Nobody in IT wants a failed project, yet as we discussed in our last blog post, IT project failure has been a long-standing problem in search of a solution for at least the past two decades.

But, why do so many IT projects fail? What are the reasons they are deemed to be unsuccessful?

In 2012, Gartner published the results of a survey they conducted to answer the above questions. The survey covered a broad spectrum of industry sectors, including retail, and provided findings for small, medium and large IT projects.

  • Small projects had a budget of less than $350,0000.
  • Medium projects had a budget between $350,000 and $1 million.
  • Large projects had a budget greater than $1 million.

The survey measured the following reasons for project failure across all three project sizes:

  • Functionality issues (off spec)
  • Substantially late (time overrun)
  • Quality issues (off spec)
  • High cost variance (cost overrun)
  • Cancelled after launch
  • Not implemented for other reasons

On average, regardless of project size, the study found that 25% of failure is due to time overruns, and 20% due to cost overruns. It can be argued that quality issues are typically related to the original project specification. That being the case, on average 36% of failure can be attributed to delivering less features, functionality or quality than specified.

Why Retail IT Projects Fail

How do your reasons for IT project failure relate to these findings? Are they better, worse or about the same?

Just for fun, and to prove that you aren’t alone if your projects typically take longer than planned, cost more than budgeted and deliver less features and functionality than specified, answer the survey question below. After you click on one of the response options below, you’ll be able to see the results so far.

Having worked as retail commerce implementation specialists for more than 15 years now, our observations are that these results for the entire IT industry are about the same for both large and mid-size North American retailers.

We’ve even noticed that some Retail IT executives have become almost complacent about time and cost overruns and off-spec delivery. The problem has been so bad for so long that these executives seem to accept the situation as the status quo … “that’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it will always be”.

In mid-2014, we decided it was time to challenge the status quo. We studied the hundreds of retail IT projects we have completed over the years. From our observations of what went right and what went wrong, we developed a 3-step process that addresses the root cause of these project failure results. You can learn more about this in a new white paper we’ve just published,entitled, “How to Make Your Next Retail IT Project a Success”.

Using this 3-step process we have consistently been able to deliver projects on-time, on-budget and on-spec for our retail clients. In the white paper we outline best practices that you can follow to implement the same 3-step process for your retail environment.

We invite you to download the white paper now by clicking on the button below.

Download our White Paper about fostering IT Project success