Saturday, November 27, 2010

ENMS Projects

I have been looking over why a significant number of enterprise management implementations fail. And not only do they fail in implementation, they continue to live in a failed state year over year. Someone once said that 90% or greater of all enterprise management implementations fail.

I cannot help but to think that part of this may be something to do with big projects and evolution during implementation.

Another consideration I have seen is that lower level managers tend to manage to the green and are afraid of having to defend issues in their department or their products. When they manage to the Green, management above them loses awareness of how things are really working beneath them in the infrastructure.

One article I really liked was by Frank Hayes called "Big Projects, Done Small" in a recent Computerworld issue. Here is the link to it. I like his way of thinking in that big projects need to be sliced and diced into smaller pieces in order to facilitate success more readily.

Those of us in technical roles tend to operate and function in a 90 days are less role. We know from experience that if you have a project exceed 90 days, the "Dodge Syndrome" will rear its ugly head. (The rules have changed!) In all actuality, requirements tend to change and evolve around an implementation if the implementation takes over 90 days.

The second part you realize is that in projects that need to span over 90 days, mid-level Managers tend to get nervous and lose faith on the project. Once this happens, you start seeing the Manager retract support and resources for the project. The representatives don't show up to meetings.

But Tier 1 managers like the big, high cost projects as it is a way of keeping score. They like the big price tag and they like the enormous scope of global projects.

It is the job of Architects to align projects into more manageable, chunks for implementation and integration. They need to know and plan the budget for these projects so that you get what needs to be done, in the proper sequence, with the proper hooks, and with the proper resources. If this is done by Project Managers, Contractors, or Development staff, you risk the project becoming tactical in nature and lose sight of strategic goals.

When a project becomes tactical, the tasks become a cut list that has to happen every week. When something changes or impacts the schedule, tactical decisions are made to recover. For example, a decision to modify a configuration may be made today that kills or hampers an integration that needs to be done in a few months. These tactical decisions may save some time and resources today but yield a much larger need later on.

It is the equivalent to painting yourself in a corner.

Here in lies the situations that are oh so common:

1) Tier 1 Management wants to show the shareholders and Board of Directors that they are leading the company in a new direction.

2) Mid-level tiers of management can chose to use this project to promote their own enpires if possible.

3) Mid-Level managers can chose just to accept the big project and support it as needed.

4) Architects need to be keenly aware and on top of the project as a whole. They need to set, establish, and control direction.

5) End users need to be empowered to use the product to solve problems and work with Architecture to get their requirements in.


A big project can be accomplished and can succeed. But the strategic direction needs to be set with a vision for both tactical and strategic goals alignment. Things need to be broken up by goals and objectives and costed accordingly. Simplify - simplify - simplify.

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