Project Failure

I just ran across a post by Michael Krigsman titled “Eight Causes of IT Project Failure”. According to a recent report from the UK National Audit office about IT project failures, the following reasons were cited as the top reasons for failure:

  1. Lack of clear link between the project and the organization’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success.
  2. Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial ownership and leadership.
  3. Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
  4. Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.
  5. Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
  6. Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits).
  7. Lack of understanding of and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in the organization.
  8. Lack of effective project team integration between clients, the supplier team and the supply chain

In a recently published White Paper, I addressed this same topic (See the post on Strategic Project Management here or here) and methodologies to help to ensure project success. An excerpt from the White Paper is provided below:

Strategic Project Management is really nothing more than picking the right projects for the organization to ensure optimal returns. This sounds very simple and straightforward, but research shows that there are many organizations that have overlooked the important fact of aligning projects with corporate strategy. The fact that SPM is often overlooked can be seen in research performed by Stanleigh (2006) and report in the article titled “From Crisis to Control: New Standards for Project Management”. Stanleigh reports that a fraction of projects undertaken by organizations (roughly 2.5 percent) are 100% successful (Stanleigh, 2006, p. 1). Stanleigh discusses the need for organizations to ensure that only those projects that are aligned with the corporate strategic vision be undertaken and he describes four key strategies that assist organizations in regaining control over their projects and ensuring strategic fit.

This white paper outlines a framework that can be used by organizations to help ensure successful projects. This framework is outlined below:

  • Strategic Alignment of Projects
  • Cultivate a Project Management Culture
  • Create Best Practices
  • Track and Measure Projects and Outcomes
  • Create Open Channels of Communication

All of the reasons given in the UK Audit report can be solved by implementing a Strategic Project management framework. By implementing a Strategic Project Management framework, an organization can help to guard against project failures.


  • Stanleigh, M. (2006, March/April). From crisis to control: New standards for project management. Ivey Business Journal, 1-4.

To read the white paper in its entirety, download “Strategic Project Management.

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