ITers fail to finish their

We have heard a lot recently about how the dearth of good project management skills has caused major IT project disasters.

We have heard a lot recently about how the dearth of good project management skills has caused major IT project disasters.

Indeed, major research conducted last autumn by the Real Time Club and the DTI disclosed that the wrong mix of people ends up in the IT profession. We have fewer leaders, twice as many enthusiasts, and half the number of "finishers" as the average business mix. That means we are good at initiating projects but poor at finishing them.

One further issue for the IT industry, well clarified recently by the IT parliamentary lobby group Eurim, is that however good a project may be in itself, it must also dovetail effectively with related projects. Effective programme management is essential too. For example, the national project to get all doctors to use computers in their surgeries was laudable. So was the project to network surgeries, and also the broader project to build a National Health Service network. However, the outcome of all three together is confusion, especially for doctors.

However good each individual project may be in itself, none will deliver to its full potential without careful attention to programme management. It is not enough for IT people simply to be good project managers - we have to be good programme managers too.

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