Tuesday, May 01, 2012

An Interesting Pair Of Articles On IT Project Failure. There Is Considerable Relevance To The NEHRS.

The following pair of articles appeared a little while ago. There seems to be a lot of relevance to what we have seen in the NEHRS (PCEHR) Program in what is said.

Who's accountable for IT failure?

By Michael Krigsman | April 16, 2012, 4:45am PDT
Summary: IT failures are a management crisis of serious proportions that have been largely ignored. Here’s what senior executives need to know - and do - right now.
This two-part series presents a structure for understanding why IT projects fail, in a way that goes far beyond project management alone. Part one elaborates the problem while part two discusses the need for greater accountability on the part of senior management.
It’s a sobering statistic: nearly 70 percent of IT projects fail in some important way, putting the economic impact worldwide at three billion dollars, which corresponds to 4.7 percent of global GDP. And it’s a universal problem: setbacks span the public and private sectors, occur in all industries, and often result in substantial economic and productivity losses.
Just look at these CRM failure statistics for the years 2001-2009 - the numbers tell a story of significant problems related to IT project delivery:
  • 2001 Gartner Group: 50%
  • 2002 Butler Group: 70%
  • 2002 Selling Power, CSO Forum: 69.3%
  • 2005 AMR Research: 18%
  • 2006 AMR Research: 31%
  • 2007 AMR Research: 29%
  • 2007 Economist Intelligence Unit: 56%
  • 2009 Forrester Research: 47%
In virtually every case of failure, management fails to anticipate serious problems. Even in cases where challenges are likely, IT failure is too often considered business-as-usual, with executives throwing their figurative hands in the air, in surrender to chance or bad luck.
IT failures happen when managers exercise insufficient judgment, possess too little experience, hire the wrong people, ignore warning signs and, crucially, fail to involve affected employees in a way that eases the path to success.
Although tempting to blame project managers for failure, we must point attention to senior executives for allowing the conditions for failure to exist in the first place. The underlying reasons fall into three categories:
  1. Unrealistic and mismatched expectations
  2. Conflicts of interest among customers, vendors and integrators
  3. Corporate organization structure that conspires toward failure
Lots and lots more is here:
The link to Part 2 is in the text above.
I especially like this idea presented a little further down about the ‘Devil’s Triangle’
“The Devil’s Triangle principle explains that:
Three parties participate in virtually every major software deployment: the customer, system integrator or consultant, and the software vendor. Since each of these groups has its own definition of success, conflicts of interest rather than efficient and coordinated effort afflict many projects.”
The NEHRS program has this in spades and even worse than that ‘the customer’ (i.e. the public) is the one left without essentially any voice and is being given something there has simply been no demand for in the shape it is proposed.
Point 3 also has spectacularly high relevance as we consider the utterly broken governance and leadership of the program with two distinct centres of power (DoHA and NEHTA) and the consumer essentially out of the loop.
All the issues about NEHTA being not really able to understand who the customer is and how the different stakeholder groups will see things also rings true.
Any expectation this will all turn out well seems to be extraordinarily optimistic based on this analysis.
As for who should be accountable it has to be DoHA who have taken the running and really don’t still know what they don’t know who take most of the blame and NEHTA to a lesser extent for not telling the DoHA team they were asking for a lemon. I know there are current and former NEHTA staff who have had this view for ages.
Do read the full article - they should be inscribed on tablets in every IT Department.

1 comment:

Sarah Runge said...

Hi David

Great blog and absolutely spot on. A lack of Accountability for strategic Pre-investment decision making and Pre-implementation Planning at the top of the Organization or in this case Government is always the Root Cause for failure of IT Projects.

In 2005 I interviewed a person involved with an e-health project in Australia for my Research Thesis about How and What contributes to IT project failures (Based on my findings I published a book called "Stop Blaming the Software - Corporate Profiling for IT Project Success).

At that point the project was already facing delays and overruns primarily due to poor strategic communications, no accountability for decisions, lack of shared vision and leadership.

I am not sure how it eventually fared, but my guess would be that it has run the same course of the NEHRS Project. Somethings never change and no one ever learns.

Kind regards
Sarah Runge