Tuesday, 18 January 2011

70%+ Failure rate of projects?

Many people talk about the high failure rate of projects, but rarely discuss where the numbers come from. I recently was working on a paper to discuss common issues surrounding 'lessons learned' and in order to back up the stats on failure rate, I had to track down where the fabled "more than 70% of projects fail" came from.

An American consulting company called Standish Group published 'The Chaos Report' (1995) which analysed project failure rates and failure modes.

As with many reports and documents, it is widely discussed and often disagreed with but many of the points made within it are quite valid and backed up by other (more academic) thinking.

My view? I'm not going to tell you what to think about it, but I would strongly recommend reading it so that you can make up your own mind, but at least know what you've been quoting.

You can find the report quite easily online - just use the key words 'chaos report'

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Training project managers in the UK

As a student of project management, I read a lot of project books and papers.

Much of this makes sense and is useful, but occasionally something will come along that is truly inspiring to read.

Recently this happened when I found a paper published in 1989 entitled "Training project managers in the UK" by Reginald E W Harland. I read this paper and was completely blown away by how much sense it made and how easy it was to develop yourself, just from some simple tips about learning from others and reading around the subject.

Harland's background has some pedigree as well. He was Air Marshall Harland during his time in the RAF and then became Technical Director of WS Atkins in his retirement.

Obviously I cant print the article here, due to copyright reasons, but if you can get hold of a copy, I strongly suggest you read it.