Why do IT projects fail so often?

IT projects are tricky beasts. With so many things that could go wrong it’s no wonder that the title of this Insight piece – Why do IT projects fail so often? – is one of Google’s most searched terms relating to ‘IT project’. But just what is it that goes wrong and how can you steer your project away from these potential pitfalls?


Poor project management

Starting with the obvious, the most common cause of failure is poor project management. Project managers provide the foundation on which everything else rests, so of course you need a good one <<link to project Manager blog>>>. But there’s more to it than that: all key players also need to be invested into the schedule and agreed-upon deadlines, budgets and tasks from the very start.


Failure to respond to testing

The aim of testing is to seek out the gremlins, not just in the code but in the finished product overall. Is it fit for purpose? If it’s not, what changes need to be made?

Having spent months in development, this can create a mindset in an organisation that the finished product must be perfect first time out. Instead of testing then changing the prototype, they can insist that current working processes or other matters must be altered in order to fit around a Beta version’s functionality. This ‘tail wagging the dog’ mindset is rarely a good idea.


Uninvolved sponsors

Whether the development is in-house or outsourced, it is vital that everyone is invested in a project, from the consumer to the person who commissioned the project – and everyone in between. Problems arise when any key player decides that they are too busy to keep checking in. IT projects are universally costly and time-consuming feats that rely on commitment from all in order to succeed.


Insufficient budget

While there’s nothing wrong with being thrifty, starting a project under budget is a waste of money – the project could come to a grinding halt mid-development when the coffers run dry, or the finished product might not even be up to scratch due to too many corners being cut. Either way, if you don’t have a sufficient budget to complete a project, it’s better to hold off until you do, to seek other investment, or to do something more limited yet feasible for the budget you have.


Undefined goals

If there’s one thing that is sure to result in failure, it’s embarking on a project with poorly defined goals. Without a clear brief, no one knows what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. Goals need to be set by you from the beginning, rather than letting them be interpreted by each team member. Cohesion is key and during project conception, you first need to address two principal questions: Why is this project needed and how will its success be measured?



If you’re in the process of starting an IT project, you need the right people on your side. Get in touch with Gazelle Global today to see how we can help.