In a survey conducted in 2007 by Scott W Ambler (author and Agile development expert) found that developers have a very different perspective of what IT failure is than Project Mangers. Why is this important to a CIO? Fundamentally, if the people actually doing the work have a different understanding of what failure is, there is the potential that they will “fail” in your eyes but not see why. The survey found that the developers indicated that over 70 percent of agile project succeeded, and 63 percent of traditional projects succeeded. The article's author ( Michael Krigsman) explains these perceptions through two factors: pointing to their own projects, and defining success through technical factors and not whether deliverables met the needs of the business' requirements. A possible solution (though not an easy one) is to define what IT failure and success look like and create that definition for the entire scope of the organization:
Defining IT failure or success is a thankless, almost impossible, task. Every organization and department must evaluate its own priorities on each project. For example, one department may decide a strategic project is so important that cost and schedule concerns are not an issue; in this case, the only priority is completing the work, regardless of cost. For another project, which is less important to the business, this same company may demand project completion within rigidly controlled time and budget parameters. The key to IT success lies in balancing the competing goals of delivering business value for a specific cost. Every department in an organization faces this identical challenge and IT is no different. In many companies, IT seems to have a free pass to run over-budget at will — no organization should accept this.