95% of IT Projects Not Delivered On Time

95% of IT Projects Not Delivered On Time: ah, this one will run and run (I like the collection of consultant/programmer jokes – Ok, most of them as old as mainframes, but good to see them all pouring from one Slashdot post…)

My take on the problem lies somewhere between “cynical” and “inevitable”:

– cynical because contractors will rarely quote for a finished job, because they want more money and work: when it’s not finished on time or within budget, they will claim that the original specs have not been respected by the client and more work needs doing (“Oh, when you said you wanted coffee, you never actually specified that it should be drinkable, hot or actually brought to where you are; that’s a change request that we’ll have to bill you for and voids the contractual provisions regarding delivery date…”)

– inevitable, because I have rarely encountered a project where it has been possible to nail down the actual deliverables 100% accurately. Even a 0.1% of margin of doubt over the precise deliverable is enough wiggle room for a consultant or service provider to claim that any over-run is the client’s fault. Unlike in many areas of “physical” engineering, there is still too much shabby, loose and frankly dangerously ambiguous terminology in information technology, so we often struggle through with a dialogue of misunderstandings and poor poor project definition.

It’s an industry that still in nappies (US English, ‘diapers’) as far as architectural professionalism is concerned, and the best project quality plans from contractors will ensure that the client positively buys into all aspects of terminology in the project descriptions. And, no, I haven’t found a business process modelling tool that does it adequately for you…

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