Enterprise information technology (IT) applications can be difficult to implement, and often don’t deliver on their promises. Why is this? I believe the number one reason these projects fail to deliver on their promises is the lack of a strong, engaged, focused, and available executive sponsor.
IT customers are demanding more from their technology, and want results that help them reduce their bottom line, gain efficiencies, and do more with less. Line managers have a justified fear of giving up control of their legacy applications because of past IT miscues and screw-ups.
A project manager’s job is to help understand and integrate departmental business processes to help ensure the technology will meet the customer’s needs. A project manager can’t accomplish this task by themself. Implementing an enterprise technology solution can be a daunting task and requires the skills and talents of many people. When these projects fail, the blame falls equally between the project manager and the project sponsor.
PM FOR DUMMIES 101 - In order to successfully implement enterprise IT applications organizations first need to create the culture and climate that ensures investments in information technology contribute to a desired future outcome rather than continuing past practices.
Project Manager Tip – PLAN carefully then DO quickly. The just “do it” culture is usually fraught with project failures and ruined careers. Run from a project that requires the project manager to follow the failed mantra that says “Ready, Fire, Aim”!
Project Sponsor Tip - The sponsor must understand the technology being implemented, the culture where the change is taking place, and the benefits of implementing the desired solution. He or she must be willing to “kick some ass” to get the solution implemented in a timely fashion, and ensure the solution provides the required benefits to the organization.
The sponsor articulates the project vision, objectives and goals, and drives the change to the culture, PERIOD. NEVER forget this fact. Also, an invisible project sponsor is your project’s biggest risk.