Thursday, January 10, 2013

Methodologies, Standards, Models, and Project Success - Part 1

My invited talk at ICSEMA 2012 was on ‘Methodologies, Standards, Maturity Models, and Project Success’. In the complex and evolving world of information technology how can we ensure successful projects? This was the open ended question in the abstract of my session.

The weather in Chennai was pleasant during that week and the conference venue was very good. At the end of my session and discussions with the participants, I wanted to post this blog so that it can benefit the participants as well as other readers.  I have done it in two parts.

Enterprise systems cover key corporate functions, store data shared by corporate users in one or more data stores, integrate within as well as across (with external systems), and contain enriched multi-media. These systems are web-enabled and often provide mobile, wireless, disconnected access. Enterprise systems include entities such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), SCM (Supply Chain Management), HRMS (Human Resources Management System), DW/BI (Data warehousing/Business Intelligence), Email, IM (Messenger), B2B (Business to Business) applications, and B2C (Business to Customer) applications. All these are offered to end users through a corporate intranet preferably with an EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) backbone. All these are governed by the CIO organizations. Process compliance, regulatory compliance, licensing and upgrades, customer satisfaction etc., are critical to the success of such IT implementations. It is a complex world!

With more than three of four decades of computerization software systems are required to enable interaction at different levels - person-to-person, person-to-machine, and machine-to-machine. Integrated systems, interoperability and portability are crucial.

Proliferation of devices (smart phones, tablets, ..) and new paradigms (such as cloud enablement) are catching up in the corporate world. These emerging trends increase the complexity of IT systems.

With the global economic trends, CIOs and CTOs attempt to stretch the existing budget and infrastructure to do more. They have started exploring the benefits of open-source software. They want to reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and increase ROI (Return on Investment).

Fred Brooks, the author of the popular book ‘The Mythical Man Month’, wrote a paper titled ‘There is No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering’. This paper was published in IEEE Computer in April 1987. In this paper he says, “There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.”

This paper has been discussed and debated in various forums. Is there a silver bullet? If yes, what it is? If no, how can we ensure project success?

Part-2 of this post has answers to these questions.


Bobby T said...

Reposting my comment from LinkedIn discussion thread:
My judgment is that part 2 of the blog is just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever methodology is adopted by the project team or PMO, it has to tie to the enterprise:
1. Mission
2. Core Values
3. Vision
4. Strategy (game plan)
5. Goals
6. Strategic objectives, and
7. Personal and team objectives.
#7 translate to daily activities by the project team. #1 (all the way to #6) has to be embraced and evangelized by the executives and management. (Items #1 to #7 were my takeaways from a change management presentation done last night from an AITP Chicago presentation.) Good stuff.

Raja Bavani said...


Well Said! Can projects fail in spite of all these 6 or 7 factors? Yes! - when there is lack of personal excellence, commitment, and playing one's strenghts. However, these 7 points are very essential to success! Thanks!