Last week I discussed scope creep, in-house IT resistance, and passive-aggressive behind-the-scenes divisiveness. Now let’s take a look at Part 2 of landmines that can derail an insurance Web project. Three more perilous issues include:

  • Lack of focus by senior project sponsors
  • Over zealous IT security people
  • Unrealistic time frames and rushing to market

Lack of focus by senior project sponsors can cause major problems. Sometimes the main project sponsors get things started, then disappear for eight weeks, come back, and start giving more orders. The big issue with that is a lot of work has already been done, and now needs to be redone — or put on hold for Phase two.

Project sponsors are often deep subject matter experts and their input is invaluable, so they need to be available for timely input. In either case, redo’ing stuff costs time and money which could have been better spent, not to mention the frustration factor.

Over zealous IT security people can also derail a project. Don’t get me wrong. IdeaStar takes online security very seriously. We have outlined security procedures and participate in security programs such as Hacker Safe. However, as an example, we received a 250 question security questionnaire from a carrier for an e-commerce site involving a simple guaranteed-issue AD&D product. We considered it overkill and declined to move forward with the project. Here’s the thing: There are all sorts of levels for Web security. We didn’t think the project warranted the time necessary to document security measures worthy of plans for a thermo-nuclear submarine!

Time frames can be a very sensitive, and clients need to be realistic. Often, a time frame for launch is set months in advance of a planned major marketing event. The ball starts rolling toward that deadline, but the Web site gets delayed because of contracting, the IT department, security, lack of cooperation by a carrier, etc. But the marketing event deadline is still approaching.

So finally, when everybody starts screaming loud enough, contracts get signed, information flows, and work begins on the Web site. Weeks of development time have already been lost, but the marketing deadline still has to be met. That can leave the project with inadequate time to test, make changes, get market feedback and so forth. You are better off delaying the launch date than risking Web site failure in some form.

These are just a few of the landmines which we’ve run into – on more than one occasion with more than one client. Please let us know if you know of others.

Hope this series has been helpful.