Preventing IT Project Failure




This article presents a framework to understand how and why project failure occurs "and, more importantly, how such projects can be recognized at an early stage and salvaged if possible, or abandoned if necessary"

The authors argue that IT project failure does not happen overnight. Instead, it occurs through a process known as escalating commitment to a failing course of action. Executives can prevent IT projects from becoming the business equivalent of "what astrophysicists know as black holes, absorbing large quantities of matter and energy...knowledge of how escalation develops over time, what the warning signs are, and how the process can be halted...understand how and why escalation occurs and, more importantly, how such projects can be recognized at an early stage and salvaged if possible, or abandoned if necessary"
 
"In this article, we briefly describe the EuroBank case, present the framework, and demonstrate its general applicability by applying it to another case of IT project escalation, namely, the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ Database Redevelopment Project. We then extend the framework so that managers can use it to detect whether a project is at risk of becoming a black hole, determine to what stage the process has advanced, and initiate corrective action."

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