“This implementation is going nowhere fast and I am canceling it,” said the CIO.
I was in shock. In an IT career spanning decades I had never witnessed an executive make a decision as bold as this. But, truth be told, this particular implementation had already gone on for twice the allotted time and delivered nothing notable—beyond a very long list of open issues.
Still, I jumped in to defend the struggling project. I said we would be foolish to waste all the efforts made to date. I said the business case had a clear ROI. I said reputations, and possibly jobs, were on the line if the initiative was terminated.
An IT department’s most critical point of failure lies in its inability to cancel a dead-end project. Canceling a project can be a great move, but it is uncommon. (When was the last time you canceled an IT project?) All too often, IT departments waste significant time and money on a fruitless effort.
Let’s explore the major reasons why an IT project reaches an impasse. Knowing the reasons will help find an effective, yet low-risk path to fail fast and move forward.
U.S. e-commerce is expected to reach about $434.2 billion in 2017, and continue to grow at a rate of 14% over the next 4 years. The key to being a part of this growth is having an effective e-commerce strategy in place.
To be effective, an e-commerce strategy should be part of an organization’s overall strategy. This seems obvious enough, but rarely is it the case. Organizational dynamics often get in the way.
What are the root causes that lead some project teams to operate well, while others struggle? Underperforming project teams may result from a weak change management plan, lack of talent on the project team, or insufficient stakeholder support, among other factors.
In my view, all of these issues boil down to poor alignment.
There is ample evidence that, in general, “software customizations are bad.” (So much so you might have nightmares where software customizations are vampires, haunting you, refusing to die in peace.)
But consider the other side of the coin: the risk of an organization going along with canned software functionality. This can downgrade an organization’s business practices to “average,” causing them to lose out on opportunities to improve performance.