Editorial: July 2004By Edward H. Baker
Here's a project for you: Take a look at the graphic (
Why did Jim Burke, vice president of IT&T at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, spring for the hundreds of flat-panel monitors scattered throughout the terminal rather than for far less expensive CRT displays? "When you're buying as much technology as we have, you'd be amazed at the deals you can get," he notes drily.
Ultimately, however, Burke dismisses the pre-eminence of the technology decisions that went into his project: "This is a business decision, and technology is simply an enabler." That's a critical distinction, and it's reiterated strongly in this month's research survey on project management. More than a third of CIOs concede that their companies are not very disciplined about setting and sticking to their project priorities; just under a third say the necessary business and IT stakeholders are not adequately involved in setting priorities. That helps explain why more than a third of all projects aren't completed on time, or within budget, and why 13 percent never meet their intended business and technology goals.
Projects, of course, are what IT is all about. And some projects, sooner or later, will go awry. Can they be rescued? Yes, but only by recognizing the early signs of trouble. This month's Whiteboard, written by Daryl Conner and Linda Hoopes of strategy execution consultants Conner Partners, focuses on identifying the symptoms of troubled projectswhether the cause be apathy, confusion, overload, resistance or other issuesand then suggests solutions befitting each cause. As it turns out, the problems, and the solutions, invariably lie with the people, not the technology. But you probably already knew that.