De-Risking Large Programs

At least two-thirds of large technology projects fail to deliver on time, within budget, or to user expectations. Many causes of failure are preventable. Investing in quality assurance can set large projects up for success.

The majority of large technology projects don’t meet user expectations, and they cost more and take longer than expected. In fact, one-third of large projects go significantly over budget or are cancelled outright. In general, the larger the project, the greater the risk. And the risks are significant: The potential loss from a major project delay can range from 100-170% of investment cost.

By investing in quality assurance, large projects have a much greater chance of success. Investing just 3% of the program budget on de-risking can bring a return of 30-60 times the cost.

De-risking a large program requires addressing the typical causes of failure, including:

  • Unrealistic targets for scope, effort requirements, and delivery timeline
  • Unclear requirements or poor alignment with the business
  • Poorly defined or validated benefits
  • Lack of the necessary skills or experience
  • Unclear governance
  • Insufficient stakeholder engagement
  • Inability to work effectively with vendors
  • Overly complex, customized, or unproven solutions
  • Insufficient planning for later stages of the project
  • Lack of rigor in tracking progress and managing dependencies

BCG’s phased approach de-risks delivery by offering early intervention. The initial phase is a comprehensive program review using a five-lens framework. This framework is used over two phases: program review and setup, and ongoing independent quality assurance monitoring.

Do You Know the Five Evaluation Dimensions of De-Risking?

Scope and Objectives

Business Value and Economics

Governance and Organization

Solution and Deliverables

Planning and Execution

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