Projects, however planned and organized, may be surrounded by uncertainties. These uncertainties can give rise to problems that later compromise the delivery of the project and, consequently, the satisfaction of the customer and other parties involved. When we talk about project management in information technology, these adversities become even more serious because IT is a central area of the organization and its projects, even if small, have the power to impact the entire company.
Reasons for fire in Information Technology Project Management (and how to avoid them)
Poor stakeholder management
Poor management of stakeholders is a major cause of fire in the execution of an IT project.
This is because there are usually many parties involved in an information technology project: the sponsor, the client, the project management team, the managers of the business areas, and many others. So it can be difficult to identify all stakeholders early on.
Thus, it is common for one or another stakeholder to be left out in the planning and requirements gathering. When this happens, these interested parties end up appearing later, raising new requirements and suggesting changes, creating an environment of urgency, as new demands need to be met by the team that is executing the project.
How to avoid it : it is very important to identify the stakeholders at the beginning of the project, and for this the project manager can ask for help from other members of the management team. After all stakeholders are identified, it is highly recommended that a single channel be built for information exchange, so that they know everything that is being done and that they can provide feedback periodically.
Constant scope changes
The scope of a project is very important, as it is through it that it will be possible to detail all aspects related to the work that will be performed: from a list of things to do to the baseline of the schedule .
This scope, however, may change over the course of the project, mainly because stakeholders give constant feedback on project execution, and stakeholders with the same level of influence on the project may disagree on the directions being taken.
It is clear that the project management team and the manager himself are prepared to make these changes as feedbacks are presented, however, very frequent and sudden changes can also cause a real fire in the execution of the project, after all, the more changes are requested, more time and costs are spent on project execution.
How to avoid it : the project manager should try to minimize the impacts of changes in the final delivery of the project as much as possible and find a line of agreement between the stakeholders, so that the work does not have to be redone so suddenly, with each different opinion.
Poor management of human resources
IT is mainly composed of human resources, as it is useless to have a great technological infrastructure if there are no resources undertaken to use this infrastructure. These professionals will work directly in the execution of the project, using technology only as a support.
However, these professionals are not always able to use the available infrastructure to carry out the project.
Likewise, the project manager cannot always choose which resources he will work with. On the contrary: often the team is already established before it even arrives.
Another aggravating factor that can hinder the management of human resources undertaken in the project is the lack of training: the academic environment is not always sufficient to train an employee, and the project manager ends up taking on the mission of training human resources.
How to avoid it : the IT project manager must make the best of his team, allocating the people with the right skills to perform the jobs that best fit them. Conducting training is often also the best way to have the most qualified human resources, delivering the best result. Another very common solution is to outsource some jobs.
Infrastructure incompatible with the project
Like human resources, the infrastructure, if not compatible with what is required for the execution of the project, can also cause fires in the project management team. It is not enough to have an excellent team, if the technological resources available are also not compatible.
Imagine the situation: the project manager trains his entire team to carry out a large company project, with high complexity, but when the resources finally start the project, the available machines collaborate to delay the project, as they are not the better to perform certain work.
How to avoid it : it is important to remember that IT is constantly changing, and the infrastructure available in your company must accompany this modernization. Therefore, it is necessary for the organization to offer the most suitable infrastructure for the project’s execution team, compatible with what they need at the moment.
Lack of risk management
According to a survey organized by PM Solutions , companies spend an average of 200 million dollars a year on projects and of those 200 million, 74 are invested in projects that are at risk of going wrong.
Every project has uncertainties, that is a fact. Therefore, it is necessary to foresee some of these uncertainties and take contingency actions so that small risks do not turn into fires that compromise the delivery of the final result of the project.
IT projects naturally have a very high complexity, so risk management is even more important in this area.
However, IT project managers tend not to do risk management, as they believe that this involves spending more time on precautions than on actual execution.
How to avoid it : before the project actually starts, it is necessary to assess what risks it presents. If it can be delayed, if problems with the infrastructure can occur, among others. One of the measures that can be taken so that the risks do not compromise the final delivery of the project is making a contingency budget.
If you want to know more about project risk management, read our post: Project Risk Management: learn how to identify and plan and stay on top of things.