Monday 13 May 2013

Why Project Server Implementations Fail

So many times i have been asked the question : Why do some Project Server implementations fails at a client ? or why did it only last a few months before it became a white elephant ?

We have had support calls from clients where they wish to "resurrect" the implementation, that was done a year or two again. Just to come on-site to find out someone has formatted the server and re-allocated it to another application ! Which I'm sure it's normal IT practice but, no one new about it for about a year that the server is off. Only when a new person started in the PMO he wanted to use a tool, but the tool was not there.

I have a done a bit of research on why Project Server Implementations fails and have spoken to may people that i work with on what caused things to go south. I will try to highlight them below in a manner that makes sense to all.
  1. Scoping of the Project not done properly, when requirement workshops starts everybody is amazed at how much work is actually involved
  2. Buy in from Senior Stakeholders is a key success factor for a successful deployment. How do you drive the adoption of a new tool from the bottom up?? That will simply not work. I have dealt with clients where executives had come to a point, after numerous change management processes, training, begging and pleading, came to a point where the users KPA's and KPI's are influenced by participation of the system. Unfortunate, but a reality. But today 8 years on Project Server works like a dream in the same said organization, having upgraded from 2003 to 2007 and then to 2010.
  3. Buy in from "the rest of the community" In some cases too little focus is on the general community and too much focus on executives and Senior Personnel. By not letting them know the benefits and how it can make their work better, you actually just aggravates them. I have had Project Managers tell me that this new system will not be used and that they will use "Offline" scheduling to plan and track their projects, as they feel the "Visibility" makes them vulnerable. 
  4. Change Management - So many organisations thinks by telling resources to use a new system is classified as change management.  User training is NOT the only aspect of change management. In some cases management seem to think that change is driven from the bottom up and not from the Top downwards. This tool as with any other Enterprise tool requires an amount of change management.
  5. Thinking the Tool will define a process. The tool is supposed to support a properly defined process, not the other way around. If there is no governance or processes in place, many clients think this tool will now "Make it all better" 
  6. Overestimating Maturity. Many organisations when asked the question "On a scale of 1-5, how mature are you. The general response is: "We are at least a 4!" In 95% of these cases a 2 on that same scale is an overkill. Once you are a in workshop and you start asking about base-lining procedures and the response is "We don't set baselines on schedules" but they are still trying to manage things like "Planned vs. Actual" and in some or other way try to actually report against that!! 
  7.  Over complication of the Configured Solution. Many clients wants to have a solution that is so complex and can do so many things that the basics are forgotten about. Having a large complex solution that no one understands just adds to the end user frustration.
  8. People overestimating the Project Professional skills. So many people think they know Microsoft Project, having worked in a stand alone environment for years. Once a Project Server is installed that picture changes significantly. There are added complexities, and a heap of new functions to use.
  9.  Customers don't follow advice. Most reputable implementation partners have done this for a number of years and all of them have "War Stories" to tell. Clients take that lightly and does not listen to advise or suggestions given. We have a very good idea of what will and what wont work!! Trust us.
  10.  Cutting Training. Allot of clients think by cutting training from the deployment they will save time and money, when in fact what happens is is costs more and the learning and adoption curve is so much longer. In my humble opinion this is one of the most dangerous things to do. And i am sure some implementation partners will hang me for saying, that some Partners Allow clients to cut training so that they still get the business.
  11. Infrastructure cost and or complexity. Allot of the smaller clients tend to underestimate the complexity of n proper designed Infrastructure. Most of them do not want nor understand the need of a Development environment. 
Adeline Cruywagen - TPG Africa 
Shimone Bezuidenhoud - TPG Africa
Christhoper Pond - TPG UK
Rob Carswell - TPG Africa
Nico Oosthuysen - TPG Africa

No comments: