A number of studies have been completed that look into the success / failure rates of projects. These studies indicate that serious problems exist across a broad cross-section of industries. Below is a summary of some recent reports.
Source : Project Management Institute (PMI)
Type of survey : Pulse of the profession
Date : 2017
PMI’s pulse of the profession survey reviews the adoption of Project Management practices and the degree of success organizations have in delivering genuine business value through their project investments.
- 10 percent of the funds organization spent on projects are wasted due to poor project performance
Source material – Pulse of the profession
Source : McKinsey & Company in conjunction with the University of Oxford
Type of survey : Study on large scale IT Projects
Date : 2012
A study of 5,400 large scale IT projects (projects with initial budgets greater than $15M) finds that the well known problems with IT Project Management are persisting. Among the key findings quoted from the report:
- 17 percent of large IT projects go so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company
- On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted
Source material – Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value
Source : Geneca
Type of survey : Interview based study of software projects
Date : 2010 – 2011
Interviews with 600 people closely involved in software development projects finds that even at the start of a project many people expect their projects to fail!
- “Fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework” mean that 75% of project participants lack confidence that their projects will succeed.
- A truly stunning 78% of respondents reported that the “Business is usually or always out of sync with project requirements”
Source material – Why a Majority of Business and IT Teams Anticipate Their Software Development Projects Will Fail
Source : KPMG (New Zealand)
Type of survey : Survey of 100 businesses across a broad cross section of industries
Date : Dec 2010 (updated 2013)
KPMG survey of Project Management practices in New Zealand finds some truly startling results;
- Survey shows an incredible 70% of organizations have suffered at least one project failure in the prior 12 months!
- 50% of respondents also indicated that their project failed to consistently achieve what they set out to achieve!
Reference article – Most Business Experience Project Failure
Source material – KPMG Project Management Survey 2013
Source : IBM
Type of survey : Survey of 1,500 change management executives
Date : Oct 2008
IBM survey in the success / failure rates of “change” projects finds;
Only 40% of projects met schedule, budget and quality goals
Best organizations are 10 times more successful than worst organizations
Biggest barriers to success listed as people factors: Changing mindsets and attitudes – 58%. Corporate culture – 49%. Lack of senior management support – 32%.
Underestimation of complexity listed as a factor in 35% of projects
For source data read – Making change work
Source : Logica Management Consulting
Type of survey : Survey of 380 senior executives in western Europe
Date : Oct 2008
Logica Management Consulting and the Economist Intelligence Unit studied success rates for business process change projects (most of which have significant technology components). A cross section of different industries were included in the survey.
- 35% of organizations abandoned a major project in the last 3 years
- 37% of business process change projects fail to deliver benefits
Source data now archived from internet
Source : United States Government Accountability Office
Type of survey : Review of federally funded technology projects
Date : 31 Jul 2008
Study finds 413 of 840 (49%) federally funded IT projects are either poorly planned, poorly performing or both.
Project Railhead provides a good example of the types of problems involved. In the Railhead case the complete $500M investment is in jeopardy.
For source data read – GAO-08-1051T
Source : Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
Scope : 400 respondents
Date : May 2008
- 43% of organizations have suffered a recent project failure
- At a typical enterprise 20% of technology investments are not fully realized
Source – IT Magazine
Source : Guardian Newspaper (UK)
Scope : Investigation into government waste in the UK since year 2000
Date : 5 Jan 2008
Study of government projects reveals $4billion in wasted efforts as a result of failed projects
“Only 30% of our projects and programs are successful” -Joe Harley, programme and systems delivery officer at the Department for Work and Pensions
For source article read – Not fit for purpose
Source : Dr Dobbs Journal
Scope : 586 respondents to email survey (Dr Dobbs subscriber list)
Date : Aug 2007 and Oct 2011
70% of respondents had been involved in a project they knew would fail right from the start
Success rates for Agile projects 72%, success rate for traditional approaches 63%
For source data read – IT Project Success Rates Survey (2007 version no archived). Updated version 2011 – 2011 Project Success Rates
Source : KPMG – Global IT Project Management Survey
Scope : Survey of 600 organizations globally
Date : 2005
In just a 12 month period 49% of organizations had suffered a recent project failure
In the same period only 2% of organizations reported that all of their projects achieved the desired benefits
86% of organizations reported a shortfall of at least 25% of targetted benefits across their portfolio of projects
Many organizations fail to measure benefits so they are unaware of their true status in terms of benefits realization
For source data read – Global IT Project Management Survey