How to Close the Gaps That Lead to Project Failure

Countless papers and articles have been written on project success rates and why projects fail. Interestingly enough, the reasons that projects fail are the same today as they were ten years ago: lack of top management commitment, unrealistic expectations, poor requirements definition, improper package selection, gaps between software and business requirements, inadequate resources, underestimating time and cost, poor project management, lack of methodology, underestimating impact of change, lack of training and education, and last, but not least, poor communication.

The economic downturn has halted spending on enterprise business applications, because for the most part, the business can get by with what is in place. However, according to a recent Computer World article, Forrester predicts that the halt on spending will continue in 2011 as:

“One quarter of roughly 900 companies surveyed by Forrester plan to upgrade, expand or implement an ERP system, down from 29% in a study last year, according to the report by analyst Paul Hamerman.

Overall, 72% are “in a holding pattern for 2011, with plans to stand pat or no specific plans to invest in ERP,” Hamerman wrote.

Roughly half of ERP customers are running product releases that are two versions behind the current one, according to the report. But expiring support windows and related price increases will spur more upgrades over time. “

Source: ERP investments to slow in 2011, Forrester says. January 24, 2011

Obviously, the longer an organization waits to upgrade its technology, the more the upgrade will cost. Therefore, it is likely that you will have a big project in your future. It may be an application upgrade, a transformation project or a move to a new platform. In any event, it will be complicated. Many organizations are internally integrating systems that cross traditional business functions and externally have more vendor partners involved in technology projects resulting in a complex soup of internal and external project team members, motives and goals.

Given these complexities, what will your organization do differently to avoid failure and assure success? Will you adopt a project assurance methodology like collaborative intervention?

Collaborative intervention is the breakthrough methodology developed and used to obtain project assurance. Collaborative intervention addresses the gaps that lead to the reasons projects fail and provides a framework and process for closing these gaps.

The collaborative intervention process works through three primary phases: identify, assess, and intervene.

Identify – The first phase of the collaborative intervention process is to identify where the project is in its implementation lifecycle, so that you understand when to intervene. Once determined, you can know what to look for and what the likely issues may be.

Assess – The second phase of the collaborative intervention process is to assess. The assessment is a top to bottom evaluation of what to look for during the project to help you align project expectations, resources and scope with the goal of increasing the project’s probability of success.

Intervene – The final stage of the collaborative intervention process is to intervene. The collaborative intervention process outlines how to intervene by presenting the findings of the assessment and working with the project team to develop an implementation plan to address the findings.

At the end of the day, collaborative intervention gives you the when, what and how answers that you need to assure project success. It helps you to identify and resolve the strategic, tactical and intangible issues before they become insurmountable. Collaborative intervention gives you the tools and techniques you need to investigate and defuse volatile situations within the organization and the project team.

And best of all, collaborative intervention gives you (and everyone else involved) peace of mind that the project is on the right track.

For more information on how project assurance through collaborative intervention works in the workplace, please see No Wishing Required: The Business Case for Project Assurance.Now available from The Prinzo Group.


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