Why do we even have IT projects?

Challenge the assumption that we even need a project.

I read an article on big IT system projects that was a bit disappointing.

The anecdotes of spectacular core system failures are fun, and some of the advice is good (although from an odd and obscure choice of ‘experts’) but the first hiccup was

“…several situations flag that a project is facing issues:

– when requirements and objectives are not clearly spelt out but development starts;”


No. Objectives can be clear early, but requirements should evolve as development uncovers new information.


That wasn’t my biggest issue with the article. Even though it is about why do so many big projects fail, at no point does it discuss the possibility of not doing big projects at all, especially rip-and-replace of core systems.


We must challenge the premise that mega development projects are even necessary. It’s a cop-out. The grand gesture to sweep it all away and start again is actually intellectual laziness. And a high stakes gamble.


We can be smarter about devising incremental ways forward such as the Strangler Pattern, and Agile product-centric development, to preserve agility, maximise resilience, and minimise risk.


(I recommend Mik Kersten book Project to Product or Shane Hastie and Evan Leybourn book NoProjects. Both excellent. I know all three so don’t ask me to make a call 😀)