Are You Ready For A Project Office?

While IT project success rates are on the rise, large-, medium- and small-scale

IT projects still fail at many North American companies. Why that is, and how to fix it are issues that are all the more important in a tough operating environment, with more bottom-line concerns than ever before.

According to the Standish Group of West Yarmouth, MA, IT project time overruns still occur 63% of the time (this figure is down from a staggering 222% in 1994). Cost overruns also have decreased since 1994, from 189% to 45%, but still impact end-user satisfaction in terms of time, cost and features.

Overall, nearly one-quarter (23%) of all projects still fail (meaning that an IT project is cancelled before completion, or it is never implemented), according to a Standish Group study. Further, nearly one-half (49%) of projects are challenged, meaning that the project is completed but is over-budget, exceeds the time estimate, and/or has fewer features and functions than initially specified.

Many of the companies that successfully complete projects are simply using effective project management techniques. Of these, the concept of a “Project Office” is becoming ever more important as business issues and limited resources are increasing the pressure to achieve a measurable ROI.

How a Project Office Works

A project office is a corporate management organization that evaluates, measures and, essentially, “enforces” the performance and interaction of the implementation of IT project processes across a company’s business units. Its objective is to determine who exactly the key players for each project are, what their roles are, and who is responsible for communicating and setting policy vis-