Open Project Management

Martin Bauer

  • 19% of projects will be cancelled before they ever get completed.

  • 46% of projects will cost time and budget overruns.

  • 35% of projects are completed on-time and on-budget.

These are some pretty alarming statistics (from the Chaos Report 2006). Although they related to software projects, I've little doubt the numbers are similar for content management projects if not worse. Basically, this means that two-thirds of projects will get into serious trouble. And the majority of that will NOT be for technical reasons; the majority of problems on projects are people related, whether that's poor requirements gathering, poor communication, poor choice of staff, poor management, or just plain ignorance.

If you are considering your first eZ publish project, it's a new technology in the emerging field of content management where there is little to guide you. How is this likely to affect your chances for success?

Ok, so far it's not looking so great—but don't give up just yet, the question we should be asking ourselves is what can we do to avoid this happening to our projects? The good news is there's a lot that can be done. The hard part is actually doing it! It's like anything that requires discipline: getting fit, losing weight, learning a new language, etc. It's about discipline and dedication.

Motivational techniques are just a bit out of scope in this article, but it does provide is a series of management techniques that are straightforward to apply and will go a long way to keeping your project on track. These practices are not the only practices out there. There are plenty to choose from and don't feel that you have to stick to the ones described here. These are simply ones that I have found to work well in content management projects. They can apply equally to web development or even software development, with some adjustments.

The management practices described in this article are drawn from a variety of sources: people I've worked with, books I've read, things I've worked out myself through trial and error. There's nothing particularly original about any of the practices and I have no pretences that they are THE way to do things. There is no one perfect way, just lots of techniques that you can rely upon to help you at different points during a project.