The Real Work of Project Management: Improving Information Technology Project Success Rates

Richard Bernheim

Numerous  research studies have long reported that information technology (IT) project success rates are somewhat below the break-even point of 50%. The most recent results indicate a 36% project success rate. Given this fact, project managers and the project management profession should be actively seeking real-world remedies to this very important and serious unfavorable circumstance. I believe that by focusing on the actual challenges and recognizing their main causes, significant improvement is more likely to occur and in a much shorter period of time.

Research experts and information technology practice leaders repeatedly indicate that there are three critical challenges that are directly involved with the job of being a consistently successful real-world project manager, and these three key factors are:

  1. People — having to do with interpersonal skills (often referred to as “soft” skills)
  2. Process — having to do with project management concepts, approaches, and methodologies (“hard” skills)
  3. Technology — having to do with project management tools and techniques (another “hard” skill)

According to various studies conducted over the last several decades, of these three key challenges, it is the people or human aspect that actually matters the most in successfully managing…

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