Why Do So Many Technology Projects Fail?

IT projects have a reputation of overpromising and underdelivering. Results do not meet expectations, budgets run amok, or, in extreme cases, the project is abandoned altogether. In fact, 50% of businesses experience “failure” of an IT project, reports CIO.com.

The larger they are, the harder they fall. Large projects are more complex, include numerous departments and stakeholders, and have more moving parts that are dependent on each other. ComputerWorld reported that of 3,555 IT projects conducted over a five year period that had labor costs of at least $10 million only 6.4% of them were successful.

The root cause of failure: poor project management

The primary reason for failure – in 54% of the cases – is poor project management.

Other reasons management experts commonly cite as causes for tech project failure include:
• Poor or ambiguous sponsorship from executives and other stakeholders
• Confusing or changing requirements and goals
• Lack of communication across departments and functions
• Insufficient resources to get the job done
• Inadequate technical skills
• Poor design or inappropriate use of new technology

Note that almost all of these reasons are fundamentally tied to – and can be addressed by – project management.
Even if IT projects end up achieving their goals, ineffective project management can cause unnecessary delays and headaches for everyone involved. Companies pay a premium of as much as 60% on time and budget when they don’t accurately develop and manage project requirements, according to ZDNet.

Unfortunately, it’s often the technical team that is blamed for a project that fails, even if the cause is lack of project management.

How can project management skills help IT?

Project management and technology know-how are a powerful combination. A project manager with an IT background is better able to anticipate technical hurdles and speak the language of the implementation team.

On the flip side, a technologist with project management skills can better define technical requirements, manage budget and resources and deliver the final product to meet expectations.

It’s not just multi-year, multi-million dollar projects that benefit from strong project management from IT staff. Even hardware and infrastructure installations, software deployments, service enhancements and upgrades benefit from a technical project manager.

What’s more, technologists with project management skills become much more valuable employees and are better able to position themselves for promotions and career mobility. In fact, U.S. salaries for IT project managers are about 25% higher than all other tech professionals.

Ready to make the jump into technology project management?

Investing in project management training can help you build the right foundation. Look for a course that is taught by experts who can provide real-life examples as well as project management tools and templates to set you up for success.

As well as the “hard” skills for budgeting and planning you’d expect to learn in a project management course, an experienced instructor will also help you practice some of those “soft” management skills necessary for project success.

Build the skills you need for successful project management.

Learn more about TEKnowLogical’s business training courses.