When has an IT project failed?

I'm certain most of you have read, or heard, someone somewhere quoting statistics about the failure rate of IT projects.

"Eighty percent of all IT projects fail," they may have explained.

For clarity's sake, that number 80 is an arbitrary one, perhaps you've heard 70 percent, or 60 percent, or another percentage.

The point is not the precise percentage of IT projects that fail, but the definition of failure itself. Is going over budget on an application rollout, for instance, really failure? I don't think so.

Is delivering a month late on a project that ultimately saves your company mil-lions while enhancing productivity the same thing as a failed effort? Well, no, it's not.

That said, it is true that some IT projects fail, are abandoned and eventually begun again, typically with a different vendor.

How do you determine when an IT project fails? And, what percentage of IT projects that you have worked on qualifies as a failure? Write to me at: tom_sullivan@infoworld.com.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.