March 29 2021

Why IT Projects Fail webinar resources for SME directors

There are hundreds of reasons why IT projects go wrong. Although technology can be daunting, the human aspect is often a bigger challenge to project success.

Why IT projects fail

Why do so many IT projects fail?

People are the difference between success and failure, it’s people who will either deliver the transformation or derail it. The key factors are engagement and trust, if these are low, if these are low the project will fail. And it’s an uncomfortable fact, 80 per cent of IT projects are unsuccessful.

Watch the recording

Webinar takeaways:

  • Developing a high trust environment accelerates delivery
  • Building a great team is the best risk mitigation strategy
  • Vital skills and abilities
    • The role of a business analyst
    • The role of a project manager

In this webinar we talk with Simon Cookson, co-Founder of Northern Value Creators. Simon has twenty years’ experience in IT delivery, and has spent the last five years helping clients develop teams. He talks about how IT project success is not dependent on the tech or on having the ‘right’ people. Simon explains how success largely depends on the levels of fear and trust in the business:

"A successful IT project makes a positive impact on your organisation, it changes things for the better. Change brings with it uncertainty, change takes extra effort and adds extra risk. In the face of change, ancient parts of our brain whose main function is to keep us alive get triggered. Our stress responses are activated and our IQ drops - in the face of a threat, chemicals in our brains stop us accessing our higher cognitive functions. This helped us to run away from that tiger on the savannah; it’s not as handy in the office.

The problem is during the delivery of IT projects you’ll need your people at their best. Problems will need solving, things will go wrong and it will get stressful. If you are to realise your ambitions, you’ll need people to be creative, resilient and prepared to put in the extra effort.”

People, processes and technology – in that order

Time and again IT project failure finds its origins in human problems like people refusing to change the way they work, people who’re unwilling to change their mindset and adapt business processes to fit new technology. This blew up spectacularly for Lidl in 2018 when after seven years and €500m they abandoned their SAP implementation and reverted to their old system. A successful IT project starts with the people, then examines the business processes and looks to technology last.

Defining project success

Project success means positive change beyond immediate business benefits. A successful project is one of the best opportunities to fast track your business to being a high trust, and high performing environment. Business change projects allow people to demonstrate and improve their skills and abilities, they’re a fantastic way of levelling up within and across teams your organisation.

In order to create a high performing team and a high trust work environment you need people with the right skills. The roles of the business analyst and IT project manager are often overlooked by SMEs yet they are critical to project success.