Risk Management for IT Projects: How to Deal with Over 150 Issues and Risks

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Overview

The rate of failure of IT projects has remained little changed in survey after survey over the past 15-20 years—over 40-50%. This has happened in spite of new technology, innovative methods and tools, and different management methods. Why does this happen? Why can’t the situation be better? One reason is that many think of each IT effort as unique. In reality many IT projects are very similar at a high, strategic level. Where they differ is in the people and exact events—the detail. If you read the literature or have been in information systems or IT for some time, you have seen the same reasons for failure and the same problems and issues recur again and again.

In this book IT Management experts Ben Lientz and Lee Larssen show you how to identify and track the recurring issues leading to failure in IT projects and provide a proven, modern method for addressing them. By following the recommendations in this books readers can significantly reduce the risk of IT failures and increase the rate of success. Benefits of using this approach:

• Issues are identified earlier—giving more time for solution and action.
• Issues are resolved more consistently since the approach tracks on their repetition.
• You get an early warning of problems in IT work—before the budget or schedule fall apart.
• Management tends to have more realistic expectations with an awareness of issues.
• Users and managers have greater confidence in IT due to the improved handling of issues.
• Since the number of issues tends to stabilize in an organization, the IT organization and management get better at detecting, preventing, and dealing with issues over time—cumulative improvement.
• Giving attention to issues make users more realistic in their requests and acts to deter requirement changes and scope creep.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780750682312
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/5/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bennet Lientz has taught and consulted on project management for the past 28 years to more than 5000 people. He developed the concept of the management critical path, acted as project manager of the Internet, and turned around 10 failing projects. This Second Edition is Lientz’ seventh book; he has also written more than 25 articles in various areas of project management.

Lee Larssen has served as a business and IT manager and consultant for the past twenty-five years. She has extensive hands-on experience in the following areas: · Business process outsourcing for manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and logistics · Strategic planning for business units in manufacturing and distribution · IT outsourcing in the areas of systems operations, networking, system development, software package implementation, and systems support · IT management- managed groups of up to 150 employees · Coordinated the implementation of three major ERP systems · Implemented E-Business with suppliers for seven organizations · Developed and implemented score card measurements for IT and business processes · Management process improvement efforts for over a ten year period Education: · B.A., fine arts, Massachusetts Institute of Fine Arts, 1962 · M.A., mathematics, Oxford University, 1968 Positions Held: · Consultant in process improvement and IT to over forty firms in Asia, Latin America, Australia, and Europe in the following industries, 1999-present - Manufacturing - Distribution - Logistics - Marketing - Power generation and distribution - Banking - Insurance - Natural resource development · Served as project management for implementing modules of SAP and Peoplesoft in five firms · Manager, Operations, Toyota Automotive Group, 1979- 1999 · Consultant as IT manager to firms, 1974-1979 - Graphic arts - Sports management - Distribution - Marketing

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Table of Contents

Preface

Part 1: Issues and Risk Management

1. Introduction
Common IT related problems
Why IT efforts fail
IT Differs from Other Types of Business Work
How IT and the business have changed
IT and politics
The management view of IT
Issues and risk
Types of issues
The life cycle of an issue
Some common problems in issues management
Issues across projects
Problems versus opportunities
The goals of IT
Process improvement and reengineering
The general approach to issues and risk management
The organization of the book
Conclusions

2. Effective Issues Management and Coordination
Introduction
General management of issues
The issues databases
Getting started
Defining issues at the start of projects and work
Tracking of issues and risk
User and vendor issue coordination
Issue and risk communications and reporting
Handling issues within the IT organization
Decision making and followup
Dealing with multiple issues
Coping with recurring issues
Conclusions

3. Analysis and Measurements of Issues and Risk
Introduction
Problems with standard measurements
The management critical path
Multiple project analysis
Tracking status using issues and risk
Total issues
Open issues
Uncontrolled versus controlled open issues
Aging of open issues
Average time to resolve issues
Distribution of open issues by type
Issues by type over time
Selection of issues for decisions and actions
Perspective on different issues
Project evaluation
Project termination
Conclusions

Part 2: Internal Issues and Risk

4. Teams
Introduction
There is a lack of teamwork
Team members or departments do not get along with each other
Some team members are difficult to manage
There is a wide range of experience and knowledge among team members
The project or work leader is junior and lacks experience
There is substantial turnover among team members
There is a lack of motivation
There is not much communications among team members and outside of the team
A new team member has to be socialized into the group
Team member performance does not seem to improve over time
Too much time is spent in meetings
Conclusions

5. The Work
Introduction
There are limited or no guidelines for using methods and tools
There are tools used with no structured methods
There is a lack of formal reviews of work and too much to review
The methods are too informal
Reporting on the work is faulty
There is a lack of planning for the work
There is no gathering of experience from performing the work
There is a new tool to be introduced
The same mistakes in the work seem to be repeated
People work in a single tasking mode
Conclusions

6. Business Units
Introduction
Users resist change
Users want the technology but do not want to change
The business processes have too many exceptions
There are many shadow systems in the business units
There are many variations of the same process in use
It is difficult to get qualified users to join the effort
Users do not want to assume responsibility
Users do not resolve issues quickly or adequately
Users dictate solutions
User management is attempting to manipulate IT to gain more power
Users change requirements frequently
Users are unwilling to signoff
Conclusions

7. Management
Introduction
Management has unrealistic expectations of benefits and impacts
There are no clear goals
Management changes direction frequently
Decisions are made without the advice or involvement of the IT managers
There is substantial management turnover
Management pulls resources from some IT work and reassigns the resources
Management attempts to micromanage the work
Management shows no interest in IT matters
Management fails to resolve issues
There is no strategic IT plan
There is a lack of alignment of IT to the business
Conclusions

8. Projects
Introduction
Some projects do not seem to start out right
There are too many surprises in the project
There is much unplanned work in the project
It is very difficult to manage and track multiple projects
Too much time is consumed in project administration
Some project leaders lack skills and knowledge
There is no standard project reporting
Small projects are not treated as projects
Larger projects are divided up in the wrong way
There are too many projects
You do not know what is going on in the project
Conclusions

9. Resistance to Change
Introduction
The change does not fit our work
We have tried similar things before and they did not work
There is no incentive for me to change
All the change means is more work for the same compensation
There are no available resources or time to support the change
The technology or change is too complicated
I will lose my job
What we have done in the past worked well, why change
You cannot teach an old dog new tricks
The change is too risky
No one will take responsibility if the change does not work
Conclusions

Part 3: External Issues and Risks

10. Vendors, Consultants, and Outsourcing
Introduction
The vendor performance is not adequate
Vendor staff do not share information
Vendors use their own proprietary methods and tools
Vendors agree but then do something different
There is substantial vendor staff turnover
Vendor communications are not structured
The vendor was politically selected by management
The vendor does not resolve issues
The leader of the vendor team miscommunicates to vendor staff
The vendor overpromises
Vendor staff are thinly spread over multiple clients
The vendor staff are not highly qualified
Conclusions

11. Headquarters
Introduction
Headquarters dictates a solution
There is no allowance for resource needs at the local level
Headquarters attempts to micromanage the work in the business unit
There is a lack of understanding of the cultural and political differences between locations
There are poor communications between the business unit and headquarters
Headquarters people turn over and change too often
Headquarters changes direction often during implementation
Headquarters is not flexible in the general implementation of the work
Headquarters provides no direction for the work
Headquarters does not provide the necessary funding
Issues and questions raised with headquarters are not addressed
Conclusions

12. Technology
Introduction
Technology vendors are merging and combining
There is a lack of integration with the technology
There is no time to adequately learn the new technology
The benefits of the new technology are not clear
A decision is needed as to whether to adopt a new technology
The technologies in use and of potential use are not compatible
The technology raises privacy concerns
The new technology is only an incremental improvement
There is a wide range of potential technology solutions
The vendor is forcing an upgrade
There is a lack of standards in the technology
The technology is changing too slowly or too rapidly
Conclusions

Part 4: Issues and Risks in Specific IT Activities

13. IT Strategic Planning
Introduction
There is no management interest after the plan is approved
Linking IT planning factors to the business is difficult
There are high management expectations of the planning effort
There is no defined business vision or mission
It is difficult to show the benefits of technology projects in the plan
There are limited or no resources to do the planning
Past planning efforts have failed
Should the IT plan be business or IT driven?
Business is not clear about what they would get from the plan
There is a challenge in turning action items in the plan into actions
Conclusions

14. Analysis
Introduction
There are incomplete requirements
There is inadequate time to gather requirements
Users lack knowledge of their own processes
Users are not creative in developing solutions
The benefits of the work are fuzzy and unclear
There is no real overall measurement of the process
The analysis methods are overly formal and not scalable
The original stated problem is not the real problem
The real problems are political and not technical
There is no real downside if the project is not done
Conclusions

15. Software Packages
Introduction
No software package fits the requirements
There is a lack of vendor support in the client location
The software has had no new releases in some time
A decision needs to be made on whether to move to a new release
There is a lack of support for the product from the vendor
The software package vendor was acquired by another firm
The marketing people promised features and functions that are not there
Documentation of the product is not adequate
There is a lack of qualified training in the use of the package
The package has very limited flexibility
There are substantial hidden costs to the software package
Conclusions

16. Development
Introduction
There is excessive reliance on one person
A key person leaves
Development is performed ad hoc without adequate design
There is a lack of emphasis on testing
There are inadequate tools
Developers do not share knowledge
There is a lack of in-depth review of work
Users contact programmers directly on a regular basis
There is a lack of teamwork among developers
Developers cannot agree on the details of the technical approach
There are few guidelines for doing the work
There is a lack of using past knowledge and experience
Developers are concentrating on the easy parts first
Conclusions

17. Implementation
Introduction
Users refuse to accept responsibility
Users are not available to participate in the implementation
There are last minute requirement changes
There are lingering issues
Issues that were resolved become unresolved
Training of users is not complete or suitable
Users resist change during the implementation
Users continue to work with the old system
There are problems with the data discovered during data conversion
User management is unwilling to enforce turnover to the new process
There is inadequate user testing
Conclusions

18. Operations and Support
Introduction
Many of the IT staff members prefer operations support to projects
There is too much emergency work
Some staff use maintenance as a chance to redevelop software
There is an overly cozy relationship between some IT managers and staff and users
Support requirements are too specialized
There is a lack of measurement of support and maintenance
There is no differentiation between maintenance and enhancement
How Should Operations and Maintenance be Managed?
Conclusions


Appendices:
A. The Results of a Survey on IT Issues
B. The Magic Cross Reference
C. Web Sites
D. References
E. Index

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