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My Projects Have Never Failed


My Projects Have Never Failed

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Stewart Joslyn
Stewart Joslyn
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I doubt that there are many IT projects of any size that can be deemed a complete success in all respects.  There is always something that could have been done better, differently or more cheaply.  The post-implementation review process is there precisely to identify those 'failings' and, if it doesnt find any, can itself be deemed a failure!

I also would agree that an individual can perform their own role superbly while the overall outcome is an unmitigated disaster.

But a project requires team work and the ideal team is a team of peers. Whatever my nominal role, I should have equal respect with all other members, take an interest in the overall project and contribute in whatever way I can to its success.  If I see something going wrong, whether or not it is my nominal responsibility, it is my duty to my colleagues (and to myself) to point it out and offer a solution.  If they reject my suggestion and the project fails as a consequence, then it was, at least in part, my fault for not being persuasive enough!

At the end of the day, it's a question of the attitude that you bring to your work - and life in general.  You also will find that (positive) contributors usually end up with more interesting projects and more successful careers.





Charles Kincaid
Charles Kincaid
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I'm currently involved in a project that is sort of unique.  It's for a multi-billion dollar company.  We threw out requirements, specs., milestones, etc.  I am in daily contact with supervisors, plant managers, logistics co-ordinators, I.T. managers, network gurus, shipping clerks, and on and on.  Everybody from CIO and CFO right on down to people on the production floors, in the warehouses, and on the docks.

It's cool.  Way cool.  If I need something they stop and send it to me.  Likewise when questions come up I stop and dig it to the bottom.  Success?  Oh yes.  Finished?  No where near.  We are constanly making adjustments to a system of sub projects that is in production, on line, and darn near real time.  The list of enhancements to come is a book.  Only one volume so far.

Measurement?  We ask the users, "Is your job easier than last week?"



ATB

Charles Kincaid
colin.Leversuch-Roberts
colin.Leversuch-Roberts
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Having been within a project that failed big time, maybe £10 million down the drain and lots of jobs lost,from CIO down it's not an easy call.

What I'd probably observe from the article and many of the posts is that the projects were not managed correctly - however that's an easy statement to make, and I can draw on my above example where the DBA team expressed their concerns , well we actually said the implementation was unworkable, what actually happened is that we were told to get on and do as we were told or face the sack.

The pressures and reputations of too many are at risk in a large project and often too many decisions are made without input from the "right people". On a simple level how many DBA's get to have to install database applications which don't work, are full of security holes etc. etc. but were no part of the selection process?

I was part of a BI selection process where we rejected a major BI vendors tools, the Vendor took exception and attempted to get the decision overturned by going to the Managing Director , the argument the Vendor used was that they did not expect to present their products to technical people being more used to presenting to boards of directors. So for a major application around £1 million it should have been decided by non technical people !!

Very tricky and to be honest I'm surpised some companies manage to stay in business and it may explain why IT is so often seen as the enemy within a business.

 

 

 



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David.Poole
David.Poole
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Was Betamax a failure?
Technically far superior to VHS and much more compact and yet due to market forces it was eclipsed by VHS.

Similarly the last European Ford Escort sold by the boat load, even though it wasn't particularly reliable and was certainly well behind in terms of the way it functioned.

It just goes to show that no matter how excellent your product it can still fail for reasons that are grossly unfair. In the words of the song "Life's a bitch and then you die"!

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John Hannah
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I must agree that with those that have said if the customer isn't happy, the project has failed. You have to accept that you are sometimes going to be assigned to projects that fail. That doesn't mean you are personally a failure. Ultimately, however, there is one criteria for success and that's a happy customer/end user. The project at the HMO was most certainly an abject failure and the resources devoted to the generation of the single report at the software firm are ludicrous.
jcb
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One more point...

 

Not Me, Boss? Not My Job?

I am not responsible for and have no control over the work environment, the teams to which I am assigned, or the leaders and managers who are appointed by management to direct me. How can I feel responsible for the failure of projects due to causes over which I have no control?

 
The real sarcasm is it:
All VPs, CEOs, Managers to highest to smallest enforces the job specialization like a dogma. It (and a insane work load) leads to intimate all IT workers to do just thar he is supossed (by contract) to do.
 
How many of yours ´ll reject the VP piece of paper system specification?
How many of yours ´ll utter "Its not my team responsability!" at your boss?
How many of yours ´ll utter "Its not your job!" for you coworker?

Roger L Reid
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Very nice - I have to remind myself that these people pay me, not vice versa - so it's my reponsibility to point out what I see as flaws and issues, but if they insist - it's their decision, and my job is to do my best to implement it.

This can be frustrating. 

As you can imagine, I don't always agree with my boss's approach - but one thing he does that's a good idea is "fail fast".  If we don't know if this will work, go at it from the angle with the best chance of failure before doing things that might intuitively come first.  Sometimes you feel like if you could do it "right" then it might not fail, but it makes sense to minimize the time spent failing.

Too many articles about project "failure" don't get the fact that failure is part of the process.  The trick is managing failure well.



Roger L Reid
RobertWilkinson
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Java and a web interface in 1992 is very impressive !



ChiragNS
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Two important things pointed out here are if customer is happy then the project can be said to be a success (what level of success ... it depends) and the attitude we bring in to to our work. People with a postive and "go get it " attitude get to do interesting projects but i have seen such people overloaded with work too.

There are many factors beyond our control which lead to failures. One thing i have found is the desire to use technology that people are most comfortable working with irrespective of the fact that it may not be the best option.
Another related thing is fear of failure due to which people dont want to try out new things/technologies.

Personally if you have been a part of a failed projects it all comes down how you managed the failure .

"Keep Trying"
Andy in Pembs
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Holy thread resurrection, batman!
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