The Initiation Stage

One of the saddest historical statistics is of the number of IT projects that fail through poor initial thinking. Either they are developed without consideration to some crucial piece of technology or else they are inadequately scoped resulting in inevitable creep of objectives. The diagram below represents a simple process that ensures that a project can be stopped before vast sums of money are spent.

A key problem lies in that a project gains momentum as the first words of the project initiation or definition report is written, thus, with colleagues of mine at several large corporate entities, this approach was developed;

The key concept is that before any project kicks off, a separate feasibility project is conducted where the success criteria is that a report is written determining whether the project is worthwhile. This circumvents the sensitivity of a project manager to having a project canned at the end of an analysis stage. I always feel this sounds strangely obvious, however the evidence is that this "sensitivity" is all to apparent in the IT industry. Thus if the project is a load of underpants, as a former colleague used to say, then the project manager can honestly say that the "feasibility project" was a blinding success, in that it was established that the main project was not worth doing.

NB it is worth pointing out that this does rather assume the organisation has an IT strategy.....

In the interests of improving the quality of IT project management, feel free to use and distribute this diagram, I have deliberately left off identification from the gif, but it would be appreciated if acknowledgement of Esper Consulting is made.