Root Causes of IT Project Failure Series: Introduction to the Series

    Jeff Parmet
    Jeff Parmet

    DisputeSoft experts have worked on over 100 cases where the central dispute is best summarized as a failed software/IT project implementation. Based on our more than 300 years of combined experience in such matters, we have catalogued the root causes of these more than 100 cases of IT project failure, of which more than 40 have progressed to expert deposition or trial.

    Over the next few months, we will highlight and discuss some of the most prominent root causes of software implementation failure. We invite your comments and feedback. If you have litigated IT failure cases, we would like to hear whether your perspectives on the causes of IT project failure are similar or different.

    Read the introduction to the series as a PDF

    The next blog post in this series covers the legal Causes of Action that are typically pled in these matters to establish necessary foundational context for the more substantive discussions to follow, indicated by the list below. This list highlights the most common root causes identified through our work. Each category or issue will be discussed in its own unique blog, where we explore the issue, the common facts that result in a dispute, the typical positions that each party (e.g., the supplier and customer) takes in these disputes, and the facts, legal issues and areas of opinion presented to an IT causation expert for consideration. Examples of root causes that will be discussed in forthcoming blogs include:

    1. Lack of “Meeting of the Minds” Regarding Requirements
    2. Inadequate Requirements Documentation
    3. Lack of Subject Matter Expertise in Requirements Elicitation
    4. Improper Sign-off and Acceptance of Requirements
    5. Inadequate Requirements Traceability
    6. Unclear Customer and Supplier Responsibilities
    7. Failure to Adapt Business Processes to the New System
    8. Inappropriate Choice of Solution: COTS v. OOTB Solutions
    9. Inappropriate Implementation: Configuration v. Customization
    10. Misrepresentation of Software Capabilities / Functionality
    11. Failure to Manage Scope Creep and Exercise Control
    12. Inadequate Design Documentation
    13. Faulty Design
    14. Poor Project Management
    15. Inadequate and/or Unqualified Project Personnel
    16. Failure to Adhere to an Established Project Schedule and Budget
    17. Faulty Data Migration
    18. Inadequate Testing
    19. Poor Defect Management / Poor Maintainability
    20. Failure to Adhere to SLAs

    This list is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a birds-eye view of the complexities of IT projects, and the numerous root causes of their failure. Many, if not all of these topics, are deserving of far more than a short blog post. Indeed, many, or most of them, deserve their own blog series, which is exactly what we intend to do with this series. When we reach a topic that, in our experience, warrants a much more detailed treatment, we will further sub-serialize that topic.

    If there are other topics that you would like DisputeSoft to cover, just let us know here and we will make every effort to accommodate, though we cannot tell you when your topic will be covered. If you would like to be notified each time an article in this blog series is published, sign-up here.

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