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Background Is your IT project doomed to fail?
managers no matter how unrealistic these demands are. If you ignore time and cost 45 limitations while allowing the client to push the limits, the project is doomed to failure from the outset.’ 4 Gregor McCleish, an IT specialist from 50 Scotland, claims lack of research and planning is the biggest reason why projects fail. ‘I’ve seen it so many times, halfway through the project the business people realize that what the IT people are doing 55 is not going to fit their requirements and they abandon the whole process. 5 Therefore, McCleish advises that the researchers have to get the requirements right and make sure 1 60 specifications are clear-cut and complete. 6 According to the latest Standish Group Industry report, an incredible 83% of all IT projects specialist Monica Muth claims that 40% of project failure is caused by 20 are not completed successfully. The Standish Group have been assessing IT poor communication between the end projects since 1985 and passing on the 65 user and the provider. ‘If you look at information to companies looking to successful projects it is clear that the end avoid making the same mistakes. The user is involved all the way through the development process,’ claims Muth. ‘End 25 Standish Group categorizes IT projects in three ways: ‘success’, ‘challenged’, and users should be consulted at regular stages ‘failure’. Those which are delivered on time 70 throughout. If users are kept in the dark until and within budget are classed as ‘success’. they receive a neatly packaged product then 2 the project is bound to fail. These projects 7 30 may have fallen behind schedule, gone over All projects budget or perhaps not all of the original have challenges such as deadlines, budget specifications were met. Finally, there are 75 constraints and manpower concerns, but IT those projects that are classed as ‘failure’. projects have other challenges ranging from These have been abandoned or cancelled, technological issues caused by hardware, operating system, network or database 35 and left hanging like our unfinished bridge. 3 . Raquel Mendes, problems, to security risks and system a project management consultant based 80 breakdowns. But, all our experts agree that IT project failures cost companies billions of in Hong Kong, blames project managers pounds a year so whatever the cause, failed themselves. ‘Project managers should IT projects deserve the same scrutiny as a 40 be prepared to stand up to the client,’ collapsed bridge. advises Mendes. ‘Often meeting the client’s objectives is the top priority for project When was the last time you saw an unfinished bridge, the construction abandoned and the structure crumbling? When was the last time you heard of a 5 bridge collapsing? Was there a huge enquiry into what happened? Can you imagine a bridge being built without clear plans, expectation and budgets? IT projects should be like building bridges – completed 10 on time, within budget, and if they fail to be finalized or break down once in operation, there should be an enquiry into what went wrong. Unfortunately IT projects are not treated like bridge-building projects and 15 when they go wrong failures are often covered up, ignored, and/or rationalized. © Oxford University Press 2008 Business Result Upper-intermediate Reading file 3
1 Work with a partner and discuss these questions.
1 W hat has been the most successful project you have worked on? What made it successful? 2 W hat things can cause a project to fail? 2 You are going to read a text about IT projects. Read the text quickly and
decide who or what these things are / what they do.
T he Standish Group R aquel Mendes Gregor McCleish Monica Muth 1 2 3 4 3 Match sentences a–g to gaps 1–7 to complete the text.
a Opinions differ as to why projects fail. b Maybe IT projects fail because they are just harder to manage than other projects like bridge building. c In other words, project managers have to learn how to say ‘no’. d A s a result, there is never a chance to learn from the mistakes and avoid them in the future. e T he third reason is communication. f Otherwise the specifications keep changing throughout the process, meaning the project grows out of control. g T hose, which are finally realized but have had problems are classed as ‘challenged’. 4 Read the text one more time and answer the following questions in your
1 W hat point is the writer making by comparing bridge-building and IT projects? 2 W hat’s the difference between the three categories used by the Standish Group? 3 According to Raquel Mendes, what factors will cause a project to fail? 4 Does Gregor McCleish give similar advice to Raquel? 5 W hat is the one thing all the experts agree on? 5 Match the words in bold in the text to each definition.
1 definite and easy to see or identify: 2 to find, or try to find, a logical reason to explain why somebody or something thinks, behaves, etc. in a way that is difficult to understand: 3 carefully and thoroughly examining: 4 to resist somebody; to not accept bad treatment without complaining: 5 6 7 8 make somebody or something certain to fail, suffer, die, etc.: breaking or breaking something into very small pieces: limits or restrictions on something: making a judgement about the nature or quality of somebody or something: 6 Work with a partner. Try to use each word from 5 in a sentence about
yourself / your work. 7 Choose three words from the text that you think are useful for you now. 8 Do you think the article is a fair account of the success of IT projects? © Oxford University Press 2008 Business Result Upper-intermediate ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course RBS BCN taught by Professor Dekoe during the Spring '10 term at Rotterdam Business School.
- Spring '10