Poor Project Management Is the Number One Problem of Outsourced E-Projects

A recent survey by Cutter Consortium found that the number-one problem with outsourcing a Web-based project is inadequate project management.

"A great number of outsourced Web systems are being deployed, but they aren't the successes they were envisioned to be," says Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant Mike Epner. "For most respondents, schedule delays plagued their e-projects 79 percent of the time and the delivered systems met business needs only 16 percent of the time."

The other top problem areas include:

* Project exceeded budget (63 percent).

* System delivered didn't have required functionality (53 percent).

* Deliverables were of poor quality (52 percent).

Effectively implementing project management fundamentals on Web-based projects is the challenge. The following actions are recommended:

* Ensure that the process set used by the vendor aligns with the acquirer's processes and that the project is planned using the process set that's going to be executed.

* Evaluate the expertise of the vendor, not just its size.

* Execute the project using a documented plan.

* Involve business personnel early and maintain their involvement.

* Perform complete and thorough testing, even when the project is behind schedule.

* Keep the project team intact until the project closes.

"Without careful control of requirements by both the supplier and the acquiring organization," concludes Epner, "iterations can turn into ad hoc development without means to measure progress, manage change, or verify results."