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A Guide To Preventing Software Project Failure

= YOUR WALKTHROUGH GUIDE TO SOFTWARE PROJECT FAILURE So you want to complete a software project? First things first, you need to know what you're up against. ENEMIES ALLIES ONLY 2/3 1% of IT professionals have been involved in a project which has failed to live up to expectations. of IT professionals believe that it is inevitable that a software project will overrun its budget and deadlines. 45% of IT professionals say they are currently involved in a project which will fail to live up to expectations. GETTING STARTED Before you can begin your quest to build an epic software project you need to gather the correct requirements. 86% of IT professionals experience problems during the requirement gathering stage. As an IT professional you will face many trials and tribulations as you build the mightiest of software projects. During the requirement-gathering stage there are a number of common challenges faced by IT professionals: 60% 51% 48% 29% 25% Feel that the requirements given are too vague Believe that too many stakeholders, who lack a common vision, are involved Believe insufficient time is devoted to requirements gathering Believe the project was too ambitious Believe the requirements are not sufficiently matched to the suggested solution BEWARE: PROJECT CREEP Once you have gathered all the necessary requirements ensure that they are signed-off on. Additional complexities added later 'in the game' will only lead to failure. 67% of IT professionals believe that changes to the brief after the project has begun can lead to failure. MULTIPLAYER Software development is not a one-player game. You must ensure co-operative support to succeed. IT professionals have identified the following personnel problems that can lead to project failure: PERSONNEL PROBLEM % OF IT PROS WHO AGREE 48% 22% Poor project management No senior management backing 21% Vendor/integration partner not up to task 18% 15% No one tasked with specific responsibility for project Lack of technical skill SYSTEM ERRORS REVENUE If a project fails, you're unlikely to lose a life; but your company can lose: DISASTER CUSTOMERS PROFIT TACTICS There are various actions you can take to help you complete your mission. 60% of IT professionals have been involved with failing projects that they have managed to rescue. 46% Got tough on deadlines 43% Increased project management 38% Imposed a moratorium on project creep 31% Bought in new skills 28% Halted the project and went back to requirement gathering 25% Renegotiated with the vendor/integration partner 16% Brought in a third party to supervise/assist the vendor/integration partner 7% Fired the vendor/integration partner TROUBLESHOOTING There will be many obstacles upon your quest to build a great software project. To help you along your way, follow these simple guidelines before and after a problem occurs. PRE-PROJECT CHECKLIST POST-CONFLICT CHECKLIST To reduce the chance of problems occurring before you begin a project you must ask yourselves and any software suppliers or integration partners the following questions: If the worse does happen and a problem arises during the production process, take these actions to remedy the situation: What steps will you take to ensure you gather requirements before the project begins and how will you achieve this? Pause and take stock. It is important to step back and assess the situation, you may find that the root causes are not what you initially thought. What processes do you have in place to ensure accurate estimating? Get an independent assessment of the project. This can be done via a health check of the code, through testing of the software and/or by a review of the documentation. How will you gain buy-in and engage stakeholders throughout the project? Review the lessons learnt. Meet with the project team to review problems and suggest solutions to prevent future failures. What is your approach to project managment, specifically how do you manage risks and issues in your methodology, and how and when are these communicated along with key milestones? M Redefine your goals and re-evaluate your budget and deadlines. Help determine what you are prepared to do to rescue the project. Who will be allocated to this project, what are their skills and will they remain on the project? Decide whether to stay with the current project team or start afresh with a new team/supplier. What account management do you have and is there an escalation process? M Insist on regular progress reports so that you can be alerted should the project start to run into difficulties again. M What value can you add to this project? IMPORTANT HEALTH WARNING: Remember to take breaks regularly. Stop and rest if your muscles, joints or eyes become tired or sore. If you experience excessive fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, chest tightness, dizziness, discomfort or pain, STOP DEVELOPING IMMEDIATELY and consult a doctor. Source: MSM & Computing Magazine Survey of 200 Senior IT Professionals Telephone: London 020 7127 4558 Bristol 0117 327 0074 msm Exeter 01392 453333 SOFTWARE SOLVED

A Guide To Preventing Software Project Failure

shared by colskin on Nov 02
Software solution specialists, MSM Software, in partnership with Computing Magazine, surveyed 200 senior IT professionals in a bid to see how the industry could be improved. What they found was a r...




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