When You Sign Up For A $35M Project, Don't You Usually Have Someone Manage It?

from the just-wondering dept

theodp writes “As Wall Street celebrates Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft, ComputerWorld reports that PeopleSoft apps are vexing North Dakota colleges. Described as ‘a train wreck’ by an NDUS director, the financials software has reportedly transformed a task that once took minutes into one that now can take weeks. Originally pegged to cost $35M, the still-incomplete implementation has cost the state an estimated $49M.” This isn’t the first (nor last) time we’ve heard of similar cases. Two years ago it was the new government computing system that took 15 steps to save a document and made people cry. Not too many details are given — but like many of these cases it sounds like an implementation problem. Too many people don’t seem to recognize that putting together a complex software system designed to mimic and deal with a large organization’s processes isn’t the same as simply installing a word processor. In this case, the university didn’t even have a full-time person overseeing the project, so it’s no wonder that it went off the rails so badly.

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Comments on “When You Sign Up For A $35M Project, Don't You Usually Have Someone Manage It?”

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Scott says:

Project Managers make the project cost more...

The first thing to get cut from any corporate budget plan for a large project after backup systems to the system being implemented, is the personnel that are needed to actually do it.

This is usually due to…

1: Someone over-selling the people with control of the checkbook on the ease and simplicity of the software/system they are buying, because people with real IT knowledge are kept out of the decision-making process, so the hard questions never get asked.

2: The people in control of the checkbook not really knowing what they want or need, and not bothering to ask (or listen to if they ask) anyone that knows how their current IT systems work.

3: Something being bought to replace something that works perfectly fine, but is being “upgraded” for no better reason then the sake of it. Usually with a more “Feature-Rich” product that promises improved productivity/security/speed… whatever with little to no basis for such assertions.

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