We hosted last week a great webinar featuring Laurence Hart (@piewords) and Brendan Coveney (@bcoveney), on the topic of ECM project success and failure. Here is some follow-up information -- including a recording of the webinar -- for those who attended and are curious to find out more, or for those who missed it. Thanks to Laurence and Brendan who were kind enough to join us for that event, despite having very busy agendas.

Preparing and hosting this webinar was a great occasion to look at the topic in a little bit more detail. I would like first to come with a few links that were mentioned during the webinar, starting with some that apply to the whole IT family:

First (and often mentioned), the “scary” (at least to me) reports from the Standish Group can be found here. As this is not free content, I won’t say too much about it here, but some googling might take you to some enlightening executive summary on this study.

Then, I would like to mention the work of Scott W. Ambler, available on Dr. Dobb’s, that definitely challenges the meaning of “Project Success and Failure” compared to the views of the Standish Group reports. More on the great work of Scott W. Ambler can be found here.

Finally, as we, like many, touched on the topic of “agile”, I recommend that anyone interested in the topic read this article from Mike Gualtieri, from Forrester. Agree with him or not, this will definitely raise questions and take the discussion to another level! I want to use this one to state clearly that, when we advise being “AGILE”, it is clearly not following A to Z the agile software development methodology process, but more about the general meaning of being agile!

And then, to jump a little bit more on some ECM-related content, we wanted to link to the AIIM blog, and especially to some like - 8 Reasons Why ECM Implementations Experience High Failure Rates, and What to Do About It (Jeetu Patel), with many other posts from the “8 things” series of interest to this conversation (for instance the 8 ways to kill your ECM project).

Finally, as a short recap about our thoughts at Nuxeo, we definitely think “project success” means much more than reaching the usual project management metrics “on time, on budget and on scope”. Stepping outside of the box, project success is mostly about providing real business value to users and organizations like for instance enabling a better business efficiency, achieving faster time to market, increasing team productivity or others. And if that is the real success of an ECM project, then technology is a key success factor, as much as the people and the processes.

In that respect, beyond the people and methodology matters, we believe that the Nuxeo Platform contributes a great deal of value to content management projects by enabling developers and project managers to roll out an agile project approach, implement disciplines such as prototyping, continuous testing and continuous integration, and remain flexible in the way the projects are driven!

Laurence’s advice, coming from a wealth of content management project experience, focuses more on the project management side of the discussion. Anyone involved in an ECM project would benefit from reading his slide deck, and digesting the information it contains. I would keep in mind the importance of being guided and accompanied by experienced folks in my projects, and repeat the mantra “start small and finish big.” Too-large project scope, guided by a waterfall approach, has certainly been a major reason why we’ve seen so many projects fail.

For those who want to replay the webinar, feel free to watch below or jump to nuxeo.com resource center.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the event, including the Twitter users who used the #ECMSuccess hashtag. As a quick final note, we would love to see comments as well as any unanswered or new questions in the comment section of this post. We will watch carefully -- feel free to contribute!

video recording: