Poor Project Management Behind Uncontrolled Cost of IT Projects

Poor management and planning is causing the size, scope and cost of IT projects to get out of control and expand way out of their scope definition.
According to a survey by recruitment specialist Robert Half, 76 percent of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in Singapore are concerned about scope creep in their jobs.  Scope creep refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in project scopes, resulting in both the time and cost needed to complete the project spiralling out of control.
"IT projects can exceed estimates on time and resources required for a number of reasons, including poor budgeting of resources, people issues and sometimes management demands," said Steve McGowan, Division Director of Robert Half Technology in Singapore. "When projects fail, how a company deals with the issues can vary. However, the important thing is to correct the failure and get the project back on track rather than to apportion blame." 
Globally, the percentage of CTOs and CIOs concerned by scope creep is also high at 76 percent, with Hong Kong recording the highest level of concern at 82 percent.
More than half (52 percent) of respondents in Singapore cited poor project management as the biggest cause of scope creep.  By contrast, only 24 percent of Hong Kong IT professionals attributed the uncontrolled growth in their projects to poor project management.
Staff continuity (44 percent) and the changing regulatory environment (38 percent) are other prominent causes of scope creep in Singapore.
According to the survey, the IT or Technology function most prone to scope creep is the development of applications (44 percent), followed by system upgrades and deployments (40 percent), e-commerce (34 percent) and website development (30 percent).
To better manage expectations, project managers have to make sure they plan realistic goals, resources and timeline to set their project and team up for success, says McGowan.
"More importantly, they should keep an open line of communication with their management, get their buy-in and inform them of schedules and delivery. If changes to the scope are requested, management should be advised on the resulting impact on the project and approve the changes."
McGowan advises CIOs to set realistic deadlines and not just deadlines management want to hear. 
"Have everyone involved right from the schedule development stage and exercise discipline to ensure objectives and deadlines are communicated and met. It is critical for all parties to be involved from the start to finish so that each takes ownership of their own areas of responsibilities. Project management software, when properly utilised, can also help managers to keep projects on track." 
Networks Asia is a sister publication of CFO Innovation Asia.

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