While the challenges confronting development projects are extensive and complex, they are by no means exclusive to projects managed in the development sector.
Take, for example, the information provided in this graph and its accompanying table. Each year the Standish Group conducts a survey entitled the Chaos Report, collecting responses from over 10,000 Information Technology (IT) projects. The report identifies the percentage of IT projects evaluated as “succeeded”, “challenged” or “failed.”¹
Year after year, the Chaos Report results indicate that the majority of IT projects surveyed by the Standish Group are assessed as “challenged” or “failed” and only a relatively small percentage are considered to have “succeeded.” In 2008, for example, the percentage of unqualified project successes was 32%; failures (defined as projects abandoned midstream) were 24%, and the remaining 44% of projects were completed but “challenged” by cost overruns, calendar delays, and/or failed to deliver all the project products or services.
It is important to acknowledge that the Chaos Report does not address development projects. The survey was designed and implemented by a project management services firm to study the results of IT projects. However, the results of the report are helpful in that they underscore the challenges of delivering successful projects and they provide data that help us answer the key question, “What are the key issues that result in project challenges and failures?”
According to the analysis of the 2009 Chaos Report, there are three issues that most frequently result in challenged projects².
- Incomplete requirements and specifications;
- Lack of contingency planning for managing risks; and
- Failure to learn from mistakes
Does this sound familiar? What is striking about the analysis of challenged projects in the IT sector is how similar the issues are to those in development sector. Continue reading “You Are Not Alone!”