Why Do Information Technology Projects Fail?

Why Do Information Technology Projects Fail?

IT is driving the 21st-century economy, but not all IT projects are meant to be. According to a 2017 report by the Project Management Institute (PMI), 14 percent of all IT projects fail. Almost a third of successful projects did not meet their initial goals. More than 4 in 10 exceeded budget and nearly half blew their stated deadline. 

Address these six factors to maximize the success of your IT project:

  1. Deliver on the deadline
  2. Meet the set budget
  3. Fulfill the intended function
  4. Achieve use by clients
  5. Satisfy investors
  6. Meet the original goal

If your project fulfilled all six criteria, we can safely say it was a success. Trying to balance all six points can be challenging in the best of times. Using these criteria, however, we invite you to look at why so many IT projects fail, so you can avoid the same happening to yours.

Here’s what to do to meet all six factors. 

1. Define the project

What does the client want? Did the project manager understand the client’s needs? Too many projects fail due to misunderstandings and lack of communication. 

Before embarking on a project, allow no uncertainty regarding the project’s goal. The project creators must meet the people that will make it happen. Drifting project objectives are responsible for a whopping 36 percent of project failures. By avoiding misunderstandings and keeping everyone on the same page, you can limit failure significantly for an IT project.

2. Avoid leadership and management failure

Flexibility, excellent communication and effective management are vital. The development team must be able to think outside the box and come up with original and practical solutions for the problems they encounter. It’s also wise for progress to be measured and reviewed regularly.

Ignoring practical evidence in favor of following a profoundly optimistic and theoretically sound project plan is a recipe for failure. Theory rarely mirrors reality. Maintaining a goal-oriented attitude while respecting the original goals and needs of the client is a better way to go. 

Another vital aspect to take into account is how implicated the client or sponsors are in the project. According to the PMI report, 27 percent of tech projects failed due to sponsors pulling out. The leadership role for an IT project should involve keeping people up to date about the impact of the project and excited regarding its progress and its objectives.

3. Budget

Failure to balance a budget is another reason projects fail. The main factor affecting budgets is poor initial estimation.

The budget for any project is often thought of as an educated “guesstimate,” especially in the initial phases. Inexperienced managers tend to propose wildly optimistic project budgets. They often ignore the things that can and will go wrong on a project. Budgeters must look unflinchingly at this unpopular collection of problems, however, and adjust the budget accordingly.

Mining data for similar projects is a much better way to provide an estimate, so as to not depend on human perception. How long similar project took and what the costs were is a more accurate way to estimate the budget.

4. Hone time management skills

Lack of personnel, underestimating the time needed to bring the project to fruition, and even technical issues with data or equipment can delay a project. The sound of a clock ticking often proceeds the sound of nails hammered into the lid of an IT project.

Just as with budgeting, the best policy is to add what seems like extra time to the initial estimate. If things go without a hitch, the project will beat the deadline. The client will rejoice. If not, you’ll have some leeway to fix the situation before the deadline.

5. Motivate the teams 

Updating everyone involved in the project can be challenging. It can be unpleasant too, if the project encounters unexpected difficulties. However, project leaders must keep clients, team members, and specialists up-to-date and motivated throughout. 

Procrastination accounts for a massive 11 percent of all project failures. A successful IT project is one in which everyone understands the stage of the project and is moving in the same direction as everyone else.

Keep your eyes open and stare down those hard truths that accompany project planning. Here’s one that applies to almost any service: you can categorize most services as good, cheap or fast. At most, you can have two at once. Succeeding in an IT project means understanding that. It means being realistic about primary goals and their obstacles, likely or otherwise. It’s about measuring progress and keeping everyone involved on track. It means being realistic and trying to avoid the planning fallacy, which means that humans tend to underestimate time and costs and overestimate the benefits.

With paying attention to these factors, there’s a chance those failed IT projects could have been a success. How would those projects impact our world? 

Are you an IT professional with management and leadership skills who wants to breathe life into valuable IT projects? Contact me at Concero Technology Group. We’ll help you find a place where you can be part of a successful team. 

Blair Turley

Blair Turley

Senior Professional Recruiter

Watch Blair’s spotlight or connect with him on LinkedIn 

How to Succeed as an IT Project Manager

How to Succeed as an IT Project Manager

When companies are upgrading technology or implementing new systems, they need someone who can create a plan, execute it, and handle incidents as they happen. An IT project manager is someone who works with the IT team and business stakeholders to ensure that IT initiatives will be a success.

Why an IT Project Manager is Beneficial
IT project managers provide a very valuable role by promoting collaboration and being a champion of forward thinking. Most importantly, they take on the challenge of mitigating problems before or as they occur — with a positive, helpful attitude. With a project manager in place, a company is more likely to see plans reach completion in a more efficient manner.

Project managers can also help to reduce risk. This is because they have a specific focus to look at the “big picture” of a project or plan and identify problems that could occur. They are also in charge of keeping the project on track, as far as meeting milestones and deadlines, while managing problems that may arise.

Without an IT project manager, if something goes awry, risk factors are increased because someone has to both move the project forward, while also fix issues. Conversely, with a great IT project manager on the job, the whole team will be working within the parameters of a plan that has already been assessed for risk. The secondary options are ready to be put into place, if that is needed.

This is especially relevant if the company deals with regulatory compliance in any capacity. Private information, used in industries like banking and healthcare, must be heavily protected from risk every step of the way, and an IT project manager will build that into the plans from the very start.

Hallmarks of a Good IT Project Manager
Good Communicator
The ideal project manager typically requires experience unless filling an entry-level position. Communication skills are extremely important, specifically the ability to clearly update and respond to the business stakeholders, who in-turn, must be able to trust and rely on the IT project manager to appropriately implement feedback.

Detailed Oriented
Being a project manager is ideal for people who are detailed minded and conscientious. These traits are useful for the type of comprehensive documentation and tracking that is typically required for IT projects.

This position requires someone who is able to handle multiple deadlines and lots of input, while still being personable and friendly. Knowing when, where, and how to talk to colleagues or vendors to get intended results is also imperative. Some of the most desirable qualities in an IT project manager are confidence in his/her work, understanding of the project, and a likable personality.

Comfortable with Technology
An IT project manager must possess a good understanding of what is achievable by the technical team and to create realistic and manageable plans. Being open to new ideas or feedback from the IT team is important in meeting goals. Experience with Microsoft Project, JIRA or similar applications is useful for keeping track of a project’s progress. Mastering programs like this is vital to make sure everyone is on the right path and for finding potential problem areas before they cause insurmountable issues.

“A PMP certification is always helpful to have for your career, as it can boost your attractiveness as a candidate and will add to your overall skills and knowledge,” says Amy Drozda, senior client relationship executive. “However, we have found that experience, technical knowledge and the right personality will make the bigger difference during the hiring process.”

How Concero Technology Group Helps
For project managers looking for a new position, Concero helps by getting an understanding of their experience and aligning that with what a company is looking to accomplish. Project management has a lot to do with matching personality and company culture, and that’s what we do best.

IT project managers can rest assured that we will find a place where they can achieve their dreams and improve their skills; and for companies seeking project management, our expert candidates will add energy, passion, and focus to any company’s strategy.

Whether you are an IT professional wanting to launch your career to new heights or a company in need of top tech talent, we are here to help. Let’s talk. Contact us today.


Blair Turley

Blair Turley

Senior Professional Recruiter

Watch Blair’s spotlight or connect with him on LinkedIn