Fifty percent of CRM Projects Fail.
Thirty Five Percent of all IT Projects Fail.
Do you know why? Asuret does.
You probably read Michael Krigsman column on ZDNet dealing with failure. If you can say this without smiling, he knows how to fail. He also knows how to prevent it. His company is Asuret and they have created a solution that leverages wisdom of the crowds principles to show you critical project health indicators in a easy-to-navigate platform to help you avoid, or at least manage, the type of risk that carries failure with it. I saw a demo a couple of weeks ago, and I am still impressed with what I saw.
You know your employees know more than they are willing to express freely (they may fear for their job, or to hurt someone’s feelings, or to cause political problems, or to expose their own weaknesses, or– you can add your own reasons why here). In addition, you know that what they are not saying could be the difference between success and failure. Even though Change and Risk Management programs are designed to manage that risk, not many organizations undertake them; the ones that do don’t really understand exactly how to use change management efficiently and their half-baked efforts don’t manage all the risk.
Asuret created a solution that collects information from stakeholders in different departments in the company as enterprise IT projects are company-wide initiatives that affect all departments and all people in the company. Asuret also collects information from the solution providers (consultants or integrators) and vendors if any of them are involved in the project. Using an electronic questionnaire that takes about 15-20 minutes to get through and all questions are multiple choice. This questionnaire has some “demographics” information (such as department, job function) but it also has thresholds built in to prevent an answer to become identifiable. In other words, this is all very confidential and results are only shared with the appropriate people in an anonymous manner.
To build the questionnaire they create a model of the project to reflect the current situation, risks to monitor, and particulars for that specific stage of the project. Questions are drawn from a question repository with options for different type of projects (e.g. CRM vs ERP) and different stages (e.g. launching vs end of the first stage). As agile projects change the focus and methodology from stage to stage the questions vary slightly from one stage to the next. These questions are divided across seven key vulnerability areas (these areas came as a result of years of consulting in change management). See figure 1.
Once they have the questionnaire compiled they write the potential answers for each of the questions – and assign a numerical value to each answer. (see figure 2 for an example). The methodology is similar to the one I used when doing Magic Quadrants and Marketscopes – and it is the key to remaining impartial. Doing this allows them to convert the textual answers to numerical values — which is the next critical part of this process.
These questions (under 50, but varies for each project type and stage) are asked of all concerned stakeholders in the company and third-parties associated with the project. You can probably start to see the value of knowing what everyone in the company – not just the project people – think of management stability. Aggregating the answers to all these questions we begin to see the chances for the project to succeed.
And that is exactly what the third step does — with a twist. See figure 3 for more details.
By aggregating the data for each question asked and the importance level assigned to each, and cross-tabbing that with the consensus (i.e. how many people think it is a problem), you get a clear picture of what the stakeholders and associated third parties think of the project, and its chances of success. That by itself is great, but you can also drill down in each score by job function, by department, and basically by any of the demographics you selected when you created the questionnaire.
Can you imagine if you know before you begin the project that IT doubts the executive leadership? Or that the business stakeholders believe that the vendors are going to be a problem? Or that the Executives think that the PMO (project management office) does not have the necessary requirements to succeed in the project?
Talk about Change and Risk Management!
This is a path to success in the project. You know what problems you are going to find, what hurdles, and how to schedule and manage your project accordingly.
I have been in several large projects in my corporate life, both as a consultant as well as a member of the teams. I can tell you that all this information is what is usually known after the project starts (actually, usually at the point of failure), because the people who know this beforehand did not want to say anything for fear of retribution of getting into trouble.
As I said, only you can prevent Project Failure — but take a look at Asuret to help you there.
What do you think? Interesting enough? Has a chance? Would you use it?_____________ Disclaimer: Asuret is neither a client nor a prospect of mine, and I am not compensated in any way for this post. As I said before, I only talk about the products I truly believe in and think that would be interesting to the readers. There is no conflict of interest, no sponsorship, and no relationship with Asuret that has influenced my opinion of their product. It is just that cool.