How To Avoid Failed IT Projects

Too many businesses view their software needs as an item to be purchased rather than a project to complete. It’s easy to make that mistake when you’re searching for software online and see banners on every site telling you to “Get Started Now”. Getting started is the easy part.

It’s like building a house. Digging a foundation is a pretty quick process and it changes the landscape so drastically that it looks like a lot of work must have been done. Just look at how much dirt got moved around! But really the foundation is just the beginning. You’ll need a floor, walls and a roof. Without all of the pieces working together you’ll still get wet if it rains.

On boarding new service management software is the same way. Clicking a download link is just laying the foundation for your IT project. You need to lay the framework of your business onto the new software foundation. The sad truth is that, like many construction projects, an alarming number of IT projects end up going over-budget and/or past the deadline, sometimes without delivering their promised returns. Some fail completely.

IT Project Success Rates

The graphic to the right*, based on a study from conducted in 2013, shows a startling percentage of projects that either failed or were “challenged” (challenged means that a “solution was delivered, but the team did not fully meet all of the project’s success criteria within acceptable ranges”, according to Scott Ambler). The same study found some even more alarming trends in the overall effectiveness of software deployment in terms of it being delivered on time and providing the promised return on investment.

Effectiveness of Software Development

So even if the quality of software development is up to snuff (which is only around 66% of the time, unfortunately) it’s likely that it wasn’t delivered on time and the return on investment might be less than was promised.

Avoiding Failed IT Projects

So how does a company make sure software development and implementation arrives on time, with all of the quality that was promised and the ability to generate a return on the investment?

  1. Make sure the software provider you’re working with has an extensive   history supplying software to the specific industry you work in.
  2. Search for a software provider that has a structured plan for implementing their software and for assuring that it performs well after implementation.
  3. Look for software providers that provide more than plain old tech support and go above and beyond to establish themselves as thought leaders, host webinars and cultivate an active relationship with their customers.

Don’t leave yourself wondering how to build a house on the foundation you dug. Don’t buy new software from a software provider who doesn’t have a blueprint for how it will be implemented in your business. Make sure they have a comprehensive plan for installation, implementation and performance.

For a look at how High 5 Software actively works to guarantee the implementation and performance of our software for service businesses check out our Slideshare presentation regarding our Assured Program or view it below.

*Images were plotted using raw data from

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