Opinion Article

70% of IT projects fail: what to do not to integrate this statistic


Rodrigo Costa, Scrum & Change Manager at Adentis, signed the article “70% of IT projects fail: what to do not to integrate this statistic?” published in Exame Informática magazine number 317 for November 2021 and online. To read from next. According to news released in recent months, Portugal continues to be one of the main destinations for technology companies, being this one of the segments of the economy that has been growing the most. This would be excellent information for everyone; however, sectoral statistics indicate that 70% of projects in this area fail. This is a high number, but if 70% sounds alarmist to you, it is possible to have a more “optimistic” perspective when considering that, among the most mature companies in Europe, 30% of their projects do not reach the objectives, 43% exceed the budgeted costs. and 50% are delivered late. If there's a villain in this story it's called VUCA, an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiquity. VUCA describes a scenario in which: i) there is little clarity about the information; ii) where the variety and complexity of the factors involved makes decision making difficult; iii) uncertainty is inherent to the ability to predict future scenarios and make decisions and iv) volatility is the instability of scenarios and the speed of change. Faced with the VUCA, it is easy to see how the planning has little capacity to respond to each of these characteristics. Well… if planning tends to be ineffective and responsive to deal with VUCA, which impacts projects so heavily, what answer can we give to this tragic statistic? Rely on luck or embrace change management. You are probably asking yourself: what is this change management? Change management is a structured approach to dealing with VUCA. When planning fails in the face of unpredictability, change management offers the ability to react and recover. And now your next question should be something like: what makes change management different from other project management initiatives? Excellent question. I'm glad you asked! There are several tools and approaches to change management, but they all have in common a focus on two of the most critical factors for project success: communication and people. Projects, innovation and – to the astonishment of many – also technology are made by people, with people and for people. Good planning only becomes good execution through the action of people. Therefore, it is necessary that the people involved in the projects are supported throughout the uncertainties, ambiguities and volatilities of the project. And, as we are talking about people, we are invariably talking about perceptions, divergences, expectations and alignment needs, that is, we are talking about communication. The first step to not being part of this tragic failure statistic is to start considering communication and people as priorities in your projects. Even better is to integrate change management into your planning and processes. I hope your company is taking advantage of this wave of growth and expansion of technology and services in Portugal and, above all, I hope that you can bring change management into your reality and thus contribute to the number of successful projects!

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