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IT is 100% of what we do but only 10% of what they do

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7 Reasons why projects fail

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Phone: 614-562-8471


 

Business Process Analysis

Ultimately, our clients want to achieve the following outcomes:
• Reduce waste
• Create solutions
• Complete projects on time
• Improve efficiency
• Document the right requirements


One way to assess these goals is to measure the return on investment (ROI) for all projects. Keeping score is part of human nature as we are always comparing ourselves or our performance to others, no matter what we are doing. According to Forrester Research, more than $100 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on custom and internally developed software projects. For all of these software development projects, keeping score is also important and business leaders are constantly asking for the return or ROI on a proposed project or at the conclusion of an active project. However, asking for the ROI without really understanding the underpinnings of where value is created or destroyed is putting the cart before the horse.


Reduce waste and complete projects on time
Project delays are costly in three different dimensions:
Project costs – For every month of delay, the project team continues to rack up costs and expenses. When a large part of the development team has been outsourced, the costs will start to add up quickly and are very visible if contracted on a time and materials basis (T&M). Fixed price contracts with external parties limit this risk. For internal resources, the costs of delays are not as readily apparent, unless time spent by resources is being tracked against the project, as labor costs are essentially ‘fixed’ costs.
Opportunity costs – Opportunity costs come in two flavors – lost revenue and unrealized expense reductions. Some projects are specifically undertaken with the purpose of driving new or additional revenues to the bottom line. For every month of delay, a company foregoes a month of this new revenue stream. The purpose of other projects is to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Again, each month of failure postpones the realization of these expense reductions by another month. In the vast majority of cases, these opportunities are never captured or analyzed, resulting in misleading ROI calculations. Of the two opportunity costs, the lost revenue is the most egregious – and the impacts are greater and longer lasting.

Document the right requirements
Business analysts want to make sure that they define the application in a way that meets the end-users’ needs. Essentially, they want to define the right application. This means that they must document the right requirements through listening carefully to ‘customer’ feedback, and by delivering a complete set of clear requirements to the technical architects and coders who will write the program. If a business analyst has limited tools or skills to help him elicit the right requirements, then the chances are fairly high that he will end up documenting requirements that will not be used or that will need to be re-written – resulting in rework as discussed above. The time wasted to document unnecessary requirements not only impacts the business analyst, it also impacts the rest of the development cycle. Coders need to generate application code to perform these unnecessary requirements and testers need to make sure that the wanted features actually work as documented and coded. Experts estimate that 10% to 40% of the features in new software applications are unnecessary or go unused. Being able to reduce the amount of these extra features by even one-third can result in significant savings.


Improve project efficiency
Efficiency can be achieved in two ways: by reducing rework and by shortening project length.
Rework is a common industry headache and it has become so common at many organizations that it is often built into project budgets and time lines. It generally refers to extra work needed in a project to fix errors due to incomplete or missing requirements and can impact the entire software development process from definition to coding and testing. The need for rework can be reduced by ensuring that the requirements gathering and definition processes are thorough and by ensuring that the business and technical members of a project are involved in these processes from an early stage.
Shortening project length presents two potential benefits. For every month that a project can be shortened, project resource costs can be diverted to other projects. This can lead to savings on the current project and lead to earlier start times of future projects (thus increasing revenue potential).
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