A study in project failure

Another report on project failures! This time it is about the IT industry by Dr John McManus and Dr Trevor Wood-Harper.

These two academics carried out research among 214 information systems (IS) projects over a 7 year period.

They established that only one in eight information technology projects can be considered truly successful (failure being described as those projects that do not meet the original time, cost and (quality) requirements criteria).

The report carried by the British Computer Society highlights lots of facts and statistics and is a must read if you are involved in IT projects and project management.

There are many important stats and statements within the report and one really caught my eye:

“One of the major weaknesses uncovered during the analysis was the total reliance placed on project and development methodologies. One explanation for the reliance on methodology is the absence of leadership within the delivery process.”

I have always maintained that having a methodology is core to project success. I recently wrote�3 published articles showing�the needs to link methodology with�strong leadership – which is a major contributor to project success.

The article goes on to suggest:

“…..there is little evidence that the issues of project failure have been fully addressed within information systems project management.”

Strong project leadership will want to ensure delivery of key organisational projects; it also wants to know what went wrong and what can be actioned so that next time around the same mistakes are not made. These are key issues which many organisations do not seem to address.

Is there a culture of project leadership in your organisation which actively checks the above are happening? If not, remember the old saying; the same behaviour produces exactly the same results!

Read this report. It’s a must read for many people. The full article is here 

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