Senior Management Commitment

When it is clear that a particular IT project has the interest, the support, and the commitment of the organization's senior management, everyone involved in the project will have a sharper focus. Almost all IT projects are expensive. In addition, these projects present opportunities — some of them significant — that foster organizational success. Poorly done projects can hamper the organization's success; some can even put the organization in jeopardy. Therefore, it is imperative that the senior managers responsible for the areas affected by a particular project become and remain involved. If, as often happens, the process is completely left to the IT department, the project is in trouble.

There are numerous examples of IT projects that have considerably benefited an organization. There are also many examples of IT project failures that have seriously disrupted an organization's business. Beyond the issue of total IT project failures, there are IT projects that are not true failures, but are less than successful. Those projects never deliver what was originally promised and are sometimes simply abandoned.

IT projects are sometimes conceived, funded, and built without appropriate seniorlevel review and involvement. This should not be seen as a failure on the part of senior management to approve a given IT project. In virtually all organizations, senior management approval is mandatory when a project reaches a certain funding level. In the majority of failed IT projects, such approval was undoubtedly granted at a high organizational level. Therefore, the issue is not that IT projects go forward without appropriate approval, but rather that the approval is too often automatic.

All too often, senior management approves IT projects that carry potentially serious consequences for the enterprise, without clearly understanding the organization's exposure or risk. Of course, one can argue that IT management is obliged to properly inform senior management of the project's potential downside. However, in the euphoria of getting the project approved, the project's risks may be ignored or glossed over. In fact, some organizations have a repeated pattern of project proposal and subsequent failure, yet senior management remains aloof.

There is an important distinction between approval of and commitment to an IT project. In IT projects that encounter difficulty, there is usually some point at which members of senior management become involved, and their attention and commitment are in place. However, this often happens at the wrong end of the project.

IT projects beyond a set funding level, which varies by organization, should never be seriously considered without senior management's clear understanding of the project's perceived difficulties, risks, and benefits. Too many IT projects gain approval based upon hype and an unrealistic calculation of the potential benefits. Thus, senior management, with or without an IT background, should probe for the facts. The project should be abandoned, or at least halted, until their questions can be satisfactorily answered.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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