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Well-known expert on why IT projects fail, CEO of Asuret, a Brookline, MA consultancy that uses specialized tools to measure and detect potential vulnerabilities in projects, programs, and initiatives. Also a popular and prolific blogger, writing the IT Project Failures blog for ZDNet.

One response to “California payroll: Another failure waiting to happen?”

  1. Shaun Snapp

    Its hard to see where this article establishes who is to blame. The author points out that California is “blaming everyone else.” However, that is not apparent from the information provided. They seem to be blaming SAP. But not enough detail is provided to determine who is more to blame. As for the disapproval regarding he hiring of an independent entity to evaluate the history of the project and what to do, its also hard to see why this is a bad move. There seem to be two disagreements with the approach the first is that the endeavor is too complex

    “the project underlying this assessment is sufficiently complicated that even the auditors could not untangle all the threads.”

    But why should that be the case? A group experienced in this type of implementation should have no problem determining what is broken, what to do next, what to salvage, etc.. I do this all the time myself to troubled SAP projects (although in supply chain) and I can always get to answers to these questions. It takes time but is not too complex if you have the background and sufficient time.

    The second point seems to be that the process blames the vendor for California’s shortcomings — but what are these shortcomings? Where is the analysis of who did what on this project? Without that the reader has to take the author’s word as fact that California was largely or entirely to blame. Its all very vague.

    I also do not understand why it is necessarily a negative if it is not the same group internal to California that “managed the original failed project” that created the RFO document. Couldn’t this be viewed as in a negative light from either direction? That is, if its the same group, then “they can’t be the right group” — but if its a new group then they “lack the experience with the first project” right?

    I found this to be a perplexing read. Too many of the assumptions — which drive conclusions lack any evidence to support them. If the author wants to say that California is primarily to blame and the vendor is primarily blameless, then this should be said – but should be backed up by explanations as to why this is the author’s conclusion. Statements like “given the track record of the project” don’t tell me any information. Also, if California can be accused of blaming everyone else, then the author can be accused of repeatedly blaming the client. However, none of this gets us anywhere until the evidence is presented.