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Top 5 reasons IT projects fail

Updated: Feb 25

Over the last 30 years, yes 30 years in the digital, online & IT business I have been involved in delivering over 300 websites, IT applications, Apps & mini-programs for clients. These have ranged from small marketing sites to engage consumer to personal apps and enterprise wide mission critical systems. Over that time I have seen many projects go off the rails and some sadly fail to be delivered at all.


My top 5 reasons that projects fail (not in any order):

  1. Communications breakdown - Whether this is an in house project or a service being delivered by a third party for your company, failure to have an effective communications plan, regular meetings and a risk register that highlights issues arly will result in disaster.

  2. Miss-aligned expectations - Whether you are running an agile or waterfall project having a clear understanding of the project objective and the business objectives you are trying to achieve is critical. Failure to ensuring all parties both from the business and the development team really understand and I mean really understand what you are trying to achieve will usually result in significant project changes and significant delays and budget blow outs.

  3. Failure to run an agreed Schedule of stakeholder meetings - To be successful meetings should be weekly or bi weekly with progress updates and demonstrations. A monthly meeting with the executive sponsors from within the business to ensure alignment & address any risks will dramatically increase the projects chances of success, particularly at the implementation phase. It is difficult for the business to hamper the implementation of a digital solution that they have bought into all along the way.

  4. Scope creep - We want more or we want to change this feature is probably the number one reason why projects run over budget and time. In every project I have worked on their is always additional requirements that are added to the development after the agreed scope is signed off. This will happen and a process by which scope creek will be managed needs to be agreed at the start of the project. In an agile development framework this is not as challenging as the new features simply becomes the backlog for the next phase of the project. However, in a waterfall style project or in the case where the developers are supplying services on a fixed cost basis this is probably the major reason for project over runs and delays. Simple solution - create a backlog for all projects and prioritise what is a must have feature, then identify any additional impacts on effort, time &budget before moving forwards.

  5. Poor implementation planning & change management - Too many IT and digital applications fail because there is no plan fo how they will be implemented within the business. Change management must be part of the initial scoping process and end users should be an integral part of the development process. Allowing the systems users to understand early what is being developed to assist them will result in a more effective solution that will be more readily adopted across the organisation.


I'm sure all of you have your own lists and thought so please feel free to drop us a line and we will add some more down the track.



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