BPM from a Business Point of View

Scott Cleveland

Large project failures

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We have all heard stories about enterprise projects gone bad. An excerpt from a recent IDG News Service  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 $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?

2 Comments

Scott

Your three reasons are bang on and BPM projects are no exception. Reason #2 resonates the most with me.

Before implementation, clients should thoroughly look at their processes by going through a structured process discovery.

Today's business process discovery tools along with qualified coaches enable this process to take place in an efficient manner and not only helps to document processes, but also to gain consensus on standard operating procedures in what we call an Intelligent Operations Manual.

"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."

Good point. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to do everything at once. It can be too much for your team to handle all at once and can overwhelm your employees with so many changes.

Scott Cleveland blogs about BPM from a business point of view.

Scott Cleveland

Scott Cleveland is a technical, innovative and creative marketing manager with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, marketing management, sales, sales management and business process consulting aimed at high-tech companies. His areas of expertise include: product marketing, solutions marketing, solution selling, sales maangement, business process management, business process improvement and process optimization. Reach him at RScottCleveland[at]gmail.com.

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