The Problem / Background
For decades, research organizations such as the Gartner Group and Standish Group International have been compiling statistics and other information attempting to identify and eliminate the reasons why systems development projects fail. In the many of the reports from these and other organizations, a list of "causes" is usually produced. These causes include poor requirements definition, ineffective risk management, inadequate user or management involvement, and many others. These reports often suggest solutions and other means to eliminate or reduce these causes. However, large numbers of systems development projects continue to fail and these and other causes keep appearing in the statistics year after year. It is our belief from personal research and experience that the overall cause of these "causes" is poor project management, development methodologies, and management systems.
Same Causes Year After Year (Partial List)
- Poor requirements definition
- Ineffective risk management
- Inadequate user involvement
- Lack of management support
- Poor planning
- Unrealistic expectations
- Changing requirements
The "Real" Problem
Project management and development methodologies have been around for decades. Even though project managers and development leaders have followed these methodologies to the letter, projects keep failing for the same reasons. This points to the inadequacy of these methodologies. If the methodology were sound and thorough, we would not have poor requirements definition, we would be able to manage our risks more effectively, and more importantly, we would not see projects failing for the same reasons over and over.
A solid project management and development methodology would allow project leaders to deal with these inefficiencies and other issues, and would prevent constant reoccurrence of project failures. Below is a partiial list of problems with past methodologies. These problems negatively affect the deliverability of projects, often robbing project teams of both productivity and agility.
Problems with Past Methodologoes (Partial List)
- Excessive or unnecessary complexity
- Inefficient processes
- Poor process control and tracking
- Difficult to implement or obtain support
- Does not provide for "real" management of a development project
- The development methodology often conflicts with the project management methodology used to manage the project