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10 Common Reasons Why IT Projects Fail

Problems are always obvious in hindsight, or when they are happening to someone else. It is only when you are directly in the thick of things that you might miss the blatant signs of impending doom. For that reason, it is worth reminding yourself of the many common ways that projects can go wrong. In an article for DZone, Ulf Eriksson discusses 10 of the most common reasons that IT projects fail:

  1. Lack of management interest
  2. Insufficient budgets
  3. Lack of proper planning
  4. Choosing the wrong technology
  5. Scope creep
  6. Overly-optimistic project schedule
  7. Overstaffing projects
  8. Poor communication
  9. Data migration by the wrong personnel
  10. Little testing or skipping testing

Harbingers of Doom

“Poor communication” is a symptom of almost all failing projects, and it often crops up in tandem with other common reasons for failure. For instance, if management does not understand or is generally disinterested in an IT project, then the project likely does not align with strategy and may get canceled. Or if a hastily-assembled project plan overstaffs a project as a fruitless way of hitting aggressive deadlines, this is another case of poor communication.

A more technical way that IT projects can fail is through selection of the wrong technology, such as the wrong programming language. What is “wrong” is not always obvious either, because you might select the right technology but not have enough staff with the skill to use it. Another technical way projects can fail is when the wrong people handle data migration:

Data migration does not occur in all projects, but this key point is generally overlooked so we included it in the reasons why IT projects fail. The common flaw in data migration is too few or less skilled personnel are assigned to this task. By the end of the project, it becomes evident that the data migration was a complex task which needed more attention. For example, implementing generic data structures for data migration requires expertise. Hence, you need to plan ahead for any data migration in the project.

A project also needs to be properly funded, resourced, and set into a clear scope in order to be successful; you surely already know that, but again—it is important to get a reminder from time to time. For a longer discussion on how each of these reasons contributes to project failure, you can view the original article here:

John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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