We often hear or read about various success and failure stories of projects. But what is success or failure and what criteria should organisations use to identify success or failure? What factors lead to a successful or failure project? Cleland and Ireland  argue that since each individual or group of people who are involved in a project have different needs and expectations, they likely interpret their project’s success in the context of their own way of understanding. Most times their assessment is not influenced to any great extent by the wider public perception [Lim and Mohamed, 1999]. Thomsett  provides as an example, the Sydney Opera House Project. The Sydney Opera House project went 16 times over budget and took 4 times as long to finish as had been originally planned. However, the final impact of the completed project was so big that no one remembers the original missed goals. Oddly enough the project was a big success for the people involved and at the same time a big failure from the project management perspective. This argument is also supported by Thomas and Fernandez [2008, p. 733] who contend that while a project may go over budget and schedule [and deemed a failure] its success may be measured by the response to the actual use of the project over time.
On the other hand, the Millennium Dome in London was an example of a project that was completed on time and on budget, but in the eyes of the British people was considered a failure because it didn’t deliver the awe and glamour that it was supposed to generate. In the same way that quality requires both conformance to the specifications and fitness for use, project success requires a combination of product success [service, result, or outcome] and project management success [Duncan, 2004].
The difference between criteria and factors is fuzzy for many people. The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary describes a criterion as “a standard by which you judge, decide about or deal with something” while a factor is explained as “a fact or situation which influences the result of something”. The success or failure of a project can be judged differently by people based on their purposes and criteria. It is clear now that critical factors can lead to a series of events which ultimately meet the overall success criteria of the project, so they shouldn’t be used as synonymous terms.
Kate Davis , Roger Atkinson , and Farzana Mir & Ashly Pinnington , provide other insights into this topic and suggest many other criteria for success.
This assignment requires you firstly to identify a real world case: either a successful IT project or a failed IT project, and then based on the criteria you identified [from the literature] explain why the project either succeeded or failed. There are many references on the theme of IT project success or failure, and hence you will need to do some research to set up your criteria. The following references will help you start the process.
You can select a case from secondary data available in the public domain or from within your own organisation. The report should include the following information:
- Background of the company and the project case which you have
- Discussion of standard criteria, such as those emerging in the reference
- Identification and justification of the criteria you think
- Analysis of the case based on the criteria
- Presentation of appropriate
- Provision of suggestions or recommendations in the event that the project should be re-run in the
Atkinson, R 1999, Project Management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, its time to accept other success criteria. International Journal of Project Management, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 337-342.
Berntsson-Svensson, R and Aurum, A 2006, ‘Successful software project and products: An empirical investigation, International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering’, Proceedings: 2006 ACM/IEEE international symposium on Empirical software engineering, ACM/IEEE International Symposium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pp.144-153.
Christensen, CM and Overdorf, M 2000, ‘Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change’, Harvard Business Review, March-April, pp.66-76.
Chua, AYK 2009, ‘Exhuming IT Projects from their Graves: An analysis of eight failure cases and their risk factors’, Journal of Computer Information Systems, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 22-30
Cleland, DI and Ireland, LR 2004, Project manager’s portable handbook, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York. Coronado, RB and Antony,J 2002, ‘Critical success factors for the successful implementation of six sigma projects in organisations’, The TQM Magazine, vol. 14 no. 2, pp.92 – 99.
Cooke-Davies, T 2002, ‘The ‘real’ success factors on projects’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 20, pp. 185-190
Davis, K 2013, Different Stakeholder Groups And Their Perceptions Of Project Success, International Journal of Project Management, accepted 5th June currently in press, JPMA-01512, pp. 1-13.
Devos, J, Landeghem, HV and Deschoolmeester, D 2008, ‘Outsourced Information Systems Failures in SMEs: a Multiple Case Study’, Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 73-82
Duncan, WR 2004, ‘Defining and Measuring Project Success’, Project Management Partners, viewed 1 May 2013, http://www.pmpartners.com/resources/defmeas_success.html
Fowler, J, Horan, P, and Cope, C 2007, ‘How an “Imperative” IS Development was Saved from a Failing Course of Action – A Case Study’, Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology [IISIT], vol. 4, pp. 395-406
Lim, CS and Mohamed, MZ 1999, ‘Criteria of project success: an exploratory re-examination’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 243-248,
Marchewka, JT 2012, ‘Information technology project management: providing measurable organizational value’, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Danvers, MA. [Chapter 1, pp 5-13 The State of IT Project Management].
Mir, FA and Pinnington, AH 2013, Exploring the Value of Project Management: Linking Project Management Performance and Project Success, International Journal of Project Management, accepted 14th May currently in press, JPMA-01545, pp. 1-16.
Natovich, J 2003, ‘Vendor Related Risks in IT Development: A Chronology of an Outsourced Project Failure’, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 409-419.
Schwalbe, K 2014. Information Technology Project Management, 7th Edition, Thomson Cengage Learning. Boston, USA.
Thomas, G and Fernandez, W 2008, Success in IT Projects: A Matter of Definition, International Journal of Project Management, vol.26 pp. 733-742
Thomsett, R 2002, Radical project management, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Yeo, KT 2002, ‘Critical failure factors in information system projects’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 241-246.
Note that the list of references is by no means exhaustive. It is expected that you will do your own wider research and find suitable references for your report.
Assessment Deliverables [the tasks]
As suggested above this assignment requires you firstly to identify a case: either a successful project or a failed project, and then based on the criteria you identified explain why the project either succeeded or failed. There are many references on the theme of IT project success or failure, and hence you will need to do some research to set up your criteria.
Your report is to be typewritten as a Word.doc, in English, and printed on A4 pages. The paper should be written in clear, plain language, so that non-expert users can easily understand it. The report must be properly constructed, it should contain all the necessary parts that a report is required to have. Include all relevant documents and support materials [if required] in an appendix. All sources quoted in your report should be correctly referenced and included in a Reference or Bibliography or both. Swinburne University has adopted the “Harvard Referencing System” for all reports. It is therefore expected that you will also use this reference system in your final report.
Word limit of 2000 to 2500. [not including the case study (if provided), appendix, front page(s), references and TOC]
On the front pages of all assessments submitted you must include:
- Full name and student ID
- Unit code, assessment number, due date and % weighting
- Assessment name and a descriptive title of your chosen topic
- Signed declaration as worded below:
- I hold a copy of this assignment that can be produced if the original is lost/damaged. To the best of my belief, no part of this assignment has been copied from any other student’s work or from any other source except where due acknowledgement is made in the No part has been written for me/us by any other person, except where such collaboration has been authorised by the lecturer concerned.
- Signature and
Assessments without this information on the cover will not be marked
Assessments should be submitted in a word.docx or word.doc ONLY. Any other files required should be imbedded into the word document or attached to the appendix. Submit one file only. Do NOT submit PDF files or the like as these will not be accepted for assessment. Submit the report via Blackboard INF30029 unit website only, assistance can be obtained from the ADSHelp  9214 5295.
Do not submit any assessments by eMail to the tutor or convenor. Assessment Procedures
This assessment procedure describes the process followed by your tutor and convenor in arriving at a grade allocation for this assignment. The procedure is as follows:
Grading of work is undertaken by the group’s tutor in the first instance, followed by verification procedures designed to achieve uniformity of standards in the awarding of grades.
- It is expected that your report be of acceptable content and structure as this is a final year undergraduate A clearly understand the submission requirements is essential.
- You will not pass if you do not comply with the assessment task
- The work you submit must be your work It must be YOUR work only and nobody else’s.
- You MUST submit the report by using the Assistance can be obtained from ADSHelp  9214 5295.
- Don’t forget to keep a If your assessment task goes astray, whether your fault or ours, you will be required to re-produce it. Lack of back-up will not meet with any sympathy whatsoever!
- Late submission of assignments may result in a lower grade for the assessment task in terms of the Swinburne assessment guidelines as suggested in the unit
Sample Grade Descriptions
The grade descriptions represent features typically to be found in work at each grade level; they do not attempt to match or describe precisely the work of any individual student.
HD – Demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues relevant to the assignment tasks, and their wider implications, in a substantiated view that was organised and cohesive. Demonstrated a very high level of scholarship, and used fluent and persuasive language with assurance and precision, to achieve a highly effective communication with the reader.
D – Demonstrated understanding of the complexities of the assignment relevant to the tasks. Achieved effective selection and ordering of ideas. Demonstrated a high level of scholarship, presented views on the tasks with confidence, and using fluent and persuasive language.
C – Identified all major aspects of the assignment. Demonstrated an adequate level of scholarship, and achieved a coherent ordering of ideas and expressed a view in clear and accurate language.
P – Identified most major aspects of the assignment. Demonstrated some evidence of scholarship, and presented some ideas relevant to the tasks. Demonstrated adequate organisation and language control.
Typical marking and grading for this assessment task appears on the next page.