Thursday, October 15, 2009

Notes from ITARC NYC Open Meeting on IT Failures

At the recent ITARC conference in NYC, I facilitated a open meeting on IT Failures. We only had one hour, but some interesting ideas were discussed. Thanks to Eric Weinstein for taking these notes.

Reasons people gave for IT failures they experienced:

-Lack of change management

- Scope of the requirements too high level/incomplete or fleshed out leading to bad outcomes

- Analysis of cost estimation was wrong b/c the requirements were not fleshed out

- Cost estimation is an art, man power, resource time, are hard to estimate.

- Lack of accurate communication and feedback AND whether the project is understood

- Final delivery had no bearing on value for the customer - all communication from the developers back to the business stakeholders that came back was totally ignored

- Functional requirements get a lot of attention BUT the non-functional requirements is invisible/doesn't get credit, how to quantify the cost avoidance, non-functional requirements

-Trade off of quick vs. correctly - executive irresponsibility

-Business has unrealistic expectations of delivery dates OR tech people in general estimating time - may skimp out on upfront analysis or testing...

-Implementation side - developers failing - tools to control SDLC process - source control system (full integration of code
check in - what requirements that code is fulfilling - must be reviewed sign/off)

- Main causes of failure is managing complexity of large systems - failure vs complexity has high relationship - more complex a system, the harder it is to scope...must learn how to take big monolithic systems and break down to smaller systems


- "The Wrench in the System" Book recomendation

- Ask the business to delineate the success criteria, prioritize in numbers

- Understand timeframe, scope - rescope

- White paper - US Gov't - 66% of IT budget is high risk projects and half of those will fail


saran purushothaman said...

- Are these failures noticed more/mainly in Waterfall based SDLC ?

- I do second that NFRs are often overlooked ever since our mythical-man-month days .


desert_fox said...

From my past experiences with previous employers, I always noticed two things that led to a project failure or at the point of failure:

1. Inaccurate estimation of development time.
2. Managers/Supervisors creates a toxic environment within the development team.