In 2003 – 2004 Trottier and Associates joined with ‘Performance Technologies Inc.’ to look at; “Why does IT/PM have such ineffective ‘success to failure’ performance results?”
The data used was published by such reliable research groups as The Standish Group and the Gardner Research Group. The key issues and each of their key ‘influencers’ were identified.
Those key issues and ‘influencers’ were then looked at on a deeper level by Trottier and Associates to identify which key issues and their key influencers were purely technical focused, organization / culture focused, people focused, and/or IT/PM process focused.
From there we identified a more effective approach to IT/PM implementation by combining three disciplines; Project Management, Total Quality Management, and Organizational Development and Effectiveness.
The following ‘base-results’ come from The Standish Group’s research from 1994 to 2009 looking at the ‘success to failure’ IT/PM rates. Although there is some ‘progess’ since 1994, it is still amazing how significant the ‘challenged / failure’ % rate is over this period of time:
1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2009
% Successful 16 27 26 28 34 29 35 32
% Challenged 53 33 46 49 51 53 46 44
% Failed 31 40 28 23 15 18 19 24
This report “measures success by only looking at whether the projects were completed on time, on budget and with required features and functions (met user requirements). The organization leaves out of its measures the quality, the risk, and customer satisfaction.
Thus, one needs to consider the variables considered (on time, on budget and with required features and functions (met user requirements) when looking at the results and your interpretations on why IT projects fail. “But we, PMs, already know that all these measurements work in tandem and need to keep this in mind.”
“The report shows that software projects now have a 32% success rate compared to 35% from the previous study in 2006 and 16% in 1994. On the other hand, 44% of projects were challenged (late, over budget and/or with less than the required features and functions) while 24% failed (cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used).“
Adapted from: “The Curious Case of the CHAOS Report – 2009
Key issues and key ‘negative influencers’:
Project Initiation and Planning Issues
- Unclear or unconvincing business case.
- Insufficient or non-existent approval process.
- Poor definition of project scope and objectives.
- Insufficient time or money given to project.
- Lack of business ownership and accountability.
- Insufficient and/or over-optimistic planning.
- Poor estimating.
- Long or unrealistic timescales; forcing project end dates despite best estimates.
- Lack of thoroughness and diligence in the project startup phases.
Technical and Requirements Issues
- Lack of user involvement (resulting in expectation issues)
- Product owner unclear or consistently not available.
- Scope creep; lack of adequate change control.
- Poor or no requirements definition; incomplete or changing requirements.
- Wrong or inappropriate technology choices.
- Unfamiliar or changing technologies; lack of required technical skills.
- Integration problems during implementation.
- Poor or insufficient testing before go-live.
- Lack of QA for key deliverables.
- Long and unpredictable bug fixing phase at end of project.
Stakeholder, Management and Team Issues
- Insufficient attention to stakeholders and their needs; failure to manage expectations.
- Lack of senior management/executive support; project sponsors not 100% committed to the objectives; lack understanding of the project and not actively involved.
- Inadequate visibility of project status.
- Denial adopted in preference to hard truths.
- People not dedicated to project; trying to balance too many different priorities.
- Project team members lack experience and do not have the required skills.
- Team lacks authority or decision making ability.
- Poor collaboration, communication and teamwork.
Project Management Issues
- Weak, on-going management skills and process; inadequately developed or inexperienced.
- Inadequate tracking and reporting; not reveiving progress reports / discussions regulary or diligently enough.
- Lack of group problem-solving, and group dynamic facilitation skills.
- Ineffective time and cost management.
- Lack of leadership, communication and facilitations skills.
- Lack of ‘risk mitigation’.
- No project management ‘best practices’.
Having further sorted and classified these ‘negative influencers’, we found the following results:
Purely Technical focused; 5 %
Organization / Culture focused; 49 %
People focused; 12 %
IT / Project Management Process focused, 34 %
These results led us to understand that a different approach was needed or, that some additional methods and approaches integrated within an IT/PM approach, would give a higher success rate by filling in the ‘gaps / weaknesses’ identified by the ‘influencers’ above.
The following is a generic IT/PM ‘approach’ which can be ‘customized’ for each particular organization. We created such by integrating concepts, methodologies and tools from Project Management, Total Quality Management, and Organizational Development and Effectiveness practices.
Next Generation Project Management Process: