Published here April, 2007.  

Introduction | What Constitutes "Success"? 
Product Success | Hazards | The Lesson


Why is it that we hear so much about project failure in the Information/Technology (IT) world? Is it justified? For example, Jim Highsmith observes (elsewhere):

"The Standish Group's Chaos reports (1994 and 2001) have caused a tremendous waste of IT dollars. Just look at tool site after tool site - project management, collaboration, software development, modeling tools - the numbers from the Chaos report are given as a key reason for buying particular products. [Yet] these reports are heralded as verification that the software development community is in a sorry state of affairs and that we must all be unprofessional, undisciplined, and immature."[1]

Jim goes on to observe:

"If software [development] is in such a sorry state, why are three of the richest people in the world software people: i.e. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Paul Allen? [And] why is software the driving force behind nearly every technology, from the Web to bioengineering? [Yet] according to the Chaos reports: in 1994 82% of all projects were "challenged" or "failures." In 2001 we got a lot better - only 72% were "not" successful! How can we reconcile the overwhelming intrusion of software into every nook and cranny of our corporate, governmental, and personal lives with a 72% "not successful" rate?"[2],[3]

Quite so, but people will clasp on to anything if they think it will help them sell something. We need to look at the terms of reference.


1. Highsmith, Jim, Practice Director, Cutter Consortium Agile Project Management Practice, Agile Project Management Advisor,, September, 2006
2. Ibid
3. See also
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page