Lesson 2: Know the vital stats

By : |April 8, 2013 0

LIKE you, like our best rivals in the IT terrain, like any suave scientist, I too, have often wondered as to what can be a valid indicator of an IT project or initiative going awry?

Cost creep? Time creep? SLA mishaps? Flaws in Emergency-management? User side crack-ups/ dissatisfaction? Long-term issues? What?

I have no clue if you have figured this out already son, but I hadn’t. So I kept flitting across this aporetic thought whenever I met a generous peer or seer. Like when I asked R Ray Wang, he pricked the bubble that I had billowed in a just a second. He said, “Simple. Deadlines being met up and until the milestone is due. Often you see status indicators are all green that get changed the week before to yellow. Another area would be when few people on the team can identify the metric they are moving towards or can define the business process being improved.”

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When I asked our insightful sage Linda Price from Gartner (remember we had met her at that only conference we ever went together to), she turned another sharp spin to the topic for me. While you had whisked yourself away with that sales guy, I was thankfully discreet enough to rather talk to her instead. One of the best defences, as she viewed, that all parties had against failure is a rigorous, mature methodology suite for system selection, acquisition, development and deployment. The other key aspect is to ensure a laser focus on talent development – both in the technical and business arenas. And when important projects arise all parties need to be willing and able to reorganise to ensure their best talent is working on the business, not being too critical to remove from their day jobs working in the business.

Another comrade from an Electricals group had given me a new lens on this subject. As he saw and experienced it, a valid indicator of an IT project is User Satisfaction and the business benefits delivery as per the original planned ROI. Rather than looking at the Cost and Time line increase, he opined, it is always better to track if the expected business benefits are delivered by the IT initiative and if they have been delivered as per the original estimated payback period. In my opinion if the project is successful, payback periods are shorter than expected, but it is always a challenge to attribute the business benefits to entirely IT initiative and measure it successfully.

That made me think deep and long on the word ‘user’. And how often I really took this VIP for granted. Wish I could erase some mistakes here.

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