FREE IT Project Health Check

Posted by Kevin Brady on Mon 18th September 2006 at 05:19 AM, Filed in Free Check Lists

FREE IT Project Health Check – Click here to download Zipped File

On a recent trip to see a client, I was browsing through my laptop hard drive when I cam across one of the more reliable project failure surveys, published by the Standish Group and entitled CHAOS.

Health Checks can sometimes be a real eye opener!

The key issue I noticed with this survey and others of the same ilk is the fact that the survey is only as good as the survey team responsilbe for its design. The survey designers “have to know what they don’t know to ask the right questions”. This means, to get the most out of such a survey, you really need experienced project managers on the team, responsible for compiling and designing the survey questions.

In an attempt to redress this issue I decided to combine the CHAOS list of reasons for IT project failure with my own findings from some 50+ IT project /programme audits. I then plugged this combined list into a Macro Driven spreadsheet, where all you had to do is answer specific questions and you get an automatically generated confidence rating on a given project’s chances of success.

Project Management confidence ratings are becoming more and more common as part of a well put together Project Initiation Document PID (please see my FREE PID Template). Such “Project Confidence Ratings” are often shown as a percentage, ranging from 0 to 100. Normally, the rating given by the Project Manager is supported by a detailed explanation of the risk /issue and assumption profile of the project.

From experience, well reasoned confidence ratings of less than 75% mean that the project in question is 95% likely to fail and become part of the following statistics.

  • One of the 40% of IT projects cancelled prior to being delivered.
  • Or one of the 30% of projects which materially fail to achieve targeted delivery dates, projected budgetary constraints, or the expected scope and quality originally specified in the original business case.

Unless a confidence rating is above 75%, I would always recommend to stakeholders to either close the project down and save money or improve the risk /issue /assumption profile of the project before investing further time and effort.

The attached downloadable spreadsheet makes the calculation of this confidence rating quick and easy. If this quickie health check produces a confidence rating of less than 75% before even reviewing your projects specific risk /issue and assumption profile, you know that as a minimum you have got to have an immediate talk to the project sponsor before you do anything else.


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