homer Having worked with SharePoint for 9 years, I’ve have seen my share of successes and failures. I wanted to write a blog but someone beat me to it, Clever Workarounds posted a blog “Why Do SharePoint Projects Fail”.

So why do projects fail? Here are some points:

  • Organizational readiness – Viewed as a nice to have its low on the food chain and not governed properly in many cases – executives and or new hires with a faulty vision and nobody behind them.
  • Company skillsets – inadequate skills in house – you don’t have people with the skills and aptitude to do the job well.
  • Project culture – There is always time to do it over again but never time to do it right the first time.
  • Information and worker focused solution – SharePoint isn’t a back office tool (like an archive appliance or switch). Its in the users face and if it isn’t designed properly (Information architecture, experience design, content strategy etc…) it will fail.
  • Technical complexity to build and operate – The product touches on networking, security, servers, storage, information architecture, application design/development/testing (SDLC), messaging, forms design etc…etc…
  • Conflicts with other applications and or venders – The product competes incumbent products such as with records and document management systems and if other collaboration tools exist, its viewed as a redundant application or competitor. Also IBM shops such as Banks hate Microsoft and see it competing with Notes and WebSphere.
  • Other points – commitment, turnover, political maneuvering, denial etc…recurred throughout the cases … Themes such as problem avoidance, especially human problems, organizational rigidity, fear and political power are major frames of reference for further research.

Most organizations I deal with are looking for a magic bullet. Specifically, they believe an architecture and or roadmap (Plan) will solve the problem but as one of my clients in New York said “I have plenty of architecture documents on the shelf that did nothing for me”. Why, the organization had not bought in to the plan? They didn’t have the resources to execute? They didn’t have senior enough sponsorship? Ignorant management? Feuds within the organization? Week information management strategy? I could go on and on.

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