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How to Avoid Root Cause Confusion

You can’t identify an IT solution until you’ve identified the problem. Unfortunately, finding the root cause isn’t as easy as it sounds. Glen B. Alleman suggests five possible root causes for the Healthcare.gov fiasco, and how you can avoid them in your future projects.

The first major cause is evolving requirements. While some level of change in requirements is inevitable, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan to deliver the expected capabilities. Another cause is multiple definitions of success. You have to know what done looks like, and you have to know what it looks like to the key decision makers. Also, watch out for insignificant time and inadequate testing. It spells disaster. Finally, avoid the complete “go live” idea if you can help it. An incremental release of capabilities is a much better way to avoid problems.

To avoid these root causes, try locking down requirements, locking down funding, and aligning shared metrics. Determine demand management early in the project. Above all, communicate with all parties involved and have a risk management plan. Problems are bound to arise, but with a plan in place you’ll be prepared to identify the root cause and form a solution.

About Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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