Success and Failure

A great number of software projects fail. They fail in many different ways, for example:

the developers fail to deliver, the software is delivered, but late and full of errors, the users refuse to use the software, the users use the software, but it fails to improve their business, or to meet their business needs.

These standards of success and failure aren't absolute - one party may judge a project a success, but another will judge it a failure.

There are even more reasons for failure than types of failure. Technical problems may cause a project to fail, but it's more likely that the problem is with the management of the project (by you, your users or your managers). Typical problems include:

© failure to agree or understand the requirements,

© failure to correctly estimate and plan the project, both as a whole and in stages, © failure to control progress and keep effort directed at the right goals, © failure to recognise and manage risks early enough.

As the project manager, you need to be clear minded, and understand how the success of your project will be judged. You then need to manage risks and control the project to maximise your chance of achieving your goals. This chapter discusses why projects fail, and then goes on to define the basic principles for ensuring success.

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