Over-reporting poses project danger

When it comes to dealing with big IT rollouts: confess to problems quickly and regularly, but don't get bogged in the detail.

That's the frank advice of Richard Farris, founder and CTO of Primavera.

Farris said enterprises must carefully control corporate governance and the way it is applied to IT project management.

“I’ve seen many projects that are over-planned. They can topple under their own weight. There is [an inherent] danger in over-control. There is a measure of project control that is the right amount. Too little and it’s chaos…too much and you spend all your time reporting. We are in a reactionary period where the pendulum has swung too far…” Farris said.

As for the swarm of lawyers cashing in on the boon of Sarbanes Oxely, CLERP 9 and other associated governance regimes, Farris appears convinced the legal fraternity ought be given a short leash to avoid the cancer of scope creep.

“Lawyers don’t manage projects,” he said, frankly admitting that law firms are not currently within his company's target market.

“With regular reviews of a project, part of it is ’fessing up to the truth. [Corporate] management has a responsibility, and management is trying to get better at that,” he said.

On the public sector, Farris is all too wary of a syndrome where public sector IT managers are forced to attempt to bury bad project news to save the skin of their elected bosses.

“There’s risk aversion, but politics [is also] big. Politicians don’t want things exposed, people don’t want to admit that things will be late,” Farris said.

As for how soon it may be before Russia gazumps India’s honeymoon with business process, Farris is philosophical - noting that matters still move at their own leisure despite the fall of the Iron curtain.

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