Half of IT budgets late and over budget

30 Apr 2008

Half of all Irish IT projects are not delivered on time or on budget, according to new research from Clarion Consulting.

Some 40pc of respondents to the survey rated their own project management capabilities as either satisfactory or poor. The survey polled large Irish public and private sector organisations during January and February of this year.

While the survey revealed that companies are still struggling with ICT project delivery, one positive sign is that 75pc of companies now have a defined project management methodology in place, up from 60pc in early 2007.

“Challenges remain and centre on a lack of consistency in applying defined project management principles,” said Pat Millar, managing director, Clarion Consulting. “While three quarters of those questioned are using structured frameworks to manage projects and over half are using the Project Management Office to control this function, there is a failure to consistently apply the principles of the discipline across the entire project lifecycle.

“Important factors such as risk management, change management, budget tracking and project reporting are not always incorporated into the process,” he added. “Until these inconsistencies are addressed, companies are leaving themselves exposed to severe budget overruns and missed business opportunities.”

Some 69pc of companies use a combination of in-house and contract staff when delivering projects. The nature of projects, with a defined beginning and end, lends itself well to using contract staff and the survey revealed that they are used to provide both extra capacity and specialist expertise in 68pc of cases.

Some 54pc of companies now have a dedicated department managing the project function, up from the 2007 figure of 46pc.

The concept of Project Portfolio Management (PPM), which groups projects into portfolios, much as an investor would manage stocks and shares, is gaining ground with 21pc of respondents saying they are now using PPM tools, an increase of 9pc over the previous year.

“We encourage all organisations to invest in project management expertise,” said Millar. “Building a pathway towards greater project management maturity takes time but with executive support and a willingness to change, cost overruns and missed business opportunities can become a thing of the past.”

By Niall Byrne