Recently, I blogged about an excellent report, released by the UK National Audit Office, on the subject of IT project failures. That report examined 24 IT projects, to draw conclusions about the causes of both project success and failure. While the report’s primary focus is on project success factors, it also includes an eight-point list of common sources for project failure.
From the report, here is the list of reasons causing failure on IT projects:
- Lack of clear link between the project and the organisation’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success.
- Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial ownership and leadership.
- Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
- Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.
- Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
- Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits).
- Lack of understanding of and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in the organisation.
- Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supply chain.
Once again, I find it interesting that this list makes clear the cause of IT project failure does not lie in the technology domain. Rather, the list covers a broad range of business, management, relationship, and oversight deficiencies as causing project failure. Indeed, the report is titled “Delivering Successful IT-Enabled Business Change,” reflecting the fact that the underlying source of many IT-related problems is organizational, environmental, or technical change.