Successful IT projects are rarely noticed, only the disasters which can generally be avoided by having detailed contracts that spell out exactly what will happen, and who will do what.  Involving a lawyer with IT experience at the earliest point of IT planning (before the RFP is issued) can make sure that all things that can go wrong are spelled out in the contract, so when those things actually go wrong, the parties have already decided what will happen.

If you observe enough IT projects it becomes easier to identify critical signs that an IT project may be doomed.  Infoworld’s  2013 report entitled “11 signs your IT project is doomed” is a pretty good outline of what to watch out for:

Red flag No. 1: The project has launched without senior buy-in

Red flag No. 2: No detailed project plan exists

Red flag No. 3: Meetings have been scheduled without concern for team member availability

Red flag No. 4: Users have had little (to no) early involvement

Red flag No. 5: The project targets the minimum specs

Red flag No. 6: Testing is an afterthought

Red flag No. 7: No recovery plan is in place in the event of failure

Red flag No. 8: Expert recommendations have been rebuffed without testing outcomes

Red flag No. 9: The go-live date is a weekend or holiday

Red flag No. 10: Expectations have not been set

Red flag No. 11: Skimp on training

When lawsuits and trials occur because of failed IT projects, no one is ever happy with the outcome.  Of course the cost of a failed IT project is always more than a successful IT project.