Don't Forget the People Side of Project

Don't Forget the People Side of Project<@VM>Techtoon

I read your article in the Nov. 20, 2000, issue, "AMS Sues National Union Over Mississippi Troubles."The article focused on lawsuits that have occurred on large, state automated projects. In further explication [in the sidebar "Big Projects, Big Failures"], a judge ruled in favor of Lockheed Martin Corp., finding that the state of California failed to ensure the cooperation of the counties in the development of the California Statewide Automated Child Support System. As a social worker who is familiar with technology use in education and human services, it appears California officials and Lockheed Martin implemented this project as a pure "technology project" rather than a "people project," demanding equal importance with the technology. Lockheed Martin and California failed to build an organizational team with users, management and technical staff working together in project planning, development and execution.
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I have not read anything about project committees, interagency collaboration or communications matrixes. When users, management and technical staff work together, problems such as outdated hardware and growth in caseloads can be identified as they arise and resolved.Although there will still be temporary systems crashes and frustrations, a team approach can ensure ultimate success and avoid project failures. As an example, Massachusetts, which formed an organizational team in building their FamilyNet System was among the first 18 states with an operational system in September 1998. Rebecca Sager Ashery
Doctor of Social Work

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