Explicit Payoff Metrics
Many IT implementations are decided on the intuition of top management. While intuition and "gut feeling" are managers' best friends, they have to be backed by objective analyses and metrics if the project is to be a success. In the example of the telemarketing and catalog sales company called Close Call (discussed previously), another crucial mistake was the lack of clear objectives during prelaunch of the data warehousing system. Explicitly outlined objectives serve two vital functions. First, they help in the development of feasibility studies to ascertain the realistic costs and benefits from the implementation. As discussed above, many times the cause for IT failure is unrealistic expectations. This step will lend some objectivity to this process and thereby temper overly optimistic (or even pessimistic) viewpoints. Second, the establishment of prelaunch metrics will help identify the contingencies involved, as well as aid in getting the "buy-in" from different groups. Another good practice might be to do an iterative rollout. That is, specify that partial functionality will be provided by a certain date, followed by additional functionality at a later date, and so on.