Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Piss it away.

Here's a subject close to my heart, IT Project Management. It appears that parts of the Government have seriously dysfunctional IT systems that have had some bad fails over the last few years. The VA office alone has wasted $300 Million dollars on two systems that have resulted in no improvement in capability.

I've been involved in large scale IT Project Management for several years and here's my opinion on what goes wrong.

  • Hire your own people to manage the contractors. It's not realistic to hire all the developers and programmers you need as full time employees but paying the same company to create the system AND run the project is the second biggest mistake you can make. You'll pay a fortune and it will take twice as long....I promise.
  • The biggest mistake you can make is to hire a contract company to tell you what you need. Hire a good team of analysts and project managers as full time employees. Give that team the tools and the power to explore your organization, talk to the stakeholders and come up with a list of requirements that maps out your needs.
  • Never, ever pick a platform or an underlying system based on a vendor pitch. Stick to your requirements statement like your life (or job) depends on it because it does. Find a system that meets your needs as closely as possible with as little customization as possible.
  • Don't fall for a vendor's promise that their software can do anything you want. You want the "off the shelf" software to meet your needs as closely as possible with no customization. Custom programming = $$$$$$, you can never completely avoid this but make every effort to keep it to a bare minimum.
  • Picking a platform first is the death knell. Trying to force a specific platform to conform to your existing processes will take forever and cost an absolute fortune. Besides if you really want to take advantage of new software systems then now is a good time to improve your processes.
If this helps you or your business then send me a check.

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