IT systems continue to grow in strategic importance in all industries, but they are also growing larger and more difficult to handle. As this article by Michael Bloch, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz shows, around half of all large IT projects go well beyond their budgets. The research, conducted by McKinsey and the BT Centre for Major Programme Management at the University of Oxford, found that cost overrun accounted for somewhere around $66 Billion, or more than the GDP of Luxembourg.
How To Improve Projects
The article moves on to list four ways to improve project performance, which includes a focus on managing strategy and stakeholders instead of budgets and scheduling, mastering technology and project content, building effective teams through alignment, and excelling at core project-management practices.
The article then goes into detail on how to achieve those four focuses within an organization, such as this piece of advice in the “managing strategy and stakeholders” section:
High-performing project teams also improve the ways in which a company manages its internal and external stakeholders, such as business and IT executives, vendors, partners, and regulators. They make sure the project aligns with the company’s overarching business strategy and undertake detailed analyses of stakeholder positions. Project leaders continually engage with all business unit and functional heads to ensure genuine alignment between business needs and the IT solutions being developed.
Good stakeholder management involves foresight when it comes to selecting vendors and negotiating contracts with them. Company negotiators should proactively identify potential risks and, for instance, expand their focus beyond unit price and seek to establish “win–win” agreements. Doing so can help ensure that the company has preferential access to the vendor’s best talent for an extended period of time.
Align To Win
In all, the article provides a great set of principles that your organization can embrace in order to cut down on the now expected impact of large projects (these being enormous overages in expense and likely time). With an alignment to objectives and team members being more aware of the role they play, it’s much more likely that large project will not suffer from the problems that many have in the past.