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The Pitfalls Of Information Technology Managed Services.

By Expert Author: Team USATInc

A major issue today is a low rate of success. Kelly Waters, an IT project manager reports that a Standish Group study in the US IT industry found that 31% of projects were cancelled outright and that the performance of 53% of the all projects was so worrying that they were challenged. The weak links that have been identified are listed below, and managers would be well advised to study these issues:

1. The project manager sets unrealistic deadlines for the team.
2. Arbitrary scope changes are allowed to get out of control.
3. Risk is not managed.
4. The team struggles with poor communication and collaboration.
5. Stakeholders don't engage in the project.
6. Project teams are working with undefined goals and objectives.

The web is inundated with reports on project failure and make depressing reading. Gartner studies suggest that a majority of all US IT projects are considered to be failures by those responsible for initiating them. But what do they mean by failure? They mean the solutions fundamentally did not do what was agreed. Or they missed deadlines. And/or came in over budget. Indeed half of the projects exceeded budget by 200%!

Mike Griffiths, a well known IT Business Manager, lists the top five software project risks and possible solutions. These are:

1. Inherent schedule flaws: Software development, given its intangible nature and uniqueness, is inherently difficult to estimate and schedule.

His solution: Get the team more involved in planning and estimating. Get early feedback and address slips directly with stakeholders.

2. Requirements Inflation: As the project progresses, more and more features that were not identified at the beginning of the project creep in and pose a threat to estimates and timelines.

His solution: Constant involvement of customers and developers.

3. Employee Turnover: Key personnel leave the project taking critical information with them that significantly delays or derails the project.

His solution: Increased collaboration and information sharing on the team.

4. Specification Breakdown: When coding and integration begin it becomes apparent that the specification is incomplete or contains conflicting requirements.

His solution: Use a dedicated Product Manager to make critical trade off decisions.

5. Poor Productivity: Given long project timelines, the sense of urgency to work in earnest is often absent resulting to time lost in early project stages that can never be regained.

His solution: Short iterations, right people on team, coaching and team development.At no time is success guaranteed.

The way forward is out-of-the-box thinking, foresight and anticipation. Since these problems occur time and time again on software projects, it should be natural that their solutions should become part of a troubleshooting database.

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