Most managers think an IT project follows this sequence:
- Software Acquisition
We have to beat this out of them. OK, we need to educate them. But we need to beat the vendors who reinforce this mindset.
I go ballistic when I am invited (along with a list of others) to attend software demonstrations for the purpose of choosing some new computer system. To accomplish what? Much more time needs to be spent setting goals and criteria for choosing said system (if it is needed at all).
Just as importantly, we fail to spend time putting the plans together before the software is purchased. One can easily spend 6 months planning an average size IT project before the software even arrives. There are processes to re-design, interfaces to spec, conversion extracts to write, training plans to develop. Why start this after the software contract is signed? So the software can sit on the shelf and the vendors can spend our money while we do the prep work?
Every project is going to be different. But a better model is:
- Develop goals, success metrics and required features/functions to achieve the goals
- Software Selection
- Intense, detailed planning