If you think building or remodeling a home on time and within budget is challenging, try managing a substantial IT project. Unfortunately, without proper guidance and management, IT project failures in healthcare can occur with alarming frequency.
Think it can’t happen in your organization? Astoundingly, just 2.5% of companies successfully completed 100% of their IT projects, according to a massive PricewaterhouseCoopers study, which reviewed more than 10,000 projects from 200 companies in various industries in 30 different countries.
Historically, the IT project failure rate for healthcare has been equal to, if not worse than, other industries, according to a comprehensive study of health IT successes and failures published in the Journal of the Medical Informatics Association.
The cost of such failure can be substantial. In a study of nearly 1,500 IT projects, the Harvard Business Review found an average cost overrun of 27%, but noted this was only part of the story. One in six of the projects studied went 200% over budget (on average) and had a schedule overrun of nearly 70%. It’s the budget- and time-busting outlier projects like these that are the most perilous to organizations, the study’s authors contend.
Complexity comes with the IT project territory, given the inherent need to balance competing stakeholder interests with limited resources and time. It’s also necessary to factor in the increasing rate of technology changes and external factors, such as regulations and the risk of increasing data intrusion threats.
That’s why, foundationally, healthcare organizations must have sound IT project management practices in place to sensibly manage both human and financial resources, and help deliver successful clinical and business results. Here are nine best-practice recommendations for proper IT project management: