Eight reasons for failed IT-based projects - according to Borland

1. Lack of clarity – about roles, responsibilities and requirements

2. Lack of defining and managing project requirements and failure to communicate these from project sponsors to developers

3. Inability to define/articulate problems

4. Poor design/implementation


5. Using unsuitable technologies (often because a project lead likes some language/technology they use because it’s familiar but not always best)

6. Poor testing, inadequate testing or testing too late

7. Inability of the IT organisation to measure the results and manage the process

8. Inability to control and respond quickly to changes

About Borland

Founded in 1983, Borland supplies the Open Application Lifecycle Management system. Its customers include 20th Century Fox, BT, General Dynamics, Halliburton, JP Morgan Chase, Jaguar and Lufthansa.

Borland has also set out what it says are five steps to avoid a failure

1. Requirements Definition & Management

The right planning includes requirements definition and management. According to analysts and industry statistics, poor requirements are the single biggest contributor to software failure. If organisations get requirements right the first time, every time – this ultimately results in less rework, lower costs and better software.

2. Risk analysis & Quality Control

It is important to weigh up risks and opportunities of a project before embarking on it to enable robust contingency planning, resource allocation and time scale planning. Risk should be kept under review through regular quality control from inception. Quality needs to be built into software at the very point of project definition, tested earlier and more often, and traced throughout every phase of the software delivery lifecycle, keeping quality control in check and at the same time guarding against risk.

3. Properly trained and collaborative teams

Teams need to have the right skills and expertise in order to fulfil the specific requirements of the project. They need to collaborate internally and externally with other teams and stakeholders in order to achieve the projects aims – the IT department needs to be aligned with the overall business. Moreover, teams need to have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and clearly defined goals. Teams should be able to communicate and collaborate through centralised control of all project assets, aligning the business with IT.

4. Project management and change control

A project’s progress needs to be constantly monitored by referring and cross-referencing actual work with the original plan and timeline. Corrective action can be taken as soon as significant deviation from the original plan, timeline and budget is detected.

5. Organisational alignment and impact focused measurement

All IT development must be aligned with organisational needs, and should address goals supported by leaders at all levels of the organisation. Likewise success and progress measures of each IT project need to be similarly aligned with business goals, with these measures set-up to validate both short and long term impacts of each individual project.

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