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Sagitec Blog

Why do IT projects fail?

Last week I stumbled across an interesting article on the web that helps us answer the question as to why IT projects fail. Citing long-standing research performed by the Standish Group, the article provides a list of reasons given during a survey of some 365 different organizations. These are listed in the table below:

Lack of User Input 12.8% 
Incomplete Requirements 12.3%
Changing Requirements 11.8%
Lack of Executive Support 7.5%
Technology Incompetence 7.0%
Lack of Resources 6.4%
Unrealistic Expectations 5.9%
Unclear Objectives 5.3%
Unrealistic Time Frames 4.3%
New Technology 3.7%
Other 13.9%
(Source: Standish Group, 1995)

If you’ve been following this blog, then you probably noticed some familiar terms in that list. Let’s highlight a few of the identified reasons:

Lack of User Input 12.8% 
Incomplete Requirements 12.3%
Changing Requirements 11.8%
Lack of Executive Support 7.5%
Technology Incompetence 7.0%
Lack of Resources 6.4%
Unrealistic Expectations 5.9%
Unclear Objectives 5.3%
Unrealistic Time Frames 4.3%
New Technology 3.7%
Other 13.9%

 

Now, what do these reasons have in common? Well, besides being completely avoidable, all are the direct result of poor communication. Combined, they represent 40% of the total cause for project failure!

Communication in IT Projects

This research provides hard evidence to underscore a point we’ve been trying to make on this blog recently: that communication is absolutely critical to overall project success (and especially during the early stages). In previous posts on writing functional requirements, we discuss how writing high-quality functional requirements can help reduce risk and foster success. And in another post, we discuss how understanding the goals and culture of an organization can help set clear expectations and objectives.

So you see, the proof is in the pudding: communication is key.

Reference:
STANDISH GROUP Report: Most Programming Projects Are Late 
Study by Standish Group on IT Application Development: 
February 12, 1998

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About Sagitec Solutions:

Sagitec Solutions, LLC designs and delivers tailor-made pension, provident fund, and unemployment insurance software solutions to clients of all sizes. Sagitec has the expertise necessary to help their clients achieve strategic business objectives, enhance service offerings, and lower operating costs. Find further information by visiting http://www.sagitec.com. For more information, contact Rick Deshler at (651) 335-3406 or at rick.deshler@Sagitec.com.

 

Topics: Organizational Culture, IT Projects