The 2009 Standish Group Chaos Report painted a dismal picture of the state of software development. The Boston, Massachusetts, research firm surveyed 400 organizations and found a decrease in IT project success rates and an increase in IT project failure rates in a short two-year period. Only 32% of surveyed projects were considered successful (i.e., on time, on budget, and with required functionality and feature sets). Nearly one quarter of IT projects were considered failures. The rest were considered to be challenged-a euphemism for late, over budget, or implemented without the full set of promised functions and features. It should be noted, however, that many dispute the Chaos Report findings. What's undisputed is that a large number of projects do fail.
Many things can and do go wrong with software development efforts. McConnell (1996) neatly categorized the issues as shown in Table 1.1. Hyvari (2006) provides an updated view, as shown in Table 1.2. The names may have changed but the problems remain more or less the same. As you can see, a host of reasons can negatively impact project success and high on the list is the human element. Ewusi-Mensah (2003) states simply that, "the software development enterprise is a purely abstract and conceptual endeavor, and as such places an undue burden on all the stakeholders to collaborate with a clear vision of what is to be achieved, how it is to be achieved, and at what cost and in what time frame."
Having the right people on a project team is certainly key to the success of a project. In a large pharmaceutical company, the lead designer walked off a very important project. Obviously, that set the team back to a large extent because no one else had enough experience to do what he did. Even if the IT staff stays put, it is always possible that a "people" issue will negatively affect a project. For example, a change in senior management may mean that the project you are working on gets canned or moved to a lower priority. A project manager working for America ...
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