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Dutch Treat

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Written by Hans Mulder

My message to the Dutch members of parliament was that in order to achieve value they must first understand the complexity of the problem.  Complexity is the root of the problem and as a university professor I was forever looking for answers.  Before joining The Standish Group my quest went unanswered.  The answer is the Size-Complexity Matrix.  The Standish Group correlated their 50,000 projects into a Size-Complexity Matrix as a way to predict the results of an IT project on the basis of matching historical results.

The statistical analysis of large numbers regarding similarities in success, failure, and problems of IT projects also revealed the CHAOS laws of complexity. The biggest complexity is caused by the scale, size or scope of a project. This is not an unexpected outcome. For dozens of years, it has been well known that large IT projects have high risks, but we never knew exactly how high these risks were. Often the failure and success criteria involved were reported, but the most important criteria and the impact of different criteria were never analyzed. This can only be done on the basis of many independent observations.

The complexity of IT projects can be divided into three dimensions, which influence each other: the size and the scope of the project, the size of the organization and the size of the information system. The larger the project or the system is to be built, the higher the risk range. If all three complexity parts are maximal, which often is the case for governments, IT projects become unmanageable or to put it as Jim Johnson says: they become chaotic.

See and listen (in Dutch) to Hans presentation to the Dutch Government on youtube:

This week’s CHAOS Tuesday: is titled “I Hate You”. In this show we explore:

  • How to deal with people that you hate
  • How to deal with people that hate you
  • MIP: Step 1 Database Modernization
  • Keeping PM tools simple
  • Viacom v. YouTube case

Last Week’s PM2GO Advice Posts

Sages: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker; and the Maelstrom of Markets is a book by Charles R. Morris reviewed Jim Johnson.

Managements: History The Standish Group suggests that the average project will have 2.1 restarts, so there is a good chance that the current project has been tried before.

Defining the Role: As Bill Heil says, “We do lots of IT projects and some executive sponsors are strong and some are not so strong. "

Edification: Resources: The Standish Group suggests the executive sponsor needs to understand what resources are needed for the project and how the team will obtain and use these resources.

Owner's Helpers: Bill Niemi said “At Fidelity, the executive sponsor would have a delegate who would run the weekly team meetings and make most of the decisions for the business unit.”


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