Remedying Mistakes Early Is Key to Saving Ambitious IT Projects, Find the Edge Expert Says

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Taking action to spot and correct mistakes at the earliest possible stage is crucial to keeping large-scale IT projects on track, Adrian Spink has said in a Find the Edge article published today.

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In my experience, it makes no practical difference whether projects are in the private or the public sectors – things can, and do, go wrong anywhere

The key to success when implementing large-scale IT project is not avoiding mistakes, but taking action to remedy them as quickly as possible - IT infrastructure expert, Adrian Spink, has said in a new Find the Edge article.

He uses the post to analyse why large projects often fail, using the BBC's recent decision to abandon its £100 million Digital Media Initiative as a case study.

While projects that use public money will face increased scrutiny, Spink doesn't believe they are at greater risk failing.

He said: "Like the attempt to centralise health records in the NHS, the BBC’s project was a high-profile plan that came under scrutiny because it was financed from public funds.

"In my experience, it makes no practical difference whether projects are in the private or the public sectors – things can, and do, go wrong anywhere.

"And, with the pace of technology change, projects need to be delivered faster than ever to ensure the solution isn’t obsolete before it’s even gone live."

Despite the failure, Spink believes the BBC should be applauded for attempting an ambitious project, and says a risk of failure has to be accepted.

He does say that steps that can be taken to reduce the chances, however.

He said: "The alarm bells need to start ringing quickly when quality issues start to appear, budgets begin to overrun, and schedules start to slip.

"People become disenchanted, staff turnover increases, and a once-grand design can lose continuity and sense of purpose. If there’s one thing I swear by, it’s that morale is critical among a project team.

"When things start to get blown off course, there are plenty of ways to rescue an IT project. As with so much in life, it’s not about avoiding mistakes – it’s about having the know-how to remedy them – and quickly."

The full article can be read here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/technology/tips/why-do-it-projects-like-the-bbcs-100m-attempt-fail.

Adrian Spink is CEO of Company85, which is an independent technology consultancy. He has almost 25 years' worth of experience running IT infrastructure and security projects. More about him can be found here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/expert-panelist/adrian-spink.

Kenny Goodman, founder of Find the Edge, said: "It's interesting to read Adrian's perspective on the BBC's IT failure, which is wasted a great deal of licence fee payer's money.

"As with any large project there's always a danger that the original vision will be blurred and acting quickly is key to preventing wastage."

Find the Edge is a business website where expert panelists share their knowledge free of charge.

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Kenny Goodman
Find the Edge
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