Sunday, February 22, 2009

IT centric projects likely to fail

during the last two years many projects around trends like "social networking" / Web 2.0 comes to IT departments. the IT guys reading stories from well known vendors like Microsoft that collaboration and information sharing is one of the most important trends for next years.

they take this input and run to their sponsors (business departments) and ask them if they have trouble maintaining information around in their daily business and surprise, surprise they received a "yes we have problems".


most of todays problems are caused by incufficient information lifecycle. the core buisness assets are more or less maintained by information supporting and guiding the core buisness assets are still not really under control. project teams are not able to share a common view of project / work related information, information get lost from one human interfact to the next. supporting documents are not findable even if they exist somewhere.....

IT trys to fix this

they hire few consultants train them installing the product of interests providing wiki, blog, chat, document managment functionality. if they are smart enough they ask the buisness department for their requirements and now they try to setup a pilot using their product of choice.

great everything works after few days of departments start to use the good new world....solution gets adapted and released.....

one year later looking back and surprise, surprise the problems still the same just in another layout.

this story happens several times during the last year. Look at the most MS Sharepoint related projects out their -- most of them a great experience for the IT / consultants and developers but few or zero benefit for the business.


its simple and everybody knows the answer. IT systems doesn't solve a problem and on the other hand are not the cause of the problem. the problem is caused and must be solved within the business process itself. IT systems can only provide sufficient support for certain steps in the process if the process and connected process itself is healthy.


if business people claim they always faced with outdated information the cause is manifold. there might be no process to update the corresponding information at a certain step in the process. there might be no time to update the known information source, there might be no information which are the relevant information source for other people in the team, there might be redundant information source and the wrong one is used.......

sounds trivial and obvious but....
why we still faced with IT centric projects?

  • IT people are happy to develop new solutions
  • business people are happy to find someone guilty for existing problems.
  • IT people don't like to identify the real cause they are mainly focus on the solution.
  • business people cannot image what a certain IT solution mean for their daily business.
  • IT people don't understand the CAUSE they only understand the PROBLEM itself (expressed in "requirements")

and therefore both parties believe they solve a existing problem but they simple implement a solution to decant the problem into another IT solution.


never try to solve a existing problem related to information management never introduce a IT solution first. enforce the business to solve and describe their problems using the existing tool chain and try to identify the CAUSE of the problem. if this is done and works successful the areas a IT solution can support is easy to identify and now its much easier to identify which IT solutions is the right one to choose....


i don't say that the mentioned product MS Sharepoint is good or bad but it is a product IT tend to play with and therefore a good example many working people faced with....

No comments: