The Unique Demands Of A Largescale It Project

Few organizations within a typical company can compete with IT for missing deadlines so reliably, and with such prominence. Is it that the IT profession simply draws those with exceptionally poor time management skills? Or that a badge of honor for IT project managers is awarded for setting particularly unrealistic delivery dates? Or do IT managers just enjoy being heckled by disgruntled end users?

In fact, IT managers are probably no more or less inherently efficient than their business counterparts. Nor is their ability to estimate time realistically or keep track of costs any less well honed. Rather, it is the very nature of large-scale IT projects that makes it so difficult continually to meet deadlines, work within budget constraints, and please business sponsors:

■ Many enterprisewide IT projects are seen by business managers as a panacea to solve a critical business problem — creating a heightened sense of urgency and pressure.

■ IT projects tend to run in the double-digit millions of dollars, thus commanding particularly close scrutiny and criticism.

■ Business sponsors often lack an understanding of realistic time frames and resource requirements, particularly when they insist on making changes midstream.

■ A shortage of IT talent often means that several business units within a company compete fiercely for available resources, with no corporatewide process for setting IT investment priorities.

■ IT organizations and their business counterparts often have an uneasy partnership, where they find it difficult to understand how they can best collaborate for mutual success.

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