Andrew Brooke, on A Tech Writer’s World, points to an important article about why 68% of Information Systems projects fail.
Here is the most important line in this article: “…failure, in most cases, has little to do with the technology and everything to do with the business process.”
Specifically, the three main causes of IT project failure are:
- the project manager failing to understand the business requirements
- the system’s users not being involved in its design
- senior management failing to get involved in the project
This is true of any IT project, including any documentation or content management system.
I attended the STC executive council meeting last night. We ripped though a substantial agenda in record time. The last item was the best: Vivian Aschwanden has volunteered to be the project management resource for us as we develop a new programme model for the year. The new model is described in the slides from the STC Toronto Annual General Meeting (PDF) last June.
In previous years, we had a Programme Manager who organized speakers and events ten months of the year in a single location on the same night of the month. He or she had suggestions from others, but in the end the burden weighed heavily on that one person.
This year, Bernard Aschwanden and Rob Hanna presented a new model: several themed events, organized by different people, in different parts of the city and on different days. Other meetings would be shorter, free, and less formal to provide networking opportunities.
The executive liked the idea and we hammered out the themes, times of year, and a sketch of the content for each event. Different executive members volunteered to guide one event each. Milan Davidovic ended up both running the Technical Trends event and managing the Technical Publications Competition.
We’ve had one event so far, a Career Day at Seneca@York University, which was popular and well received.
Vivian, a budding project manager, will guide the event managers to plan their events without having to re-invent the wheel. It will help to ensure that the events succeed and collect group wisdom for doing it all again next year. We might even publish our methods to the STC at large. That’s such a wonderful idea it just made me feel good all over.
There’s one freely available Intercom article in each online issue. This time it’s “When good projects go bad” by Meryl Natchez. The subtitle is, “Learn to address problems as soon as they arise” (PDF).