Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Role of Web Based Project Management Systems

The statistics of failure of IT projects in the world are shocking. In the last ten years the success rate has improved from 16% to 32%. This means that 3 out of every 10 IT projects fail (chaos). There are many reasons but these are frequently mentioned:
  • User Involvement
  • Executive Management Support
  • Clear Statement of Requirements
  • Changing Requirements & Specifications

As you can see, two of these are related with Stakeholder Management and two are related to Integrated Change Control. It’s very common that Project Managers concentrate their efforts in Project Execution, forgetting to work enough in the areas that are frequently the origin of the failure of the project.

In the last few years, there has been a tendency of defining requirements in a more flexible and iterative way. New methods like Agile are focused on quick responses to change and continuous development. In my experiences, transforming projects in continuous operations is how the projects become a goal in and of themselves. A project is always a vehicle to achieve a more important goal. It has to be temporal by definition.  Nevertheless, a quick response to change is something that has to be considered seriously.

There are a few information technologies that point to the heart of the failure. The web as a whole and the ubiquity as one of the most important of their characteristics, convert web technology in a good way to manage communications in a project. Transactional Databases allow evolving every piece of a project, maintaining traceability and integrity, something that is very difficult with electronic documents or physical ones. As a consequence, a great recommendation to Project Managers: use a web based transactional system to manage your project and give access to every stakeholder. This tendency is quietly revolutionizing project management.

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