Over 30 percent of web development teams deliver projects late or over-budget, according to a survey commissioned by Ruby development shop, New Bamboo. These findings are consistent with studies of larger IT initiatives showing failure rates of 30%-70%.
According to the report:
- Nearly a quarter of website projects fail to be delivered within budget (24%) and 5% were unable to confirm the final cost of their web development project
- 21% fail to meet stakeholder requirements
- Nearly a third of web based projects (31%) were not delivered within the agreed timescales
- Three elements that cause web project failures First there are too many changing requirements (55%) Too many stake holders to please (48%) Not enough budget or time to deliver (31%)
- Nearly half of basic web based projects continue to be built in-house; with 28% are outsourced to third parties
The study describes three reasons for this high failure rate:
- Changing requirements
- Inconsistent stakeholder demands
- Insufficient time or budget
THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS
It's unusual to see a survey covering web projects rather than enterprise software deployments. Although there are substantial differences between web projects and large software rollouts, the underlying drivers of failure are similar in both cases.
Multiple project stakeholders and organizational objectives often guarantee project environments that include changing demands and inconsistent agendas. Failure is almost inevitable when management allows ambiguous objectives to persist after a project starts. Unfortunately, many organizations allow their web projects to become complicated by unclear focus, a dubious business case, and inconsistent goals.
To resolve these issues, Damien Tanner, co-founder of New Bamboo, suggests:
Taking a collaborative and iterative approach to web project development, with all stakeholders sharing ownership of the project, and ensuring that the expectations of the business and the final product are aligned. This approach involves regular meetings with all stakeholders where working software is tested and a certain amount of QA is carried out, which not only keeps the project on course for success but also ensures that mistakes are rectified early on.
I encourage other vendors and interested parties to conduct additional web development studies, emphasizing the dynamics of failure within smaller teams.