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The Silo Ghost Effect in IT Management

This holiday season, don’t let a perfectly good project go to waste by creating silos in your mind and in your business. Pearl Zhu warns project managers about the three silo ghosts of project’s past (Overshot Schedule, Overshot Budget, and Broken Value Promise) that will haunt the institutional miser. Fortunately, there’s a way to rewrite this project story.

The Selfish IT Unit

Project failure often occurs when businesses don’t know what they really want. The idea is to embrace a project that is co-developed, not just a selfish, one-unit deal. The IT unit needs to put itself ‘out there,’ take risks, and fail fast if that is what the spirit of the project calls for.

Cold Communication

No meager communication between business and IT units will suffice to produce a desirable outcome. A cold relationship will only furnish technical requirements from the development team, requirements that often do not meet the internal needs of the business.

Technology Haves and Have-Nots

Every business project has to meet basic technology requirements. There’s no need to segregate the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots.’ Simply specify the technology-heavy projects from technology-minimal projects by including the input of a steering committee. What’s more, architects need interpersonal-skills in addition to their assumed tech savvy to coordinate the proper developments.

Ghosts of IT Project’s Past

What do the ghosts of project’s past reveal to the institutional miser? They tell of a project without clearly defined goals, without scope, and without requirements. They relate a project team that has no coherent knowledge base and not enough talent to deliver the project successfully. The future of a siloed project is quite grim indeed, with ad-hoc participation, fluctuating scope and progress, and project teams who are misaligned with their PMs.

The moral of this story is quite clear: those who are unable to reach out to stakeholders, or to relevant departments and individuals, will be forever haunted by project failure. Before that sad future becomes a reality, it’s time to start thinking less miserly more about the joys of project risk management.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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