Research Shows High Failure Rate on IT Projects

A September survey by the Gartner Group, a technology consulting company, revealed that approximately 40% of information technology (IT) projects do not produce their intended results—an indication of how badly some companies need the consulting services of a tech-savvy CPA. Gartner’s prediction that global IT spending will reach $3.3 trillion by 2002 highlighted the broader implications of this finding.

One of the survey’s more striking conclusions was that the supposed shortage of IT staff was more often a matter of mismanaging available workers than of not being able to find enough of them.

On average, a cancelled IT project lasted only 14 of the 27 weeks for which it was scheduled. Not only did this cause companies to spend an average of at least $1 million a year for unsatisfactory results, but it also wasted professional resources. The survey found that 10% of the typical organization’s IT staff worked on tasks that produced no business benefit.

Further, project staff typically anticipated the cancellation of a doomed project by six weeks, the survey revealed. During such periods, the team members worked on tasks they knew would be ultimately fruitless.

To address the ineffective management that played a central role in these failures, Gartner recommended additional training for project leaders, as well as the establishment of project oversight groups. The survey found 60% of the organizations polled did not offer project management training and 61% lacked a supervisor charged with ongoing evaluation of projects’ viability and, where appropriate, their timely termination and the reassignment of staff to other activities.

Gartner Group, Inc., and its subsidiary, TechRepublic, Inc., interviewed 1,375 IT professionals in North America during the course of the 2000 survey.

Additional information about the survey is available on the Web at .


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