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What IT Projects Failure Means for CIOs

No one really thinks that large IT projects are run effectively, do they? According to Jim Anderson in an article for PM Hut, the way IT outfits currently run project management is akin to playing golf in the midst of an ice hockey match. In other words, what worked in the static and repetitive environments of the past is no longer par for the course:

Let’s face it: there is something wrong with big IT projects. You can take a look at the various studies that are out there, but they are all telling us the same thing. All too often, these big projects crash and burn. The latest stats that I’ve seen tell me that roughly 70% of big IT projects are not completed either on time or on budget.

People are the Problem (and Solution)

What makes the projects of today so dynamic and unwieldy? As you might expect, the answer is people. People, with their vastly different personalities and opinions, must collaborate, communicate, commiserate, and/or otherwise create the little bits of value that add up to successful delivery.

Anderson argues for a return to four simple orienting questions. Similar to the orienting behaviors successfully modeled by Craig Reynolds in his 1986 “Boids” simulation, these rules are all the PM really needs to guide successful project behavior. They are: What is one trying to accomplish? What actions need to be taken? How can action be taken in the fewest steps possible? And who on the team will execute the actions?

Rules of the Game

In that ice hockey match, all that matters are the rules of the game. At any given moment, the players may be in different positions, requiring quick and adaptable actions toward a shared goal. Without time to find the proper form, to size up the landscape, to formulate a strategy, a striker must aim and shoot. In this analogy all the player needs is an orienting strategy. Luckily, there is one.

Read the original article at:

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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