enables information access and facilitates information sharing. But why do so many information technology projects fail?
- 74% of all projects fail, come in over budget, or run past the original deadline*
- 90% of major Information Technology (IT) project initiatives fail to be completed on time and on budget*
- A survey by the international consulting firm KPMG finds that 56% of IT projects globally fail, but believe that 56% is an underestimation of the scale of the problem
- UK IT Director Forum Certus believes that failure rate of IT projects is closer to 90%
Why is the information part of information technology failing to deliver projects?
Why do we continue to spend so much of operations strategy on the technology portion of the common people, process, and technology framework when clearly it is the people that define the process and the people that launch technology, but it those same people don’t turn information into decisions?
Is it the technology at fault or is it the people behind the technology? The designers? The architects? The system administrators?
The end-user can not be at fault. If you believe the end-user is at fault, look around your desk, if you currently do not sit in IT, then you should; post-haste.
Realistically, information technology projects provide plenty of information: scope, risk, stakeholder need, end-user requirements, communications, governance to name a few. And IT projects rely on subject matter experts to design components, identify need, define user requirements, and test functionality, but what is the break down?
Why do IT projects continue to fail?
Who are the sponsors for all these failures and who keeps funding these projects and expects different outcomes.
Once underway, who changes the game?
I propose we lessen the reliance on information and increase the reliance on decisions. Information technology is intended to enable decision making, clearly it is not.
- Information on scope creep does not help, decisions to stop scope creep does help.
- Information on risk does not help, decisions to mitigate risk does help.
- End-user functionality information does not help, end-user decision feedback does help.
Let’s change the term Information Systems to Decision Systems.
Let’s change Information Technology to Decision Technology.
If we can’t rely on information for decisions, let’s stop trying.
Clearly, in times that seem to demand more information to enable rapid decision, we would do well with less information and more decisions. Having information does not mean you know what to do with it. Having more information does not always improve decisions.
I would love to hear your thoughts, your successes, and your stories on IT projects you have managed and how you have successfully managed scope, expectation, budget, time, and quality.
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