Banner IT project
|The JC pontificates about technology |
An occasional series.
A fine principle; a forlorn actuality. “Banner” IT Projects thrill middle managers and terrify everyone else. They tend to get described with aspirational adjectives: “Transformational”. “Paradigm-shifting”. “Game-Changing". They are usually accompanied by scores of enthusiastic, powerpoint-toting business analysts.
Measured against their original terms of reference, there is no such thing as a complete or successful banner IT project. Usually they continue in perpetuity and, like chronic fatigue syndrome, you just have to live with them. Occasionally they are (finally) implemented, but even then limp along unsatisfactorily without delivering a tenth of their original promise. A successful banner IT project is simply one that is not so catastrophic that it doesn’t need to be immediately replaced (or worked around using excel spreadsheets, hand-filled forms and a scanner).
The more ambitious an IT project is the more poorly will its accompanying business analysts understand it, the organisation or the basic tenets of human nature needed for it to be a success, and the more it will cost in terms of direct expense (hiring business analysts and IT licence fees) and indirect expense (otherwise useful employees being diverted, distracted, disenfranchised and ultimately eaten by the project).