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Project Pathology

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Project Pathology
Causes, patterns and symptoms of project failure
You know a project is failing when you can't stop it
Rob's Rough Rules of Project Management

Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, the F.B.I. team in The X-Files, show the value of clinical analysis of cause and effect. While Mulder is focussed on mixing it with various aliens, shape changers, mutant worms and other wonderful creatures, Scully is often back at the base dispassionately examining the numerous bodies that turn up in each episode. It is often Scully's understanding of pathology and autopsy that provides the vital evidence in their search for the truth that is out there. A bit like Mulder and Scully, over the past 18 years, our group has reviewed over 20 major projects that were in the process of failing or had failed. These reviews were not done as an academic exercise or a controlled experiment but, they were undertaken "in the heat of the battle". Our clients wanted to know what they could do to fix the projects or what could be done to prevent other projects failing. The pathology of failed projects has aided us and our clients in understanding the major issues in computing. Home Our Company Public Workshop Schedule In-house Delivery and Consulting Workshop Descriptions Site Map Articles What our group has learnt is that there is a common set of causes for project failure, a common pattern of project degradation and failure and common symptoms of projects that are failing. Our findings are in conflict with many of the articles and books addressing project failure. What we have found is that most projects fail because of people and project management concerns rather than technical concerns such as development methodologies, technology platforms and tools. As Gerry Weinberg once observed...

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