Large Project Failures

We have all heard stories about Enterprise Projects gone bad.  A current story follows.

IDG News Service (Boston Bureau) — The U.S. Air Force has decided to scrap a major ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project after spending US$1 billion, concluding that finishing it would cost far too much more money for too little gain.

How can this happen?

I can think of 3 reasons off the top of my head:

1) One of the goals of their project was to replace 200 existing implementations with a new software solution.  Some projects are just too BIG.  They might have had more success if they replaced one at a time instead of trying to displace all 200 in a single project.

2) I have no proof, but I am willing to bet that the analysis portion of the project didn’t gather all of the important information.  Once the team installing the system begins implementing the software they discover new information that significantly changes the project.

3) Lastly, the big killer of any project is ‘Scope Creep’.  It is extremely difficult for the team to configure/code up a solution when the engineering requirements keep changing.

Not only did this project fail, imagine how difficult it will be for someone internal to ‘sell’ a reasonable solution to the Air Force in the future.

This kind of failure is not just limited to ERP – BPM can be a victim as well.

Your Thoughts…

Have you seen large projects like this fail?


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