Exciting new ways for digital projects to go wrong

Two sayings sprung to mind recently as a project came to a close 'We learn from our mistakes' and 'You are never too old to learn'. The glossy new corporate web site was ready to go live. We'd had the normal arguments over design, struggles to get content in on time and all the familiar tensions between departments about who should do what. Everything - or so I thought - had been tested and tested again and finally it was ready to show to the Senior Management Team.

So the excited Project Sponsor stood up in front of his bosses in the boardroom and revealed the site on the staging server and it looked - completely s**t!

What went wrong?

Without going into too much detail, the designers had optimised the site for Internet Explorer 8 using a non standard font that looked fine on IE8 and all the other browsers specified in the documents. What nobody had picked up on was that all of the company staff, using thousands of computers around the world, were still on an old version of Internet Explorer - IE6. And IE6 displayed the font very badly.

Who was to blame?

Ermm, that would be me. In my defence I was brought in relatively late more as a fire fighter rather than a Project Manager and nobody could find the Functional Specification document or the Technical Specification so I concentrated on the big issues around content that were likely to delay the launch. But I should have spotted the risks in not checking these vital documents and the risk that arose from the distinctly frosty relationship between the Project Sponsor and the in house IT team.

I could go into lots of detail about how I should have avoided this problem, in fact I will - on the Digital Project Management course run by Andrew Gordon and myself on 5th March in Teddington. See you there and learn from my mistakes... In the meantime, if you've got any of your own that you're prepared to share, it would be good to hear them!

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