The Kewl Doodz 'n' Chyx

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When IT Projects go Wrong: the Dead Horse

Posted by Martin Poulter on 12 October 2007

Golden Business Rule – when you discover your company is riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount as quickly as possible.

However, organisations are reluctant to do this. They will tell you that: “this is the way we always have ridden this horse.” and then seek your assistance to:

1. Recommend how they could change riders.

2. Arrange a site visit for them to see how other ‘like’ organisations ride their dead horses.

3. Attempt to revive the dead horse.

4. Create a training session to increase their riding ability.

5. Change the requirements declaring that “This horse is not dead.”

6. Hire additional contractors to ride the dead horse.

7. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

8. Provide additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.

9. Purchase a “product” to make dead horses run faster

10. Revisit the performance requirements for horses

11. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position

– Variations on this list have been circulating for years, but I liked (and have somewhat adapted) this version received from Robin McCandless.

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