We’ve probably all had the experience of a tech project going really wrong. Whether it’s upgrading everyone to new computers at work or your church launching a new website, failure is all too common when it comes to projects like this. Check out the stats:

A recent survey from Innotas  shows that 55 percent of companies have had  IT projects fail in the past 12 months, and unfortunately, this is far from a new trend. Stats from the survey show the 55 percent failure rate is and increase from the 32 percent reported in the previous year. The takeaway from this is that for all that businesses like to talk about technological prowess, they still can’t seem to make their IT projects successful a majority of the time. To avoid IT project failure, organizations need to understand what leads to that failure in the first place.

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Every IT project should be closely tied to an overall goal — a clear destination that the organization is trying to reach.  Too often the main focus is making sure the project is delivered within the set budget and within the established timeframe. While going over budget and past deadline is certainly not desirable, actually ending up with something people can use gets pushed aside. In fact, in many cases companies fail to realize when IT projects aren’t even contributing to business value.

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Even when an organization has a clear goal, things can still go very wrong. One of the main reasons for this, is that often times organizations don’t provide the necessary resources for a project.  You need enough money to accomplish the goat and afford the right equipment.

The same survey from Innotas shows that 74 percent of respondents said a lack of resources was the main reason their IT projects failed. A company could have all the right plans in place with the right personnel, but if it fails to give them the right tools, funds, and infrastructure to complete it, it’s no surprise when the results are disappointing.

Of course, even with all the resources needed and a detailed plan, IT projects can flounder if the team in charge of them isn’t up to the task, and team success often depends on expert leadership skills. Project management expertise is an absolute must for a project to be successful. That all begins with choosing people that will help get the job done right. Knowing precisely what skills are needed and who would fit best in which positions are all essential for any project to succeed.

In cases where there is a lack of leadership, there is generally a reluctance to accept responsibility for setbacks. Good leaders also know what steps they need to take next. At the same time, leaders who try to micromanage everything may also create more problems than they solve. A lot of micromanagement can end up hurting individual motivation and create discord amongst the team. Skilled leaders need to be able to identify these problems, figure out ways to solve them, and basically own every aspect of the IT project.

Much of this comes down to more effective communication and collaboration for teams. A team that is well run, that is always talking with each other and offering ideas and solution, will have a greater chance of success than one that doesn’t. Part of this comes down to how businesses are organized in the first place. If a company or group is tightly compartmentalized, it’s hard for people to communicate effectively.

For technical projects, every single person involved needs to know what is a priority, even if they aren’t directly involved with it. With better communication, IT project teams will recognize big data opportunities, methods for improving infrastructure, or security solutions, just as a few examples.

Failure can be avoided. It may be a common occurrence, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it has to happen. By knowing the reasons behind these failures, businesses will be able to steer clear of the problems and focus on getting their projects up and running. Ever had the experience of a big project going wrong at work or in an organization you belong to? Let us know about it in the comments.

~ Rick