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The next big tech failure in Australia is just around the corner after census debacle

Colin Ellis | Sept. 2, 2016
People sponsoring and managing the IT project get off scot-free and face little in the way of scrutiny.

2. Communication

Great communication in IT projects is a dying art, if it’s not dead already, that is. Too often project managers will send documents and narrative by email and assume this is communication; it’s not.

Great communication demands that people take the time to fully understand what it takes to motivate someone to do their best work. This will include not using IT acronyms, jargon and talking about methods (e.g. ‘we need to be more agile!’) and hope that stakeholders understand. 9 times out of 10 they don’t. Confidence in a project is a by-product of the planning that’s created and the communication thereafter. Both of these were big failures of the Census project.

3. Risk management

The risks to the Census project are all too obvious; security, server capacity and performance, track record of the suppliers, change in government priorities, customer expectations and so on.

So why is it that once again, the project was too focused on writing risks down, rather than taking the right actions to stop them becoming issues?

There’s no other profession that underperforms like IT project management does. Billions of dollars worldwide are wasted by organisations every year, yet there’s no commentary about the appalling lack of skills of these people to get the job done well. Why not?

Where is the accountability from the IT and project management governing bodies, admitting that the approaches we use don’t work, rather than repeating the same mistakes over again.

It has to stop, otherwise the next big IT project failure is just around the corner.

 

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