Effective Project Management, ITIL and BSM

Now go back can recall that about 70% of all IT projects fail—that’s all projects, large and small. Consider also that many smaller projects are not formally considered “projects” but are none the less in the mix. Not all IT projects are huge data center migrations, server consolidations, or new VoIP systems. Most IT projects are basic installations, moves, adds, and changes. Most research also proves that 60-to-80 percent of all IT outages are a direct result of a flawed or failed IT change.

Now let’s put the two things together: failed project management and failed change management. Together they result in a sort of perfect storm. This all means that a significant portion of the work going on in your IT organization today is not really productive work at all, but rather rework in response to failures. This suggests a profound lack of effective management in IT.

Let me be clear: about 70% of what you do on a daily basis is rework because of a lack of basic project management skills at all levels of your IT organization. Put another way, could IT budgets be decreased by 70% if rework was eliminated?

One other consideration. What percentage of IT work today involves outsourcing? If the same project failure metrics hold true for outsourcers, then can we assume outsourcing vendors are similarly affected? This would suggest that many companies are spending excessive resources only to transfer responsibility to equally dysfunctional organizations.

Now, try to imagine how much less rework or outsourcing there would be (and corresponding “free” resource for real work there would be) if we applied basic IT project management skills to day-to-day IT operational activities like making changes. Finally, add to this the force multiplier that is the ITIL process. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the light. This is the stuff of real competitive advantage here.

ITIL does not stand-alone. To be successful it must be part of a comprehensive strategic plan. Effective ITIL implementations require a BSM approach, and BSM requires project management.

Hank Marquis is director of IT Service Management Consulting at Enterprise Management Associates based in Boulder, Colo. Marquis has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in IT operations, management, governance and operational frameworks. Visit his blog and podcasts at www.hankmarquis.info.