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Friday, November 28, 2008

Weekend Fun

I was out playing golf today and a seven foot gator decided he wanted to watch.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Project Scope Overload

Always remember to keep your scope manageable. Too much scope when resources are limited can have unpredictable results.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Project Failure

Project Failures are everywhere.  Below is a list of project failures taken from an article that appears on the Lessons-from-History website.  You can read the full article here.

Why are there so many project failures?  My therory is it they are many times a result of a combination of several things:

Weak project management

Poor or non-existent project sponsorship

An organizational culture that severely disfunctional

Incomplete and/or inaccurate requirements

Some Notable Project Failures (from

The following list of failures happened within the project itself supporting the Standish claim that close to 50% of projects are seriously challenged:

  • The IRS project on taxpayer compliance took over a decade to complete and cost the country an unanticipated $50 bn.
  • The Oregon DMV conversion to new software took eight years to complete, the budget grew by 146% ($123m) and public outcry eventually killed the entire project.
  • The State of Florida welfare system was plagued with numerous computational errors and $260m in overpayments!
  • August 2008 Unencrypted memory stick lost with names/dates of birth of 84,000 inmates, England 's entire prison population. Home addresses of 33,000 who had six convictions.
  • Feb. 2007 £20bn UK NHS computer system 'doomed to fail‘a senior insider has warned.
  • 2007 laptop with records of 600,000 recruits was stolen from Royal Navy recruiter's car
  • In September 2006 Department of Homeland Security admitted project failure and closed the Emerge2 program $229m (a new financial IT system).
  • In May 2006 the disastrous Seasprite helicopter program for the Australian Navy, with $1bn spent, the helicopters were grounded due to software problems.
  • In April 2005 inter-departmental warfare played a significant role in the failure of a $64m federal IT project.
  • In 2005 British food retailer J Sainsbury had to write off $526m it had invested in an automated supply-chain management system.
  • In 2005 US Justice Department Inspector General report stated $170m FBI Virtual Case File project was a failure, after five years and $104m in expenditures. Over one 18-month period, the FBI gave its contractor nearly 400 requirements changes. 
  • In 2005 the UK Inland Revenue produced tax payment overpayments of $3.45 bn because of software errors. 
  • May 2005 major hybrid car manufacturer installed software fix on 160,000 vehicles. The automobile industry spends $2 to $3 bn per year fixing software problems.
  • July 2004 a new government welfare management system in Canada costing $200m was unable to handle a simple benefits rate increase. The contract allowed for 6 weeks of acceptance testing and never tested the ability to handle a rate increase.
  • In 2004 Avis cancelled an ERP system after $54.5m is spent
  • In 2002 the UK government wasted £698m on Pathway project, smartcards for benefits payments, & £134m overspend on magistrates' courts Libra system.

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

From the Guardian

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’

 Click here for the full article

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quality Improvement – Six Steps to Improving Quality

Step 2 - What is the Objective - To select a problem and set a target for improvement

What key activities should be undertaken?

Collect data on all aspects of the theme (all problems)
Clarify the problems from various viewpoints
Select a problem collected in the previous step
Identify what the customer wants (their requirements)
Write a clear statement of the problem
Utilize data to help establish a target
Present the problem statement to management or your project sponsor

Tools You Can Use:

Pareto Charts
Control Charts
Problem Statement Matrix

Note – Step Three will be coming in the next few days