Here are several excerpts from an article by Phil Simon, Three Questions to Ask When Considering Cutting Features from an IT Project:
I am often involved with projects that are running behind schedule and over budget. Such is life of an IT consultant, I suppose. In many instances, projects can recoup valuable time if non-essential features and functionality are removed from the immediate plan and postponed until a later time. This post explores the decision on what can and can’t be cut from IT projects.
Consider the following questions:
- Are executives’ incentives aligned with those of the organization?
- What are the risks and rewards of keeping non-essential functionality to the overall project and the organization itself?
Simon says: Determine in advance which features are essential. If necessary, be prepared to drop non-essential features for the overall good of the project…
1. Are executives’ incentives aligned with those of the organization?
To borrow a phrase from poker, executives sometimes go “all in” with a particular feature, application, module, or system, refusing to ignore signs of peril.
Simon says: From day one, make sure that senior managers’ incentives align with those of the organization.
2. What are the risks and rewards of keeping non-essential functionality to the overall project and the organization itself?
Consider an ambitious CRM project. Everyone would love to have sexy analytics (now that would be a great title for a book) from day one. However, does that functionality come at the risk of not being able to enter new customer sales? The latter is pretty important, even though it’s not what sold senior management on the CRM app in the first place. Those dashboards aren’t worth a red cent if they don’t contain accurate data. Imagine the chaos if basic sales data cannot be obtained? Will fulfillment become an utter nightmare? Will the data become corrupt and impure, requiring a massive data cleanup effort?
Simon says: Remember that there’s always tomorrow. Absent some really compelling business need, ensure that critical functionality is rock solid before chasing next generation functionality.
Most people realize that IT projects are rarely perfect. If behind on a key project, don’t hold out for each and every bell and whistle promised from the beginning. Consider dropping non-essential features for the good of the project and the organization.