Take Control of Rogue IT Projects to Minimize Risk and Maximize Reward
Do you find yourself taking the blame for technology
projects over which you had no control?
It's an all too common occurrence. For varied reasons,
end-users sometimes go around proper project "channels" to select,
fund, plan and execute their own technology projects. From a
management point of view, this creates a "rogue" project, formed
outside the operational and management boundaries established by
best practices and the strategic management vision.
Rogue projects must be addressed in order to minimize the risks
involved. Read on to learn how.
Rogue Projects: Risks and Rewards
Rogue technology projects are typically
conceived and executed outside established IT management channels. At
times, these rogue projects can be organizationally self-defeating.
Centralized IT project operations are established for a reason, i.e.
to control project selection and promote global technology strategies,
maximizing technical compatibility, minimizing redundancies, leveraging
specialized skills, lowering costs, and (hopefully) improving results. What are the primary
risks of a rogue project?
- Rogue projects can increase the overall number of projects undertaken
and executed. This causes costs to go up and increases overall project
- Rogue projects cannot be managed as a "project portfolio" and
as such, they can be redundant, and more difficult to track for
value, return on investment and lessons learned.
- Rogue projects may not be completed according to standardized
project management and/or technology "best practices", leading to
higher costs, greater risks and lost productivity.
- Rogue projects can produce incompatible deliverables, leading
to conflicts and issues with technical interoperability, scalability,
capacity, integration and security.
- Rogue projects may not be
properly aligned with strategic IT
- Rogue projects may increase "total cost of ownership" for resulting
technology deliverables, increasing support costs and complicating
- Once completed, rogue projects might have to be re-done to conform
to technical or organizational standards, increasing costs and wasting
"A picture speaks louder than 1,000 words". Get an
illustrated view of the project review and lessons learned process
in our informative infographic
Lessons Learned: The Road
to Continuous Improvement.
Do you have a “rogue project problem”?
The questions laid out below are provided for investigative analysis,
to get handle on the "rogue project" problem, help you evaluate “rogue
project” results, and identify the "type" of projects that might be
best suited to centralized management.
- How many rogue projects have been initiated in your organization?
- Of the total number of rogue projects, how many have been completed?
- Of the total number of completed rogue projects, how many can
be considered successes or failures?
- Of the total number of rogue projects, how many were abandoned?
- What are the costs associated with these various categories
of rogue projects (completed and successful, completed and failures,
- Are there any common characteristics to be found amongst these
rogue projects according to the aforementioned categories?
- Of the total number of rogue projects, how many had to be re-done,
and what were the total associated costs?
All this begs the ultimate question - "If you have a
rogue project problem, what is
causing your end-users to work around established
standards to plan and execute
their own 'IT' projects?"...
- Service Dissatisfaction: End-users work around IT
because they are generally dissatisfied with the project services provided.
Dissatisfaction can be caused by any number of factors, including poor
quality, lack of communication, failure to complete projects on time,
project backlog, failed deliverables, etc.
- Bureaucracy Overload: End-users work around IT to
avoid the so-called bureaucratic "overhead" associated with IT sponsored
projects. Bureaucratic overhead might include forms, approvals and oversight
requirements. In addition, end-users might not want to "wait in line"
to have their projects completed.
- Corporate Culture: End-users work around IT as a
part of the prevailing corporate culture, such as an inherent resistance
to external control, or the desire to "just do it yourself".
- Lack of Effective Communication: End-users work
around IT because they are generally unaware of project procedures,
and do not understand the benefits of the centralized project approach.
- Insufficient Management Sponsorship: End-users work
around IT because company management does not promote or support centralized
technology projects. In fact, company management may even promote "rogue
projects" through a "just get it done, I don't care how" attitude, or
through an apparent disinterest in technology projects.
Once you have obtained a solid grasp on both the scope and underlying
cause of your "rogue project problem", you will be better positioned
to engage workable management strategies. These strategies can encompass
total elimination (which may be impossible) to total acceptance (which
may be unwise). In all likelihood, the most workable solutions will
lie somewhere in the middle. To eliminate rogue projects in entirety,
you must be able to rely on the following factors:
- You must have strong, tangible and visible management support.
- You must have the authority and capability to enforce the ban
on rogue projects.
- You must have sufficient resources (staffing, funding, and time)
to deliver on an expanding workload.
If these variables cannot be met, then a more practical approach
is warranted. The key to this approach is mitigation - to minimize the
negative impact of rogue projects through coordination, communication
and procedural standards:
- Set organizational standards to guide all technology related
projects, to be applied whether projects are completed by the IT
organization or individual business units.
- Set project thresholds, allowing smaller, less strategic, less
costly projects be completed in a de-centralized fashion, while
larger, riskier and more strategic projects will be completed (or
at least supervised) by the centralized IT organization.
(Also Read: Starting Concepts for
The Project Committee Planner and Template Kit
The Project Committee Planner and Template Kit
provides time-saving steps and customizable templates to organize,
operate and evaluate all types of project committees.
Available for instant
About Us: We're Right Track Associates, proprietors and publishers of
multiple web sites including ITtoolkit.com,
Fast Track Manage,
HOA Board List and more. We started ITtoolkit.com in 2001
and have continued to grow our web site portfolio, Toolkit products, and related data services.
To learn more, start with our home page.
IT'S TIME FOR THE I.T. SERVICE STRATEGY TOOLKIT
Are you ready to lead your I.T. department to become more valued, relevant and responsive? If so, then you need the IT Service Strategy Toolkit
from ITtoolkit.com! The Toolkit teaches you how to "add value" to IT projects and services
-- using our time-saving "service strategy process". It's ready for instant download, filled with 400+ pages
of steps, guidelines, practices and templates.
Find Out More
Popular Article Categories
You can find our most popular blog articles at the links below, organized
by subject matter.