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Sharing HP’s point of view on Application Lifecycle Management, sharing customer best practices and advice on managing the lifecycle of applications from concept to retirement.

New CIO Research: The Top Five Causes of IT Project Failures

AWarningGraphic.jpgfter years of slow progress on improving success rates in application software development, a new report called Strategies for Project Recovery reveals that, as an industry, IT organizations are regressing.


In this survey of over 160 companies (ranging between small, medium, and large enterprises that spend on average $200M a year in software development projects) the report finds that 37% of IT projects are failing.  The well written report articulates that modern demands (new platforms and technologies) and a distributed workforce contibutes to the problem, but the core issues have to do more with the application lifecycle


Top Five Reasons for IT Project Failure


From the report, below are named as the top five reasons projects fail.


Reason Number One  Poor Requirements Management:  CIOs name unclear, incomplete, ambiguous, imprecise, contradictory, and non-validated requirements are the number one reason projects fail.  Traditional requirements approaches fail to deliver a scalable solution that allows all stakeholders to get on the same page on what the true requirements are for a project.


Reason Number Two: Limited Resources:  The report articulates that IT is under a serious resource constraints, with constant battles to keep key resources and poor overall resource planning.  (In my opinion, this has been exacerbated by the recent economic downturn and all the associated cuts.)

Reason Number Three:  Poor Schedules:  According to the study, initial project schedules are unrealistic, with timelines that are too tight, and there is lack of visibility when elements of the project fall behind.  

Reason Number Four:  Poor Project Planning:  Project planning is often based on "word of mouth" commitments, with missing items, insufficient details, and poor estimates.

Reason Number Five:  Lack of Risk Management:  Risk based management is cited as another key cause of software project failure.  Unidentified risks cause havoc to the "happy path" project plans typical in IT software efforts.


In my opinion, these problems relate directly to the use of poor application lifecycle management technology and an ill-defined application lifecycle processes.


Reasons Failing Projects Can't Get Back on Track


The report also talks about the reasons that off-track projects are difficult to recover.  The reasons cited include:


Politics and Priorities:  Different groups with various political alignment create scope wars on what needs to be reduced in order to get projects back on a realistic path.

Change Acceptance:  The report articulates that it is difficult to get stakeholders to agree on what changes need to be approved.

Lack of Process:  Many projects fail to have the lifecycle approach to software efforts that includes process control with conflict management procedures


Other:  Other issues cited include finding qualified resources, poor communication, and lack of trust within the teams.


Strategy.jpgThe Application Lifecycle is Broken


These issues hit squarely on a problem that has become more prevalent as organizations grow in size, become more distributed, and deal with increasing complexity in software projects.    Ensuring global team alignment through good process, tight project management and a consistent toolset has become a huge driver in global 2000 IT organizations.


Some questions for our readers:


1)  Are you experiencing the same problems outlined in this report?

2)  What tools do you use for requirements management?   project management?  and scheduling?

3)  Are you looking to upgrade your ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) solutions in the next year?


Please email me at  I would love to hear from you.


BTW:  Please check out the report here.


About the Author

Matthew Morgan leads the HP Software EMEA Product Marketing organization for the applications business as well as oversees worldwide product marketing for HP solutions for Application Modernization.    Connect with Matt Morgan on LinkedIN.













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About the Author
Matthew Morgan is Vice President of Product Marketing for HP Software and serves as the marketing business owner for the Hybrid IT and Cloud...

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