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How to Diminish Project Failures
By Hans Bool

Is it still true and accepted that one Internet Year equals four normal years? When planning and running a project, the outside developments continue in a high pace.

Projects are a means to implement a change. A project will automatically stress attention to the subject which will help to implement the change because the attention will increase the overall commitment. Also, the structure of a project will help to manage different kind of resources that are otherwise distributed; for example the availability of the knowledge that is needed.

A project however divides the organization in two parts – one part that continuous to manage operational activities and the project organization that handle all those activities that address future requirements. These requirements are planned in the project and they are also developed.

An operational organization will change it focus during the same operation, but this is a very gradual shift. Clients buying patterns will show slight alterations and new marketing and business intelligence information will require new actions. This is a constant movement into a certain direction with the liberty of the management of the operation. It is however also a shift that is nearly invisible at one moment, but the longer it takes the more apparent will the change be.

The longer a project is committed to a certain development for this operational organization, the more risk will be involved that both requirements will not match. During the life cycle of a project the environment (clients’ preferences and market structures) will alter. Just check with your own agenda what has happened in one years’ time. Internet developments tend to go even faster. New solutions pop up every day and all these are real threats for a project that has come from far, but needs all the attention to finish the hard part and is not helped with outside influences that might break the concentration.

Therefore if you choose the construct a project to implement a change, make sure its duration is less than one year. A maximum of nine months would be better. Coordination between line and project, between current operation and future demands is something that needs continuous adjustments. Long term projects endanger this process. Time-boxing would be one way of addressing this.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days.
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