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27 July 2008

Chaos and incremental improvements

The infamous CHAOS report by the Standish group highlighted the abysmal performance of the projects industry in 1994.  Over the next decade they continued to publish several versions of the report, highlighting both improvements to the projects industry and the areas of risk or high performance.



Here are a couple of snapshots from the original in 1994 and more recently 2002.



 
(OTOBOS is a phrase I learned from Elizabeth Harrin- On Time, On Budget and On Scope.)


So what is this improvement due to?  If you have a look at the issues reported as failure and success criteria over the life of this report you see there are a number of key things that changed - most prominently the professional (usually PMI or PRINCE2) training and experience of the project manager.  The second key issues that seems to have contributed to this imrprovement is sponsor engagement and support.



The thing is - this improvement is just incremental.  There is plenty of further opportunities ahead for us.



Examples include shrinking the size of projects to something that is manageable, and making sure requirements are properly managed right through the project lifecycle.



The Agile Alliance and the IIBA are taking steps to move the industry in these directions.  What else can be done?



More particularly, what are you doing?