Seven potentially fatal pitfalls on major IT projects

Bruce Skaistis
12 Sep 2007

Over the years, I have led many IT projects and I have taken over and completed several major projects that had run into problems. Building on this experience, I have put together a list of seventeen factors I use to determine a major project's probability of success. Here are seven of the factors that can be potentially fatal on a major IT project:

Project undertaken for wrong reasons

From my perspective, any major IT initiative that doesn't produce significant business value for the enterprise is probably being undertaken for the wrong reasons. In most cases, producing major business value means making the enterprise more competitive and more profitable.

Many major IT initiatives are driven by technology issues instead of business benefits or requirements. If problems develop on a project driven by technology instead of business value, support for the project can disappear very quickly.

Weak project leadership skills

I have seen situations where a talented person without project leadership experience has been given overall responsibility for a major enterprise IT initiatives. Some of these projects were successful - but most of the projects ended up in trouble.

Weak project management processes

Whenever I find a company is not using effective project management processes, I immediately start waving a red flag because I know their major IT projects are going to run into problems.

In spite of various claims that I have read, I don't think there is one project management methodology that is superior to all others. A methodology doesn't need to be complex or based on expensive tools to be effective. The key is having a sound methodology and using it.

Poorly defined requirements

Having well defined functional and technical requirements for a project is also very important. In many cases, there is a big push to get a project started and the project requirements are only superficially defined. Cutting time in the requirements definition phase of a project is very likely to come back and bite you later on a major project.

Resistance to change

I don't buy that change resistance is the only reason why projects fail - but I certainly agree that resistance to change can trip up a good project if it isn't anticipated and addressed.

Related content

Follow Telecom Asia Sport!
No Comments Yet! Be the first to share what you think!
This website uses cookies
This provides customers with a personalized experience and increases the efficiency of visiting the site, allowing us to provide the most efficient service. By using the website and accepting the terms of the policy, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the terms of this policy.