Critical analysis of the reasons for failure of a software project
SOFTWARE ENGINEERING AND SOFTWARE PROJECT MANAGEMENT Critical Analysis of The Reasons forFailure of a Software Project Submitted By- Praveen Sidola 1021026 LOS
Provide a critical analysis of the reasons for failure of a software projectProject is a combination of Human & non Human resource put together into a temporaryorganization to achieve a specific purpose (Kerzne, Cleland, 1985)1Before jumping into the failure analysis it is necessary to recognize the meaning of success,in the book “Successful Project management” (Young, 2010)2 which defines success as-“Success is one of those words that conjure up a picture we paint in our mind”. This can varyfrom stakeholder to stakeholder.In the heading “Why project go out of control” (Barry M. Staw & Jerry Ross, 2005)3 in HBRThere are four elements which come in observation • The Project Itself • Managers Motivation • Social Pressure • Organizational Push & pullThis covers all “internal & external, human & non human, intangible & tangible aspects offailure.In the “Why good project fail Any way” (Ashkenas, Nadim F. Matta & Ronald N., 2005)4 inHBR, it is clearly identified by the author that there is a paradigm shift from traditionalapproach to project management team which is highly applicable to the S/W project .So the selection of the right team for the S/W project becomes a critical factor which leads tothe performance of the project & the end result.The valuation of project is done on the basis of three factors “Cost, Time & Performance” butsoftware project can be evaluated on “Cost, Schedule, Resource, Technology & Scope”,breach of any one parameter can have a negative impact on the project performance.1Kerzne, Cleland. (1985). A Project Management Dictionary of Terms.2 Young, T. L. (2010). What Is Sucess. Sucessful Project Management , 5 to 12.3 Barry M. Staw & Jerry Ross. (2005). Knowing When to Pull The Plug. harvard Business review on ManagingProject .4 Ashkenas, Nadim F. Matta & Ronald N. (2005). Why good project fail Any way. Harvard Business Review , 1 to18.
There are eight critical elements identified by OGC UK (OGC, 2005)51. Lack of clear links between the project and the organisations key strategic priorities,including agreed measures of success.2. Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial ownership and leadership.3. Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.4. Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.5. Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.6. Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money(especially securing delivery of business benefits).7. Lack of understanding of, and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in theorganisation.8. Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supplychain.Lack of clear links between the project and the organisations key strategic priorities,including agreed measures of successThe main priority should be that the project is correlation with the operational and strategicactivities of the organization. The Critical Success Factors should be clearly defined and bedecided in agreement with the key stakeholders. The planning stage of the project is veryessential which requires clear definition of the development as well as the execution stage.Careful monitoring of each step is necessary, which includes analysing lead times and delays.The factors such as time, cost and quality need to be analyzed and planned as per theorganization’s goals.Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial ownership and leadershipThe interdependencies among the various projects must be crystal clear, along with theirbenefits. The corporate governance structure should be properly organized in order to alignthe project with the strategic objectives. Proper commitment is needed from the seniormanagement in terms of time and resources for the successful completion of the project. Thesuccessful delivery of the commitments requires checking of the delivery implications. Theproject should get the necessary approval from the authority in charge. The In-Charge shouldalso have the ability to see that the commitment towards the deliverables is met. a trackrecord of the delivery is required to ensure monitoring of the entire process. The engagementfrom the side of the stakeholders is also necessary in the success of the project. The effectiveinvolvement of the stakeholders in the entire process is essential in terms of their views andunderstanding of the process. Sufficient care towards integrating the project objectivestowards the organizational culture is also required.5 OGC. (2005). Common Causes of Project Failure. Office of Government Commerce .
Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk managementA skilled and experienced project team should be formed with clearly defined roles andresponsibilities. The tasks to be completed should be clear in the team by the authority. Theteam should be provided with required resources both financial and non financial required tomanage the risk inbuilt in the project. A clear system should be in place to monitor andcontrol the expenditure on the project. The objectives of the project as and when realizedshould be monitored. The progress report should be timely communicated to the seniormanagement.Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable stepsThe success of the project requires giving sufficient time to plan for the project and alsodividing the entire process into various stages of implementation. The time span for eachstage should be defined and these time barriers should be monitored and adhered to. At eachstage it is necessary to have review points to monitor the progress made and rectify themistakes done.Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money(especially securing delivery of business benefits).The financial evaluation of the project should be based on the whole life value for money andshould include maintenance and service cost. An approach should be designed to balance thefinancial factors against the quality of the work done.Lack of understanding of, and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in theorganisation.A clear understanding among the service providers and the other stakeholders is verynecessary to avoid any wrong assumptions. The terms relating to the delivery of theobjectives should be clear. The competitive interest in the project should also be checked.The supply side risks should be identified by the senior management. The strategy should bedesigned keeping in mind the entire industry and not on a piecemeal basis. All the partiesmust be clear about their roles and responsibilities, desired outcomes and other key terms anddeadlines. This all must be decided keeping in mind the dynamics of the industry.
How to deal with the failureIn the book “Project Management for IT related Project “ (Roger Ireland, Brain West,Norman Smith & David I. Shepherd, 2007)6 the steps involve in project development arefollowing • Initiation • Feasibility Study • Project Set-up • Requirement analysis & Specification • Design • Construction • Acceptance Testing • Implementation • MaintenanceSo with the help of systematic approach the probability of failure can reduce to a significantlevel, there should be a proper defined “Key ownership” which can help a lot.“Failure Mode Effect Analysis” is another effective tool for identifying & mitigating thefailure risk.6 Roger Ireland, Brain West, Norman Smith & David I. Shepherd. (2007). System Developement Life Cycle. (B.Hughes, Ed.) Project Management for IT related Project .
BibliographyAshkenas, Nadim F. Matta & Ronald N. (2005). Why good project fail Any way. Harvard BusinessReview , 1 to 18.Barry M. Staw & Jerry Ross. (2005). Knowing When to Pull The Plug. harvard Business review onManaging Project .Kerzne, Cleland. (1985). A Project Management Dictionary of Terms.OGC. (2005). Common Causes of Project Failure. Office of Government Commerce .Roger Ireland, Brain West, Norman Smith & David I. Shepherd. (2007). System Developement LifeCycle. (B. Hughes, Ed.) Project Management for IT related Project .Young, T. L. (2010). What Is Sucess. Sucessful Project Management , 5 to 12.