We’re Making Headway

July 12, 2007

The textbook I have been using in the course the last 4 semesters, Information Technology Project Management, 4th Edition, Kathy Schwalbe, uses excerpts from the Standish Groups 2003 Chaos Report. Some of the data sited are cost overruns at a rate of 43%, which, while still quite large, are a marked improved from 189% (yes, you read one-eight-nine) in 1994. The dollar amount of IT projects in 2002 was $55 billion, which includes canceled projects overruns, compared to $140 billion in 1994.

If you look at the history of how successful projects are there is a dramatic improvement between 1994 and 1998 and then a slight improvement since then. I could never really put my finger on why this period caused such a dramatic improvement.

I always ask the students what they believe the reason for the improvement is between the mid 90’s and a few years ago. The following is a short list of what we usually come up with:

· Improved project management techniques

· Improved estimating and controlling techniques

· Shorter projects (not biting off too much at one time)

· Better developer methodologies

While a case can be made for all of these, it never really made me feel as if we had really come up with the reason for the improvement.

Well, maybe this is it. If you read here you will find one theory from the Founder and Chairman of the Standish Group, Jim Johnson. The dawn of the Internet and the type of development browser based systems were the catalyst for such a dramatic improvement. Need to think about this some, but you know… it makes sense.

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