Catalogue of Catastrophe FAQ

  1. What constitutes a project failure?  
    Success and failure are certainly very subjective.  The “Catalogue of Catastrophe” reflects those projects that have been cancelled due to quality or delivery problems, those that have encountered significant budget or schedule overruns and those projects that have gone live resulting in significant service disruption to users or the public.
  2. Why are so many projects from the UK, Australia and the USA, what about the rest of the world?  
    For a number of reasons:  English is my first language and hence I read press reports and blogs written in English.
    The media in certain countries are more interested in exposing troubled projects than in others.   The UK and Australia win the award for having the most “proactive” media and project failures are commonly covered. In contrast, the media in other nations pay less attention and often even major disasters only warrant a brief mention (if at all).
    Ultimately I believe all countries suffer the same problems and the projects in the catalogue should be seen as representative samples only. 
    Note: If you are aware of a significant project that is missing from the catalogue please use the following form to report the project and we will investigate adding the story – Submit a project report
  3. Why are so many projects governement projects?
    Governement projects are subject to more public scrutiny than those in the private sector.  The use of public funds and the transparency involved in government projects mean that it is easier for the media to get information concerning public sector projects. Project failures in the private sector usually only come to light if the project causes major service disruptions to the public or if legal action is taken following the collapse of a project.  Despite the differing situations, most readers will likely recognise that the private sector has its own fair share of  troubled projects even if they are not publicised.
  4. Are you able to accurately identify the root causes of these failures?
    Where available contributing causes are included in each posting.  It should however be noted that although these reports give clues to the issues that resulted in problems they generally give too little information to establish with certainty what went wrong.  Because these reports are filtered through journalists rather than those who specialise in studying troubled projects, the contributing factors are often an over simplification of the real dynamics that lead to failure.
  5. Why are the projects listed so large, surely smaller projects fail as well?
    Many smaller projects certainly do run into the same types of problems as those listed in the catalogue. These projects however rarely make the press and hence go unreported.
  6. Can I report a troubled project?
    Yes, if you are aware of troubled project please let us know.  Note however that we only publish in the catalogue projects for which public domain reports are available.  We are not able to publish reports of events that happen within organizations that have not been made available to the public by the organizations involved.   To report a troubled project use the following link – Submit a project report

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