Passing the Buck: the Implementation Blame Game

Over on Software Safari, my colleague Brian Sommer recently blogged about a DM Review article titled "Blame the Vendor for the Project You Screwed Up". The piece offers "ten excuses that are overused in the annals of pointing the finger at botched projects." Being the hands-on, experienced curmudgeon that he can be, Brian was not content to sit still and just review someone else's ideas. Rather, he also offered up his own perspectives on why implementation projects fail. I'll quote some of the more pithy reasons below.

"No one in our firm can make a decision -- the project died from paralysis."

"Everyone in our firm is intractable. No one seems able to put aside some of their 'requirements' for the greater good."

"We're terrible at math and still don't know why 28 half-time workers don't work as effectively as 14 full-time team members."

"Our project sponsor had no political power and the project was canceled the first time an important monetary or policy issue arose."

"We have some users who sabotaged this implementation because they wanted this to fail and hope we'll go back and buy the package they really wanted."

Brian's comments are fascinating food for thought next time you're kicking yourself for that packaged application implementation (eProcurement or otherwise) that is six months late and/or three times over budget. Also, if you're curious about this topic, another excellent blog on the subject worth checking out is Michael Krigsman's Rearranging the Deck Chairs: IT Project Failures.

Jason Busch

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