CIO.com just published a great article entitled, “13 Tips for Keeping IT Projects Under Control”
All 13 ideas make lots of sense. Yet I wonder if we are looking in the wrong place for our fixes. E.g., a recent study on ERP project outcomes reports that:
- 53% had cost overruns
- 61% had duration overruns
- 60% delivered less than half the expected business benefits.
I addressed over 100 IT managers on project management at ITRoadMap in DC last December. I asked how many of them believed that a large percentage of IT projects met or exceeded expectations. Only 3 people raised their hands.
Remember the old joke about a man on his hands and knees under a streetlamp at night?
A policeman approaches him and asks what he’s doing. He replies, “I dropped my car keys.” The policeman looks around and doesn’t see any parked cars nearby, so asks if this is where the man thinks he dropped them. “Oh no…” the man replies, “I dropped them by my car around the corner, but there’s no street light there.”
Many of our project managers today use many of the techniques identified in the article. And many also have training and certification in effective project management practices.
With all our focus on managing projects, are we too focused on managing “work “, and not paying enough attention to how we engage all the individuals on whose day-to-day performance the project depends?
Are we paying more attention to “what” needs to be done, and less attention to “how” people need to engage with one another? I.e., are we focusing too much on the tools and techniques, and not enough on the “soft” skills of leadership?