I have done 10 full life-cycle large IT (SAP CRM) implementation projects in the past fifteen years and the conclusion I get from both successful projects and projects ended miserably is always the same, it’s the people.
And of course the higher you look on that ladder the more it matters.
The first thing is the people, point, if you have a great team of experienced professionals you have great chance of success. As Gary Klein greatly explained in a final chapter of his great book a good team read each other mind. Sure, you must have good communication in place, you must document what you are doing, you must adopt the right tools to support you, you need to know how to manage change, how to manage the customer, how to cope with adversities… But all these things are always there, what makes a difference? The team, the people. As Warren Buffet once said: “Surround yourself with people better than you and you will drift in that direction…”
The second thing is PMO, which is not just that guy the project manager, it’s a culture, it’s an habit, and it’s not a methodology or any methodology, it’s keeping things simple but under control, all things, every thing, every little detail. It requires time, and usually is underestimated, it’s often boring, and often seems there are more important things to do than update a gantt, a to-do list, or write the documentation.
And often people do these things just because they thing they have to, or they are asked, or because it’s a deliverable. In some other cases it’s overdone, that’s true.
Which drag me to the conclusion.
It’s a matter of finding the right compromise; the perfect project doesn’t exist, the perfect people does not exist, the perfect customer does not exist, the right time doesn’t exist.
You need to find the right compromise given the resources, time and money you have at your disposal, you need to do not take things too seriously, but seriously enough, you need to have the sense, and the sensibility. You need to have all these things, all these great people.
And of course chance are you will fail anyway… 🙂
It’s a damn perilous path…