Two-thirds of large projects hit by poor co-ordination, says report

Two in three large IT projects that cut across an organisation are badly co-ordinated, making them unlikely to achieve all their...

Two in three large IT projects that cut across an organisation are badly co-ordinated, making them unlikely to achieve all their objectives, according to a report by Cranfield School of Management.

The survey of 60 IT decision makers in public and private sector organisations found attempts by organisations to transform they way they operate - involving separate projects - are often disjointed.

Ashley Braganza, senior lecturer at Cranfield School of Management, said one problem was that the projects will be managed by different people at different times, making continuity difficult. "Very often the IT directors and IT managers will be closely involved in the project at its initiation but then a different set of people will become involved during the roll-out of the technology," he said.

Projects that involve significant change to the way an organisation operates, such as the type of service it offers, and streamlining business processes, such as processing a sales order more quickly, tend to be operated in isolation, added Braganza.

This is despite the fact that projects could deliver bigger benefits if data was shared between the IT systems in different parts of an organisation.

Braganza advised managers to look for common objectives between different projects in an organisation, for instance, cutting costs, and then work out the impact the projects have on different parts of the business. The final step is to introduce build technology to link the projects.

"If you are appraising employees on bringing down costs in an organisation, one area they might have reduced running costs is in dealings with suppliers. You would need to extract data from your supplier management ERP system and transfer it to your employee appraisal system," he said.

IT directors needed to take the lead in getting an overview of different projects but they need the help of directors and department heads to improve the way projects are managed, he said.

Fewer than one in five of all IT projects in the UK can be considered successful, and failed projects lead to billions of pounds being wasted on IT systems, according to research from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society in April.

However, in-depth research into IT project management by Computer Weekly last year painted a brighter picture. It found that the management of UK IT projects was better than previously thought.

Computer Weekly project research

Read more on IT project management

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