I spent much of my time at the SmartLabs Exchange in Berlin talking with people about their projects. I heard stories of projects successes and failures. When discussing the failures, I would comment that if they just could get rid of all the people, they could have had a perfect project. Many agreed and nodded their heads (although a few were started by the statement until I explained, further).
By now, many companies do know what it takes to run a software project. LIMS and ELN projects are software projects and the large ones require a full set of project managers, business analysts, implementation people, and the like.
So, if many companies KNOW how to run these projects, how do they end up with some appalling failures, regardless? Well, if only it weren’t for the people on the project! Many of you are nodding, right now. For those that don’t quite understand think of this – it’s the people that make decisions to skip steps or to wait for a product version that isn’t close to release or to ignore good software project management or any number of other things that cause projects (ESPECIALLY the big ones!) to fail. Thus, regardless what we might KNOW to be true and to be the most likely path to success, it’s the people that decide to take alternate courses.
So, while many of us know what to do, the reality is that projects don’t take the right paths and continue to have high failure rates. Sometimes people on the projects get pressure to make it happen cheaper or faster, other times a person in a decision-making spot isn’t knowledgeable-enough to make the right decision, yet other times the person doesn’t have the right resources to make it all happen, regardless what they KNOW.
So, it’s still all about making sure the people on the projects are:
- The right resource for the job.
- The entire team knows what is required to make this all happen, successfully, including the decision-makers (we sometimes forget to include them, enough, and that’s a mistake).
- The right tools and resources to take on the tasks in a timely fashion in order to fulfill all that needs to be done.