Project Failure

when a Project fails (to meet the expectations of the Gold Owner or Goal Donor?)

more likely in Big Project

What's the appropriate criteria for defining Success/Failure of a project (FeedBack after the fact)?

  • the traditional widespread-failure stories define success as on-time, on-budget, on-spec

  • I think the key baseline requirement is: "If I went back in time to the start of this project, would I (a) do the project, or (b) Just Say No?" (And "why?") (This question should be answered by lots of people, but esp the Gold Owner.)

    • Doing the project differently is not an option in this game.

    • Doing a very different project is also not (explicitly) on the list, because people tend to compare the actual outcome of the real project to the ideal other-project.

  • If the previous test is passed, then you start adding other metrics...

    • could realistic changes in actions/decisions have increased the net value created via the project

    • what did we learn that will increase our future ability to create value?

    • ???

Sean McGrath thinks IT just happens to be part and parcel of most change initiatives. The IT (generally) isn't the Root Cause of failures to change an organization. It is however, a beautifully inert stooge that is easily allocated blame when failure comes to town. "Everything would have been just peachy except for that darned IT stuff messing everything up.".

Failure Is Not An Option - not actually said by anyone in Apollo (NASA) project.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong - when an Engineer says this, he means it differently than when Management says it. See Space Shuttle.

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