So far in my blogs I have discussed what information system failure actually is, how and why an information system fails, possible ways to rectify and prevent information systems failure. From my research of information system failure I’ve come to realise just how many information systems fail because of both minor and major mistakes are made. It is disheartening but true to state that when undertaking a large, complex, systems project, the realistic expectation should be that the project will fail so today I will be stating the actions that guarantee project failure and why it is so crucially important for the success of the system that they are avoided.
Information Systems Projects are frequently built using a strategy that almost guarantees failure:
1. Don’t use a specific methodology because it’s not really important.
Using a structured systems development methodology is one of the critical success factors in the development of information systems. Methodology is very important and the belief that it doesn’t really matter is a reason behind the failure of many projects.
2. Create the project plan by working backwards from a rigidly set completion date.
Working backwards from a set project completion date is a definite way to guarantee project failure. Managers may make a judgment about when a new or re-engineered system would be useful to have in production without the essential technical knowledge to determine whether or not it is possible to accomplish successfully in that space of time. No project ever went completely well from Strategy to Implementation.
A realistic timetable for the completion of a systems project is vitally important. The expectation that some deadlines won’t be met as unexpected setbacks unavoidably occur should be recognised. Forcing a deadline to drive the schedule will only lead to cut corners, greatly increasing the risk of the project. Even if the system gets built, it is usually of very poor quality as application after application is built just to get them completed.
3. Don’t bother with a data model.
The data model is the core of the system. Without a carefully constructed data model will not meet user requirements or inevitably fail. Failure to create a data model is really just looking for the project to fail.
4. Use a Technical Lead that has never built a similar system.
The person in the role of project Technical Lead must have experience. He/she should have completed successful similar projects. It is so important that the person in charge of the technical aspects of the project to have experience with the type of system being built.
5. Hire loads of developers to make the coding go faster.
It is said that more is not always better. Development teams are a typical example of this saying. A project with a few skilled developers, carefully supervised by a suitable technical lead has a much greater chance of success than one where loads of developers are reeling out mountains of code each day.
8. Skip the testing phase because the project is way behind schedule.
Putting a system into production without sufficient testing is asking for trouble. No system was ever created completely problem free. The time spent to thoroughly test any system before placing it into production can save so much more time in the long run.