criteria for success and failure

in the developer.* robert glass has published a nice article on surprises and predictables regarding factors of it-project success or failure. the mentioned findings are the result of a survey by prof. june verner of 400 projects in the u.s., australia, and chile.

the surprises are:

  • most projects that had no schedule were successful.
  • requirements are needed for project success, but not necessarily early in the project.
  • projects often continue successfully for some time with unclear requirements.
  • the choice of requirements methodology does not matter; uml was “no help”.
  • using a development methodology was a success factor, especially when it was “appropriate to the application”.
  • very few projects use risk management, and those that do rarely manage those risks.
  • post mortem reviews are rarely held, and when they are it is almost always on successful projects.
  • in the u.s. (but not elsewhere), developers are involved in project estimation only when there are poor requirements (verner speculated that this is because the powers that be were looking for someone to blame!).

and the predictabels:

  • success comes from a culture that investigates and deals with problems.
  • the vision for the project (its business goals) must be shared among all project personnel, especially the project manager.
  • project managers should be involved in the estimation activity.
  • project managers should be good at customer and developer communication; they need not be good at the technology.

for developers project success was due to these aspects:

  • they had a sense they had delivered a quality product.
  • they had a sense of achievement.
  • they had enough independence to work creatively.
  • the requirements were met and the system worked as intended.

you can also find some interesting data in the study:

  • 60% of organizations have no process to measure benefits.
  • 86% of projects had a business case, but 60% ignored it.
  • 33% of projects said they had no risks, but 62% of those failed.
  • 49% or organizations have had (one or more) project failures.
  • in one-third of the projects, the project manager had no say in schedule/budget targets.

Related Posts