It's true that the Process Hall of Shame, which opened its doors just a year ago, has been closed for a while.
I faltered. I was worried that I might identify an organization and cause embarrassment (not to mention litigation!). And there seemed to be others far more expert than me writing on project failures. And frankly we're all suffering a bit from failure fatigue. There are just so many examples where a failure to communicate effectively leads to project failures, cancellations and over-runs.
I'm inspired though to push open the creaking door, brush the cobwebs off the candelabras - and announce the grand re-opening of the Process Hall of Shame.
Inspired by two things. Firstly by Adam Deane's brilliant description of FDBPM, the 'new mainstream' implementation methodology for process projects. 'Faith-Driven BPM' would be hilarious if it wasn't so on the money.
And then by hearing of a project which almost defies belief.
I hesitate to tell this story because I have some dear friends working in IT who will wince at this. But it's true, and genuinely surprising because it's a throw-back to twentieth century thinking - in an organization large enough that it really ought to know better.
I have to be careful in disguising this, so I'm not not even going to reveal on which continent this little drama is taking place...
This is an organization that is planning to go live shortly with a major SAP implementation that will transform its business. Except that it's totally being driven by IT. It's a software implementation, a technical project.
So some of the details have been overlooked: like what exactly are the end-to-end processes and the business requirements; what are the potential improvements that this project could enable; how the transition will be made between the existing processes and the new processes; and how the operational people will use the new SAP capability in practice. Admin details, really, you can see how they might easily get neglected in the excitement of the software...
We have been called in at the eleventh hour by business people aghast at the train wreck they can see about to happen. They can see only one connection between IT's new SAP system and what their people actually do: the desperate calls that their people will be making to the IT Helpdesk when it goes 'live'.
But what takes the biscuit - and prompts me to throw open the doors of the Process Hall of Shame once more - is the resentful attitude of the IT folks involved, who are, you'll never guess, totally invested in one of the technical BPA tools and see no need to change.
One of my colleagues was harangued last week by one of the client's IT team, who was keen to point out that Nimbus Control was inappropriate because it isn't designed for data modelling. No, it's designed to enable effective collaboration, right across the business, on operational excellence and continuous improvement. Oh, and to support people in doing real work more efficiently, which might arguably be this organization's bigger priority right now. [And anyway it integrates with SAP Solution Manager, so the IT perspective is well covered.]
Let's have a bit of hush please, ladies and gentlemen, so we can hear the drum roll - and then put your hands together please to welcome this new entrant to the Process Hall of Shame - Ta Dah!
18 Jan 2010 Michael Krigsman on IT Project Failure