Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Personal PM Story:

I was previously involved in an IT project for a large financial institution which I will call ABC Company due to potentially sensitive information. I was part of a consulting team that was responsible for gathering and analyzing business needs requirements that will feed into the design of the IT system. The project started in 2010, and was scheduled for implementation in 2011, but by the time I left the team late 2012, the status of the project was still unknown. The project management team could not provide any information on the progress or the completion date. Executive management had shifted all attention to this project because it was consuming enormous amounts of funding, but also disrupting business operations.

The old legacy IT system currently being used was extremely old and lacks the functions and capabilities required for the complexity of today’s banking needs. Many of the problems with the old IT system were not fixed because everyone anticipated that the new IT system would replace it. Instead, temporary patch fixes were used to “band-aid” the problem until the new IT system is in place. As the new system becomes delayed, these band-aids are causing even more problems. This is a common problem with time overrun in IT projects.

One of the biggest problems I could see from my role was the lack of collaboration across departments. The IT department had traditionally been highly independent and sees themselves as more of an external service provider rather than a part of the company. As a result, a tremendous amount of time was “wasted in the fuzzy front end” of the project trying to coordinate meetings and agreement on the scope.

The other problems I saw are very similar to those in the London Stock Exchange Taraus project. The complexity of the IT system is significantly higher than expected. Constant scope and feature creep. Our consulting was asked to provide business needs assessment very early in the project, but was asked to provide a new assessment several more times as scope changed throughout the project.  It is remarkable to see how companies still face these problems even though the project management discipline has been fairly refined and well developed over the last few decades.

Prepared by EL