The Cost of Mismanaged IT Projects

The universal pain point in technology projects today is missing target delivery dates – and it is a struggle for many organizations. Features have evolved to become the new focus instead of planning how to deliver on those features, and missing key delivery dates and going over budget is so common it has unfortunately become the norm.

If this sounds familiar, we implore you to consider refocusing your technology projects using the bookends: project management and quality assurance. Taking the time to realistically plan and implement controls to provide valuable data throughout the life cycle, while often unknowingly overlooked, is the key to technology project success.

‘Project Bookends’: Why Project Management and Quality Assurance Are Critical to Project Success

These two functions are not new concepts when it comes to IT projects, but the industry is becoming more aware of just how essential project management (PM) and quality assurance (QA) are, and the fundamental success they add to the project equation. Even those organizations who already know PM and QA are essential are looking to increase and optimize the data they use out of both functions for planning purposes, which can further increase their value-add and the ability to replicate the insight they provide on future projects.

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Organizations looking to improve the consistency of hitting target delivery dates may want to consider advancing planning techniques and control measures in their PM and QA teams towards ensuring data and controls are put in place. Collectively, these two functions provide critical project performance data used to forecast and course correct before dates are missed and budgets are overrun. When process and measures, such as these, have not been put in place on the front end, dates and budgets are usually the first to be sacrificed.

In a myriad of instances, businesses struggle to plan, or plan realistically, for their projects. More often than not, they feel pressured to rush through the planning phase, assuming it will give them a head start, so to speak.

Unfortunately, the results typically support the adage that a failure to plan will only result in a plan to fail.

And when organizations fail to put well-designed plans and QA controls in place, up front, they end up with projects with unrealistic target delivery dates that ultimately cannot be controlled, measured or used to obtain important project performance data.

When a project’s only measurements are based on time – using a calendar or a duration of time to measure progress versus work level of effort (LOE) – a business does not have a clear window into project performance. Similarly, at the other bookend, without specific quality control measures in place to assess the project during testing, organizations do not have a window into whether a product is ready for launch (other than relying on hitting an unrealistic target date).

The bottom line is this: A lack of planning results in a lack of measurement and data – and you can’t manage what you do not know.

This is part one of a two-part series exploring the importance of project management and quality assurance as it relates to the success of IT projects today. Click here for part 2.

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Darrin Lang

Darrin Lang
Darrin Lang is CEO and co-founder of LABUR LLC in Boston.

Darrin Lang

Joanna Kolis

Joanna Kolis
A process improvement strategist, Joanna Kolis is a strategic advisor for LABUR LLC.

Darrin Lang

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