What factors lead to software project failure?

  • Verner J
  • Sampson J
  • Cerpa N
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Abstract

It has been suggested that there is more than one reason for a software development project to fail. However, most of the literature that discusses project failure tends to be rather general, supplying us with lists of risk and failure factors, and focusing on the negative business effects of the failure. Very little research has attempted an in-depth investigation of a number of failed projects to identify exactly what are the factors behind the failure. In this research we analyze data from 70 failed projects. This data provides us with practitionerspsila perspectives on 57 development and management factors for projects they considered were failures. Our results show that all projects we investigated suffered from numerous failure factors. For a single project the number of such factors ranges from 5 to 47. While there does not appear to be any overarching set of failure factors we discovered that all of the projects suffered from poor project management. Most projects additionally suffered from organizational factors outside the project managerpsilas control. We conclude with suggestions for minimizing the four most common failure factors.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Australia
  • Costs
  • Marketing management
  • Programming
  • Scheduling
  • data analysis
  • failure analysis
  • failure factors
  • project management
  • project risk
  • software development management
  • software development project
  • software fault tolerance
  • software management
  • software project failure
  • software project management
  • software quality

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Authors

  • J Verner

  • J Sampson

  • N Cerpa

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