Once you finish the project and complete the project closure you are very happy.. Specially when its marked as a successful project.. You are on Budget .. Within the time.. Quality standards are met and great teamwork.. Everybody talks about you.. WOW What a Project Manager…..!!! You celebrate with your team.. Awards from the management and customers.. Big launch to go live … Its like Christmas…
Your duty is over.. But the system should run.. everyday.. it needs care.. So who is going to do that? It’s the poor “maintenance team”… After going through many large scale projects.. Over and over its proven to me that this maintenance of a delivered project is a critical problem.. When you don’t do proper maintenance there can be amny frustrating issues in the system and the users loose faith on the system.. so they decide to kill it and install a new system and the cycle continues…
I have observed many reasons which causes these maintenance problems..
- Huge knowledge gap between Development team and Maintenance team
- Customers are reluctant to spend much on maintenance and they think when the system is delivered that’s it. Most of them see the maintenance fee is as a waste till there is a real problem
- Allocating less time for user training than required due to budgetary issues.
- Loosing trained people in the long run. The new people have no idea about certain “Underhand” techniques and assumptions done by previous guys
- Loosing Management interest
- Software companies always hire low caliber , cheaper resources for maintenance teams than the resources they hire for development teams
- Lack of Project office involvement at Maintenance phase
- Some times customers decide that they will maintain the system by themselves without getting support from the vendor. But in the long run they realize that its impossible for them to do and at that time the whole system is in a mess.
- Incomplete documentation of the system.
- Assumptions made in the initial stage are no more valid and forgotten by all the parties.
- Politics ( if the New IT manager joins , sometimes he will stress the senior management even about minor issues of the current system and he will try to initiate a new project under his full control.
- Remote support – Some times when you have support teams remotely, the time to solve takes quite longer times. And it needs more time to communicate the problems clearly and simulate the problems in another location. Then apply them in the live version is another hectic task.
- No proper management and methodologies practiced during System maintenance.
- Lack of Local support and support is always needed from overseas parties.
- Misunderstandings between support parties and customers
These are few of the points which I have seen occurring in many systems time to time.. This is a serious issue to think about.. Once you complete the project and wrap up, your job is finished as PM.. But then…….