Project failures are disappointing outcomes often that end up with a poor reputation in the IT space. In the IT world, a project failure is quite expensive.
For several years, project management has been a part of the IT industry. The IT systems have become more robust, and infrastructures have become competitive over time.
Considering the expense, it’s shocking to know that 2017 experienced a waste of $97 Million due to poor project performance.
According to PMI’s 2017 report, nearly 14% of IT projects fail. Also, of the ones that didn’t fail, 31% failed to achieve their objectives, 43% met their budgets, and 49% were late.
The PMI report also shed light on 6 parameters for project success:
- Timely delivery
- Cost vs. Budget
- The clarity in project design
- Usability factor
- The goals that are aligned with the project
You may be familiar with the typical woes of team projects in the workplace: a lack of a clear goal, miscommunication, or a perplexing project roadmap. Even minor setbacks can disrupt a project and cause a chain reaction that echoes across the organization, so careful preparation is essential.
According to a 2009 IDC report, nearly 25% of IT projects are bound to fail. Meanwhile, 20 to 25% don’t provide ROI, and up to 50% require material rework.
Does this ring a bell? You’ve probably seen projects that didn’t meet their financial targets or needed major rework in at least one region, even though they weren’t outright failures.
The majority 54% of recorded causes of IT project failure are due to poor project management. Surprisingly, technical challenges are the least-mentioned component and accounted for only 3%.
The above project management failures usually boil down to 6 main causes for project failures. Improvements can be made to prevent these blunders and increase our chances of success.
Identifying possible pitfalls and reasons for project failure can help prevent projects from going downhill.
Reasons for Project failures in the IT sector
1. Poor Project Requirements
Did you know that Poor project requirements are responsible for 39% of abandoned programs? When you don’t have clear criteria to work with, it’s daunting to achieve targets, and keep sponsors happy.
When sponsors write specification documents in a vacuum, leaving the development team in the dark, the absence of requirements often fails projects.
You may be familiar with the typical woes of team projects in the workplace: a lack of a clear goal, miscommunication, or a perplexing project roadmap.
Let’s look at a case study of Qantas, Australia’s national airline:
Qantas had to abandon its $40 million Jetsmart project in 2008. This costly IT project had to be abandoned due to failing to involve the right subject matter experts and end-users. The solution was so poorly designed and complicated that the airplane mechanics refused to work on it.
You may want to know how a project’s success looks like, right at the beginning. Discuss your expectations on cost, time, and product quality.
Careful preparation is essential, as even minor setbacks can disrupt a project and derail a project.
2. Selection of Project Methodology
Rowan Bunning, the Australian pioneer of Scrum was right in saying,
“The agile movement in software is part of a larger movement towards more humane and dynamic workplaces in the 21st century.”
Agile approach in IT methodologies can see greater advantage especially cross-functional teams of technology professionals.
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With robust IT systems, project infrastructure has considerably expanded in size and scope.
Every IT project comprises three factors: time, scale, and budget. In a Waterfall approach, the budget is flexible whereas the time and scope remain fixed. Agile strategy fixes on time and budget, however, the scope is versatile.
Agile processes enable teams to change priorities when required to ensure that final results meet the most pressing business requirements.
3. Poor Task Planning
According to Geneca’s report, nearly 80% of IT professionals spend half their time reworking software projects. This also indicates a hint of poor resource planning.
Planning and direction make up for a great IT project success. This involves a method for project planning and management that comprises procedures, resources, and the right software.
Planning appropriate resources for specific tasks that may be time-consuming or crucial is essential. Certain tasks may require certain expertise or skill set.
Effective task management with specified objectives and responsibilities is an important part of project planning. This also means that the right resource management goes hand-in-hand with maximizing efficiency.
In the IT world, dependencies on internal teams and various departments can take a toll on project deadlines. This is since some of them also own and manage specific platforms or services.
Dependencies due to delays are a contributing factor in project failures.
Why do we say this?
Checking resource availability from time to time keeps you in line with the project. Eventually, this can also prevent inconsistencies in task completions.
The bottom line is, there’s not much you can do to get timely project delivery. However, mitigating the risk with tools that enhance optimal task management can curb project risks.
4. Inaccurate Project Estimates
Massive IT ventures involve multiple production teams. Poor estimation of budget and tasks can throw the project completely off track.
The cost and time forecasts can be four times more or less than the actual ones. —This is because teams know very little about project specifications and dependencies.
Although inaccurate estimates are cited as a cause of project failure in 28% of cases, they aren’t a direct cause of failure. Estimates that are inaccurate are the product of two factors:
Poor Estimation Practices –
Inexperienced development teams often make predictions based on the assumption that everything will go smoothly. This results in underestimation of time and costs.
Upfront Planning –
As we know, due to early estimation by project managers, there is an absence of reconfirmation to check the feasibility.
A nearly accurate estimation also involves management to understand the impact of changing project requirements.
Throughout an IT project’s lifetime, producing a project estimate helps in the actual deliverable of a project and not just administrative necessity.
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Estimating a project based on time, cost and resources are vital for:
- Accessing return on investment.
- Comparing alternative plans that suit the budget and market conditions.
- Identifying the number of resources required per project per the budget.
- Gauging project performance against benchmarks.
5. Poor Task Tracking
Project success is based on a framework that includes project management tools. This method can increase accuracy and save time by automating activities.
Maintaining a plain, organic approach to a project can yield substantial results. The following items should be included:
- Set up a project management tool for tracking time and performance.
- Work with the technical lead to establish tasks within phases.
- Tracking milestones and documenting expectations.
- Request team members to estimate the time and number of tasks (per project) required.
- Include a basic change control.
Proactively solve any issues that can occur ahead of time. In conclusion, timely tracking tasks plus issues can positively impact a project.
6. Neglecting User Role Management
Defining clear roles and responsibilities are vital essentials for smooth project functioning.
User role management usually focuses on controlling access to users based on their respective responsibilities. This is because many tasks do not require administrator privileges.
It is very likely that the user can intentionally or unknowingly edit tasks, close a task, or shift due dates. As a result, it’s most likely affect project deadlines, project schedules and ultimately cause project failure.
Orangescrum’s User Role Management feature allows users to log in to their account, with pre-defined access. These are categorized into sections like Admin, Client, Owner, etc.
The clarity in one’s project identity helps curb redundancies. Not just that but it segregates work for other managers and resources that paces up a project.
Top 20 Reasons Why IT Projects Fail
- Poor Planning: Inadequate project planning, including unclear goals, scope, and requirements, can set the project up for failure from the start.
- Unclear Objectives: Lack of well-defined project objectives and success criteria can lead to misalignment and confusion.
- Scope Creep: Uncontrolled changes and additions to the project scope can cause delays, budget overruns, and a loss of focus.
- Inadequate Resources: Insufficient budget, time, or human resources can hinder project progress and quality.
- Inexperienced Team: A team lacking the necessary skills and experience can struggle to execute the project effectively.
- Poor Communication: Communication gaps between team members, stakeholders, and management can lead to misunderstandings and project delays.
- Lack of Stakeholder Involvement: Insufficient engagement with stakeholders can result in unmet expectations and project misalignment.
- Inadequate Risk Management: Failure to identify and mitigate risks can result in unforeseen issues that derail the project.
- Technology Challenges: Technical complexities, including compatibility issues and software bugs, can hinder project progress.
- Insufficient Testing: Incomplete or inadequate testing can lead to the release of buggy or unreliable software.
- Change Resistance: Resistance to change within the organization can impede the adoption of new IT systems or processes.
- Vendor Issues: Problems with third-party vendors, such as missed deadlines or inadequate support, can disrupt project timelines.
- Lack of User Involvement: Not involving end-users in system design and testing can lead to systems that do not meet their needs.
- Poor Quality Control: Inadequate quality control measures can result in low-quality deliverables.
- Scope Misalignment: The project may no longer align with changing business goals or market conditions.
- Overambitious Goals: Setting unrealistic or overly ambitious project goals can lead to frustration and disappointment.
- Inadequate Documentation: Poor documentation can hinder knowledge transfer and ongoing maintenance.
- Budget Overruns: Exceeding the allocated budget can strain resources and lead to project termination.
- Ineffective Project Management: Weak project management practices, including lack of monitoring and control, can result in project chaos.
- External Factors: External factors, such as economic changes, regulatory issues, or unforeseen events like natural disasters, can impact project success.
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From Project Failure to Project Success
The success of IT projects can be improved by focusing considerably on general-management tasks. It could be daunting to figure out the odds of outright failures at the onset of a project. Identifying possible stumbling blocks will help you avoid costly backlogs and delays in the future.
A lot of IT project processes experienced significant improvements in the last few years. This is after utilizing Project Management software that offers end-to-end project management solutions.