Instead of looking to all of the dizzying ways that an IT project can go wrong, why not focus on the much narrower factors that ensure success? When you look at the positives, you learn the story of how things go right. Pearl Zhu considers some key factors of project management success.
Consider the historic context in which projects have been successfully executed. What environment was cultivated within the business to allow for success? How were conflicts between operational duties and project priorities resolved? Collect all the success stories you can, and see if some useful avoidance strategies might arise from the information.
Of course, one significant part of success is knowing what success is supposed to look like. Narrow your definition and ensure that the top management is on board with helping to drive this desired outcome. And as your focus narrows, you should conversely generalize your planning. Strictly defined plans seldom hold up to changes that can and inevitably do occur, which is why you should focus on building in time for future contingencies instead. And in the long-term, think about how blanket strategies can be applied across IT to solve whole groups of problems at their root, so that you are not all shifting back and forth between firefighting mode half the time with reoccurring problems.
Zhu goes on to discuss the merits of cost-benefit analysis (CBA):
…aligning IT and their customers is crucial to ensure that there is a stronger understanding of the business by IT so that they can accurately develop stakeholder maps and engage with each to raise awareness of the project and seek their input to requirements. Projects that struggle typically do not have a defined, documented and agreed cost benefit analysis (CBA). Let’s face it, most projects will have some level of challenge at some point during a project. A well documented and AGREED cost benefit is a great tool in determining how to navigate those issues.
When you have done all of the above, all that remains then is to keep people-centric, always thinking about how to simplify and improve the user experience. You can read the original post here: http://futureofcio.blogspot.com/2014/12/what-are-key-factors-in-it-project.html