How to Deliver IT Projects on Time and Budget

Large projects are extremely hard to manage, and the failure rate is very high. Find out what you can do to increase your chances for success.

We all know that large IT projects are often bound to fail or end up eating up enormous resources. And the more ambitious the project, the higher risks. So, what can we do to avoid costly mistakes?

First, we must realize that this is a global challenge. Statistics published by the Standish Group in their annual report reveal the scale of the problem. Less than one third of IT projects are successful. Success in this case means the projects that fully met deadlines, budget and functional requirements.

Nearly a half of all projects (48 percent) are completed, but don’t meet the above requirements and end up being too expensive, drawn-out, or offer less functionality than originally planned. And a frightening 23 percent of projects are abandoned at some point. These figures should be enough of a motivator for anyone to start looking for ways to mitigate risks and increase the chances for success.

A big project is very much like a long and exhausting journey. Remember the race to the South Pole? Amundsen won because he planned carefully, brought the right team and equipment and was an outstanding leader himself. He had no time to wait for help, so he made the best use of his existing resources. This is an extremely valuable skill to learn in business, too.

Here are seven practical tips based on actual business experience to help you deliver projects on time and budget.

1. Place greater focus on clear business requirements

2. Set realistic deadlines

3. Build a solid team

4. Communicate efficiently

Second, establish efficient communication inside your project team. Frequent status meetings are a must. Their goal is not only to learn about the project progress, but also identify problems, deal with conflicts and coach your team. These practices will contribute to a better collaboration. But again, make sure you know where to stop so that meetings don’t turn into waffle. Half an hour to one hour is usually enough, so keep an eye on your watch.

5. Provide great executive support

6. Go agile

7. Keep your finger on the pulse

Success of a large scale project is defined by multiple factors. To ensure that your project is delivered on time and budget, you have to build the process carefully, starting from high-quality business analysis and accurate estimates. Prepare well for your journey by picking a strong team and encourage them to communicate.