When an IT project is completed, we always call it a success. We gather round and congratulate ourselves that we have completed the task at hand, large projects might involve a celebration at a restaurant, but most projects end with a whimper of tired exhaustion.
In fact, many projects are never actually successful – they didn’t win, or change the world — they delivered an upgrade, or a new software version. The success comes later when the business makes use of the new tools or capabilities.
But working for a large companies over many years and numbers of large projects, I’ve come to wonder if success is merely “not failing”.
Project scopes means that the smallest possible money is spent to achieve the least acceptable outcome. That is, the scope of the project is defined as the smallest possible work to achieve the goal.The goal is often researched, analysed, and reviewed until it is reduced to as small as it can be. That is, the “least acceptable” goal for the business. The IT project team will then attempt to deliver as little as possible, spend the least amount of money with the least amount of work to achieve that least acceptable goal.
Small wonder, then, that many IT workers are demoralised. By the time an IT project is finished you can’t call it a success, you can really only say it didn’t fail.
Everyday is about delivering the least best solution, for smallest contribution in time and effort, to achieve the minimum amount possible.
Welcome to a world of ITIL processes, PRINCE2 project management and daily mediocrity of the least possible result, for the least amount of money, with least amount of effort.