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Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!: signs of project failure

Over the weekend I decided to kill a major personal project. Pulling the plug on an IT project at the right time is important–too often it feels like we see bad projects limp along with no one willing to put it out of our collective misery. Bad projects are not just bad for our morale, they waste our time and risk our reputation. So, here are the 12 early warning signs of IT failure:

The top people-related risks:

  1. Lack of top management support
  2. Weak project manager
  3. No stakeholder involvement and/or participation
  4. Weak commitment of project team
  5. Team members lack requisite knowledge and/or skills
  6. Subject … Continue Reading

Tactical Incompetence: Paul Erdos on Skill Development

I’m at a workshop in Princeton on Project Bamboo. I have many notes to share from today’s session, but for now I’ll just repeat a phrase I heard at our table: tactical incompetence. Tactical incompetence is sometimes seen by IT staff when talking with faculty or staff who simply claim they “can’t do” certain things. As a ruse it’s often deployed in the name of gender stereotypes, e.g. the woman who “can’t” change a tire or the man who “can’t” sew on a button. I will claim Paul Erdos to be the … Continue Reading

Dump it on IT; They’ll Take Anything: the Mikey Approach


Today I wasted an hour in a meeting on creating our emergency response center. Yesterday, I wasted an hour in a mass notification system meeting. On Monday, I wasted an hour in a meeting about our new survey software. All of these hours were wasted because the people in charge of these projects did not understand their responsibilities. Each is hoping that IT will just take over the project so he can (a) not do work and (b) blame it on us when it goes awry. Just because we run the systems does not mean we manage the … Continue Reading