Debacle Prevention

Here’s a daunting question: 

Why do most technology projects end up as complete debacles?

It never starts out that way. A highly qualified expert firm or consultant is brought in. Staff and leadership get seated around the table. Budgets are allocated. Optimistic kickoff meetings are held, with reassuring powerpoints and timeline charts. Months of meetings are scheduled. Projects are managed.

Yet somehow, reliably, the result is disappointing if not disastrous. And it’s usually a catastrophic waste of time and money. Whether it’s an outright debacle or a mishmash of partial victories, it’s a tragic missed opportunity to harness the game-changing potential that was envisioned in the first place. 

This just isn’t right. You’re doing mission-oriented, heroic work. Technology should be supercharging you, not pulling you backwards.

So how can this be prevented? 

The answer is simple but profound. It’s about consistent, detailed, strategic ownership and leadership, inside the organization’s walls. That is the business of debacle prevention. 

And what does ownership really mean? It means someone who is paying attention to every single detail. Who is constantly making strategic and tactical adjustments. Who is seeing the project through from all angles, all day, every day. 

It means having access to, communication with, and mutual respect from leadership and staff around the organization. It means knowing what to outsource and what to insource. It means constantly prioritizing and re-prioritizing based on the most updated landscape. It’s knowing which deadlines are real, and when it makes sense to extend timeline or cost restrictions in exchange for a game-saving fix or a game-changing upgrade.

That kind of internal ownership and leadership is the real gamechanger. You can have the best external consultants in the world, and they won’t deliver on your project’s potential if no one at your organization is playing close, daily attention. How could an external firm ever possibly fill that role? 

You, as an organization, must have or develop people -- thoughtful, skillful people -- who are empowered to understand and guide the direction of development, and whose role it is to guide these processes persistently and patiently until they are completely landed. With massive amounts of flexibility, humility, and caring. 

It’s a serious endeavor and there’s no quick fix, but it is most certainly possible. It takes time, money, care, and a steadfast commitment to an entirely new way of doing things. One that refuses to accept further debacles as a given, or even an option.

The Curriculum