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ITSM Tool Adoption: Pass or Fail?

Many ITSM tool implementation projects fail to deliver, writes ITSM Watch columnist Hank Marquis.
Sep 18, 2008
By

Hank Marquis





CMDB debacles have become legendary, with many monitoring implementations close behind. With the new buzz around Service Catalog, can failure here be far behind? The sad truth is that most IT projects fail, but there is something you can do about it.

By now you must know that due to high failures and high cost some 30% of IT projects are cancelled outright. Research shows that of those that complete at all, 51% exceed budget by 189% and deliver only 74% functionality. This means that just around 19% of IT projects complete on time, within budget and with the features promised.

Here is the kicker to us ITSM folks – adopting IT service management practices and new ITSM software tools are also projects! And yes, research shows about the same dismal success rates for our BSM, ITSM, ITIL and tool initiatives as well.

The waste from failed IT projects is staggering and comes in at around $75 billion annually – mainly due to poor performance drivers, undisciplined project management and poor communication between IT and the business and within IT. Is there any wonder why the business is so hesitant to green light our pet IT projects? This also explains why more and more businesses are looking to project management as a means to manage IT.

The issue is that most IT managers are only vaguely aware of formal project management; it is an entire body of knowledge and skills, by the way. Many within IT usually hold project management and project managers in contempt, sometimes for good reasons. Most IT managers only come into contact with project management when the Project Management Office that “does project management to IT” shows up.

So, what is going on here? Can’t we learn what to do from those IT projects that succeed and what not to do from those IT projects that fail? Can’t we in IT learn how be successful? The answer is yes, and it is also pretty easy too.

Following is a simple tool anyone can use to help determine your chances of success or failure. While this is an “unofficial” assessment and of course incomplete, it will do the job 80% of the time and at significantly less cost than hiring a consultant to boot.

Pass or Fail?

Print this little worksheet. It has two lists of items titled “A” and “B”. Each item is worth one point. Check each situation in each column that you feel to be true for your current ITIL tool or process implementation. Check any item in “A” you also don’t quite understand and uncheck any item in “B” you don’t understand as well. Then, add up the points for both columns to see if your current IT-project (and perhaps ITIL implementation) is likely to succeed or fail.


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