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Topics: Lessons Learned, Organizational Project Management
Need your valuable inputs on why do few information technology projects fail ? How do we correct and prevent this in the future ?
Dear Fellow members,

Greetings !

It is more than 20 years now in Information Technology industry and as part of virtual world I do have evidenced many projects that do succeed and gets into much more phases successfully and many projects that do fail.

As part of this journey, I would like to start a research on why these software development projects do fail. I know the question very hard but then these learning are to be shared to our community in order to correct and prevent any failure of future projects.

The few of the projects that I have evidenced do have a deep root cause for its failure since I had interacted with their stakeholders like the sponsor, top management, project management, team and external environment stakeholders.

May be I could list down the failures due to the following root causes with my limited knowledge and experience so far:-

1. Delay in time to market

2. Continuous scope Creep

3. Poor funding or cash flow

4. Lack of top management support

5. Lack of skilled resources on time

6. Change due to External environment factors

7. Poor Project Management

8. Lack of proper product vision and scope

9. Lack of user education and adoption

10. Choice of technology

11. Lack of proper design

12. Wrong interpretation of requirements

13. Other unexplained reasons

The above are just my learning based on various interactions but it is limited. Hence I need your valuable opinion on this information technology survey which are completely in free form. It could in the form of comment to this post or you may choose to email me at mail.iimc@gmail.com.

Please help me in completing this research with your leadership thoughts on best corrective and preventive actions for the same. This research will be dedicated to the entire information technology community if you help :-)

Your fellow community partner,

Anand J
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Interesting subject Anand. The list could be endless but I would add: Poor Stake Holder Management, Poor Risk Management.
I second Rami, interesting subject indeed.

I would remove "Other unexplained reasons", as PM or an Organization doing post-mortem, there can never be unexplained reasons.

I would add: Lack of Stakeholder Management, Incorrect Business Goals/Objectives, Lack of Human Resource Management.
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1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Jan 03, 2016 4:30 PM
Rami Kaibni
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Thanks Adil.
Jan 03, 2016 4:00 PM
Replying to Adil Muhammad
...
I second Rami, interesting subject indeed.

I would remove "Other unexplained reasons", as PM or an Organization doing post-mortem, there can never be unexplained reasons.

I would add: Lack of Stakeholder Management, Incorrect Business Goals/Objectives, Lack of Human Resource Management.
Thanks Adil.
I would add: Unclear or lack of the requirements, Underestimation of the risks.

Dedicate the most time and resources on the review and requirements analysis is a good corrective action for the Unclear or lack of the requirements causes.
I am not sure if your company has adopted the Agile methodology for your software development, but most of the items in your list can be improved through the use of the agile way of working and the practices that are used to support it. Without going into a lot of detail on Agile, it might suffice to add it to your list as another reason projects fail. My suggestion would be: Continuation of Waterfall development vs Implementation of Agile Methodology and Practices.
Good list, Anand. I would expand or edit the item #9: Lack of user education and adoption to read "Limited or no end user involvement in the development process". It is critical to include users in the design, development and testing of the product - not only to ensure the "desired" capabilities are being built, but those involved become champions of the product or system being rolled out.
few more
Lack/ improper of Business Case/ Need
Lack of decent portfolio management process - resulting in selection of wrong projects
No Lack of change control/ risk management and other PM processes
No Benefit realization process
Great feedback already.... An additional idea that I'll throw in is related to executive involvement and support. Whether it's the formal sponsor or just key executive stakeholders, their buy-in and involvement is critical. That doesn't mean they will always give us what we want (even a timely No can be helpful for a project!). But if they don't have your back or if they're dragging their feet in making decisions, it's the kiss of death for a project.

What if you don't have it? How do you develop it?

Here's a brief video that unpacks this idea: https://vimeo.com/13808584.
There is something that is critical and is not in the list: how do you meassure if a project have failed or not? Wich is your meassure of project sucess? When you search about that (lot of debates in sites like linkedin) you will see that most of the projects that have been considered failled do not fail in reality.

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