For some organizations the assessment of the success of an IT project will come at different times in the life cycle. It could take as little as days to find out whether you have made the right decision and as long as a decade depending on the type of system you are running.
The overarching nature of business IT projects means that reviews will be on a continuous basis throughout the life of the project. Underpinning this is the need to have some basic criteria for assessing whether you have been successful. This article aims to highlight some of those key principles.
The first issue to consider is whether the system is actually working in the way that it was intended to work. Ignoring some of the minor glitches that will befall the IT project, it is always important to ensure that the system is fundamentally sound. If it is not then clearly the management of IT project has not been as successful as would have been desirable.
Is the project on time? No matter how the project is done, if it well out of time a lot of the benefits would have been negated. Ideally you are looking to ensure that the project is just in time so that it can fit in with your normal plans as well as other related projects. Monitoring has to play a role here because if you are reviewing the project regularly it is highly unlikely that you would be overly surprised by the time delivery scales.
Cost has similar implications to time in assessing whether the technology projects have been successful. Beware of incremental costs that keep getting added outside the original contract. In fact it might be wise to include a clause in the original contract to the effect that costs have to strictly fall within given parameters. Projects that have had problems in implementation will also experience a rise in cost due to regular adjustments. For the bottom line of the organization, the need to monitor and consistently control costs is a fundamental objective of all executives.
It is also important to assess whether the technology is still giving you a competitive advantage, not just in terms of the business IT project itself but also in terms of the general revenue streams of the company. If it is a particularly long project, you might find that by the time it is complete your competitors have purchased even better versions. That is why it is crucial to take your time before you produce a commissioning decision. It is better to spend time in the planning stage than to spend time in the corrective stage when things have gone wrong at a later stage.
Finally it might be worth to ensure that your employees are happy. They are your human capital base and if the system is working for them you can be sure that they will be motivated to produce better results for you. The journey doesn’t stop there. You will need to learn from any mistakes you have made and implement improvements.