Gauging the success of IT projects is a tricky business. You have to see it from the developer’s perspective and then from the client’s perspective. And these two views may be vastly different. A research conducted in 2007 and discussed in Dr. Dobb’s report attempted to show how IT developers perceive the success of IT-related projects.
In total, the research included 586 respondent, 315 of them being developers while another 105 being project managers. These respondents were asked questions regarding a number of aspects of an IT projects and their responses are enumerated below.
Perception of success by developers:
A number of studies have reported, over the course of years, that nearly half the IT projects fail. However, the developers who responded in this research seem to have a different view. On average, they believed that 70 percent of agile projects and 63 percent of conventional IT projects were successful.
Naturally, this optimistic perception of the success rate of IT projects may be biased since it was coming from the developers of such projects. Moreover, like I said above, project success is a metric which may differ from one person to another. A developer may believe that one he furnishes the required deliverables, the project succeeds. However, a client may believe that the same project has failed because it didn’t address business needs adequately.
An interesting aspect seen in the results of the research is that many developers are quite flexible towards the many limitations on their projects. For instance, 87.3 percent respondents believed that delivering the project with the right quality is more important that providing it at the right time and within budget.
This essentially means that these developers were ready to sacrifice time deadlines and money constraints, and were more concerned about the quality of the project. This flexibility was manifest also when 61.3 percent reported that delivering the completed and full product at a later date is preferable, compared to delivering it on time.
Apart from the obviously misplaced optimism of the developers towards IT projects, what is noticeable in the research results is that developers tend to put too much emphasis on the quality of the project. That is, of course, good yet they need to find a fine balance between the budgetary and time constraints and project quality. At the end of the day, their task is more to satisfy the client than to complete a project to their satisfaction.
Source: Dr. Dobb’s