Terry Dargan

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Conclusion: Backsourcing IT-related services is not a simple exercise. To ensure that there is minimal risk to the business while the IT functions are being brought back in-house, significant management attention will need to be devoted to this activity.


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Conclusion: Lack of involvement of business unit management in IT has been found to be one of the main contributors to the difficulties that can arise in the IT/ business relationship. There are however a number of initiatives that can be instituted, particularly in Applications Development and Project Management, which have been found to have a very positive impact on the relationship.


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Conclusion: Portfolio Management is a process that allows management to prioritise and manage its portfolio of projects. The more progressive organisations within IT are finding that this approach needs to be modified in order to manage the different project types that are associated with competitive edge and strategic advantage business initiatives.


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Conclusion: For an organisation to gain maximum benefit from IT infrastructure being built with new technology there needs to be a corresponding change in the approach to the management of this infrastructure. Infrastructure management needs to move from a “build to order” to a “factory” type approach, where infrastructure services are supplied, as “orders” for these services are received.


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Conclusion: Risk management for IT projects or services that involve suppliers e.g. software and hardware suppliers or system integrators, is a more complex activity than the risk management of a project when there is no supplier involvement. There are not only additional considerations that must be addressed in the risk management process; there are also additional risks that will have been introduced through the involvement of supplier(s) of IT products, services or other resources.


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Conclusion: Weaknesses in the approach to risk management, when applied to IT projects, can lead to poor project outcomes. A holistic approach that encompasses people, structure and organisational culture, as well as tools and process, is needed for the successful management of project risk.


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One of the more difficult IT related decisions that an organisation may have to face, is whether to bring outsourced IT functions back in-house. There are a wide variety of reasons why such a course of action might be contemplated.

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Conclusion: One of the more difficult aspects of the management of projects is the decision making process associated with shutting down troubled projects. There are a range of factors that can influence decision makers and prevent them from making a rational decision to close down a troubled project. These include project related influences, psychological and social factors as well as organisational pressures.


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Conclusion: Successful outsourcing initiatives usually have a number of common characteristics. Using these as a check list in new, or even existing, outsourcing deals can have a positive impact on the success of your outsourcing initiative.


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Conclusion: Discussions with IBRS clients have found that a large proportion of outsourcing contracts are re-negotiated or terminated early. The circumstances in which the exit occurs can affect the willingness of both parties to co-operate and for them to agree on the timing and cost to exit. If termination issues have not been negotiated as part of the original contract, then they will need to be finalised prior to the exit. In this situation an organisation is placed at a significant disadvantage, and there is a risk that lawyers will need to be called in. This is unlikely to lead to a smooth and non-disruptive exit.


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Conclusion: For a project to be judged a success it must not only provide its deliverables on-time and within budget, it must also deliver the benefits that were outlined in its Business Case. These benefits will normally not be achieved unless there is a successful outcome to the process of change. The change may impact the organisation in a variety of ways, for example through changes to business processes, procedures, products or technology.


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Why do many IT projects that are obviously in serious trouble go well past the point where they should have been shutdown? We can all give examples of where money and resources have continued to be invested in such projects, but do we understand the factors that can impact on decision makers and unduly influence what would appear to be the rational decision to close down a troubled project?


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Conclusion: An often reported reason behind failures in complex IT projects has been poor communications between the project team, the decision makers and other parties who were impacted by the project.

To address this project sponsors and project managers should ensure that communication strategies and associated communications plans are developed for all projects that are seen to be complex or have long lifecycles.


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Conclusion: A number of recent high profile IT project failures have involved issues with external suppliers of services. Despite this, the increasing complexity of IT projects and the need to minimise on-going costs of in-house IT resources will necessitate the continued use of external suppliers. The effective management of such suppliers requires project management staff with skills that cover not just project management but also a high level of commercial, contractual, leadership and interpersonal skills.


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