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Project Failures

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What factors lead to software project failure?
June Verner
NICTA Alexandria Sydney Australia june.vemer@nicta.com.au

Jennifer Sampson
NICTA Alexandria Sydney Australia jennifer.sampson@nicta.com.au

Narciso Cerpa
University olTalca Talca Chile

n.cerpa@utalca.cl.

It has been suggested that there is more than one reason for a software development project to fail. However, most of the literature that discusses project failure tends to be rather general, supplying us with lists of risk aod failure factors, and focusing on the negative business effects of the failure. Very little research has attempted an in-depth investigation of anum ber of failed projects to identify exactly what are the factors behind the failure. In this research we analyze data from 70 failed projects. This data provides us with practitioners' perspectives on 57 development and management factors for projects they considered were failures. Our results show that all projects we investigated suffered from numerous failure factors. For a single project the number of such factors ranges from 5 to 47. While there does not appear to be any overarching set of failure factors we discovered that all of the projects suffered from poor project management Most projects additionally suffered from organizational factors outside the project manager's control. We conclude with suggestions for minimizing the four most common failure factors.

Abstract -

Index terms software project failure, software project management, failure factors, project risk

the failure of project X resulted in a loss of $350 million dollars and as a consequence the company went into receivership. Both Charette [5] and y ardley (cited in [6]) agree that there is generally more than one reason for the failure of a software project; it is usually a combination of technical, project management and business decisions,…...

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