New York-to-Paris automobile race: [Automobile stuck in snow]

CRM Implementation Woes: How to Make It Work

E. Forrest Christian Change, Reviews - Articles Leave a Comment

McKinsey Consulting came out with a CRM article the same week I read Mark Van Clieaf’s comments about how to succeed at CRM — he says to run it through Marketing before, during and after implementation. McKinsey’s piece (Anupam Agarwal, David P. Harding, and Jeffrey R. Schumacher, “Organizing for CRM“, McKinsey Quarterly) has some very amusing things to say: In …

Mountains near Château-d'Oex. (c) E. Forrest Christian

Project Portfolios Require High-Level Capability

E. Forrest Christian Organizations, Project Management, Risk Management Leave a Comment

In Waltzing With Bears, Lister and DeMarco describe the benefits of running IT projects within a portfolio. Not every one of them would have to succeed: you could take on several very high-risk (but high-payoff) projects and balance it with several low risk / low payoff projects. Having low-risk/high pay-off projects would be great, but most of the time those …

The April 12 launch at Pad 39A of STS-1, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission (STS-1. 1981). NASA

You Need All Levels of People For Success

E. Forrest Christian Project Management 3 Comments

People who can see the whole complexity of the project “need to be paired with people that can deal with the details at other levels,” says Jack Vinson. Absolutely. Looking back on what I have written, I haven’t made that entirely clear. Everyone is important and necessary for the group to succeed. We need each other, each of us working …

Stack of golden George Washington dollar coins,. (c) 2007 Bill Koslosky, MD (CC BY 2.5)

Simplifying Project Costing & Staffing with Requisite Organization’s Time Span of Discretion

E. Forrest Christian Computers/IT, Project Management 2 Comments

I don’t think that I am going out on a limb when I say that short time horizons of project managers, sponsors and planners is the leading cause to the disastrous failure rate of IT projects… As Michelle says, “you want a consultant whose current capability at least equals that called for by the entire project, not just the time span of the planning phase.””

Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

The Abilene Paradox of Escalation of Commitment: How We Can All Agree To Go Over the Cliff

E. Forrest Christian Project Management 6 Comments

When a project starts heading south, you would think that the rats would start abandoning the ship and the sponsor would quickly pull the plug to minimize losses. But that’s not what happens. Sponsors’ commitment to projects going bad actually seems to grow. The literature is littered with examples of sponsors continuing to spend money on a project that is …

Leaving Yongsan Station. (c) Danleo (CC BY 2.5). Via Wikimedia Commons.

De-escalation of Commitment to Projects

E. Forrest Christian Organizations, Project Management, Reviews - Articles, Risk Management Leave a Comment

There is a large body of work dealing with the escalation of commitment in IT projects, how managers continue to throw good money after bad, increasing their commitment to a project that has little chance of succeeding. For example, Gustavo Dimello has an interesting summary (“To Pull or Not To Pull the Plug: When Managers Commit Themselves to Failure”) of …

The April 12 launch at Pad 39A of STS-1, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission (STS-1. 1981). NASA

Succeeding at Software Projects

E. Forrest Christian Computers/IT, Project Management Leave a Comment

Software projects are almost always late and underdone. Most executives take it for granted nowadays that developers will turn in something other than what was requested for more than was announced. They even admit that this is one of the biggest reasons that they outsource, because the contracts with outsourcers force the organization to develop software in a rational way. …