Terry Dargan

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Conclusion: A frequently reported cause of IT project failure is a lack of senior management ownership and leadership.1 This often first manifests itself in problems in the deliberations of the project’s steering committee. Measures that can reduce the likelihood of such problems occurring include the selection of committee members who meet the criteria given in this paper and the use of a Kick Off session to gain agreement on roles and expectations of both the committee members and the project manager.


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Conclusion: Despite the increasing trend to multi sourcing of IT services there are still occasions where sole sourcing is more appropriate for an organisation. Often this can involve direct negotiations with a single service provider without the use of a competitive bid. In such situations the buying organisation needs to develop an engagement strategy that ensures there is sufficient executive management involvement and competitive tension in the negotiations such that its sole sourcing objectives are achieved. 


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Conclusion: Re-negotiation is often the preferred option when restructuring of an outsourcing agreement is being considered. If well managed, the benefits of such an exercise can be positive for both the client organisation and the service provider. However, considerable preparatory planning needs to be done and suitably experienced client resources must be assigned to the exercise if the client organisation is to achieve its objectives.


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Conclusion: One widely used mechanism for identifying project issues and assessing the overall status of projects is the concept of the project Health Check. The concept of an independent review, generally of high risk projects, has proven useful in providing guidance to management as to where corrective action needs to be applied in order to improve the prospects of project success. 


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Conclusion: The application of a project management methodology to an organisation’s project work can be the cornerstone for consistent project success. It can assist, among other things, in allocating resources, managing the project schedule and controlling project costs. Most importantly it provides a consistent approach to managing projects across the organisation so that project personnel don’t waste time learning multiple approaches to the management of projects and executive management only have to deal with one approach to project governance and reporting. 


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Conclusion: Public sector IT projects can often have a range of characteristics different to their counterparts in the private sector. These can lead to project failure if the issues relating to them they are not appropriately addressed. The adoption of the following set of best practice principles can significant reduce the risk of project failure.


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Conclusion: Public sector IT projects have been found to have similar rates of failure to their counterparts in the private sector, however they also have a number of characteristics that are different to private sector projects. Project related issues that arise from these characteristics have been found to be the drivers for the majority of public sector project failures.


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Conclusion: When outsourcing arrangements fail it is tempting to blame the service provider for the failure. Reasons put forward include overselling by the service provider’s sales group, inadequate service provider resources allocated to the client or problems with service provider management. In our experience, an analysis of the situation often finds the reasons for the failure are rarely one-sided.


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Conclusion: Outsourcing of IT services is increasingly used as a strategic initiative to support the achievement of business strategies for organisations. As a result the contract agreement between the organisation and the service provider has become even more important as it provides the foundation, and sets the boundaries, for the outsourcing. Negotiations associated with the development of the agreement also provide the first opportunity for the organisation and the service provider to develop an effective working relationship.


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Conclusion: As a result of dissatisfaction with their initial outsourcing arrangement, some organisations have decided to move their IT services back in-house or to adopt a selective sourcing approach. Others have rethought their approach to outsourcing and have moved to an outsourcing model that is more flexible and more closely aligned to business goals and strategies. This has necessitated a different approach to the outsourcing relationship, an even greater emphasis on governance, and a more open approach to the relationship between the client organisation and the service provider.


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Conclusion: The often expressed dissatisfaction with outsourcing has lead many organisations to consider backsourcing their outsourced IT services. This is often done without due consideration being given to another option i.e. selectively sourcing IT services. When this option is considered many organisations have found it to be a more attractive option than backsourcing, with significant benefits and less of the complications associated with bringing IT back in-house.


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How often have we seen it in recent years? IT Management journals with articles about the need for CIO’s to get closer to the business. In many cases it is suggested that in order to add value to the business, the CIO should become involved in the development of business strategies and to put forward proposals for the use of technology to support the implementation of these strategies.

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Conclusion: One of the main requirements for achieving a successful outcome to any outsourcing agreement is an effective governance arrangement between the client organisation and the service provider. This can be one of the more difficult aspects of any outsourcing agreement as it needs to be set up to ensure that it addresses the priority areas in a manner that will also allow for an effective on-going relationship between the two parties. In addition, there must be continuing management involvement in the process over the life of the agreement so that it remains an important part of the outsourcing initiative. 


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Conclusion: Many organisations have IT steering committees that are considered to be ineffective due to a combination of poorly defined committee charters and ineffective leadership. Restructuring of the committees and resourcing them with appropriately skilled business executives can result in IT Steering Committees that add significant strategic value to their organisations e.g. by prioritising IT projects based on business need and risk.


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