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Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

IT Project Failures: Improvement Opportunities for Project Managers and Organizations

IT Project Failures: Improvement Opportunities for Project Managers and Organizations
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Author(s): Daniel S. Lah (Elli Liilly & Company, USA)
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 3
Source title: Managing Modern Organizations Through Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-822-2.ch038
ISBN13: 9781616921293
EISBN13: 9781466665354


Some project management experts believe that ninety percent of projects that fail do so on day one (Brief encounters, 2002). Determining what constitutes an IT project failure is a subjective process and each organization may have its own definition. For instance, some organizations may not consider a project a failure if some value is still received even though it was not the intended value. Generally speaking, if a project failed to complete all of its intended objectives set out at the start, it can be considered a failure. Additionally, a failure can be counted when the project does not meet Return On Investment (ROI) goals set at the start (Holt, 2003). Recently, the cause of IT project failures is being focused more on the project manager. According to Winters (2003), the top 10 reasons projects fail are: 1. Inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project managers 2. Failure to set and manage expectations 3. Poor leadership at any and all levels 4. Failure to adequately identify, document, and track requirements 5. Poor plans and planning processes 6. Poor effort estimation 7. Cultural and ethical misalignment 8. Misalignment between the project team and the business or other organization it serves 9. Inadequate or misused methods 10. Inadequate communication, including progress tracking and reporting Certainly projects fail for multiple reasons and the above list is not exhaustive. However, it does cover the most common areas that are usually cited as being the cause of failures. Winters does not claim that his list is in the order of importance, however he strongly feels that the inadequately trained or inexperienced project manager is to blame for the majority of project failures. This paper analyzes the role that IT project managers play in the failure of IT projects, and continues with suggestions for improvement for both IT project managers and the organizations they work for.

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