Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Projects fail

A few weeks ago an interesting question appeared on Linkedin which I felt compelled to weigh in on. The question asked why Identity Management projects fail. I'm posting my answer below. I hope to look into these issues more in the near future.

1. Scope. Was it properly defined? How was change managed?

2. Business Analysis and Discovery: Did the project have a good sense of current state / target state of the project? Was the target state properly vetted?

3. Staffing: Was the proper staff in place as the project moved through its stages?

4. Integrator and Vendor Support: Did the Integrator have SMEs and people in place to handle the work? Was the Vendor taking care of supporting their on-site team? How were support requests to the vendor handled? Were there bugs in the software? How were they remediated by the vendor?

5. Was the right project chosen? Was SSO the right place to start, or would provisioning or physical security made more sense.

6. Was the right product chosen? How was the RFI/P and initial assessment handled, who reviewed and made final decisions.

7. Finally, how realistic was the project? Timelines, budgets, Objectives? It's seldom a bad idea to break the project into phases, starting with base builds/functionality and then moving on to more intricate configurations. IdM is seldom straight forward and a multi phased approach helps to manage change and gives the organization a chance to review and reconsider the configurations after they have been rolled to production.

In the end, I don't think that the Projects necessarily fail, but they could certainly go down some tricky paths, good Project and Vendor Management will help take care of most of this during implementation, but all stakeholders must have done their due diligence before the project even started.
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