Software Projects and Their Success Factors

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It should be stated that success and failure are difficult to define while evaluating software projects. According to the iron triangle theory, the project can be considered as a failed one if there were some challenges in goal accomplishment in time, performance, and cost that led to the negative outcome. The failures of the IT projects are significant to be taken into account as it is important to notice the reason for the failure for the future prevention of it. Being a complicated notion, success can be viewed as a four-stage system proving that the outcome of the software projects is believed to be difficult for estimating.

According to the survey made in 1995, more than 30% of the software projects were abolished across the United Stated (Ruhe and Wohlin 28). It should be pointed out that almost 55% had some difficulties with time (were late) or exceeded the budget, whereas only 15% of the total amount of the software projects succeeded (met all the constraints, namely time, cost, and performance) (Ruhe and Wohlin 28). According to the recent researches, modern software projects succeed only in 16% (Ruhe and Wohlin 28). However, it should be stated that according to Price Waterhouse-Coopers, only 2% of companies achieved a positive outcome. The success of the IT project is highly connected to its duration and size. Small projects that do not need a lot of time for the completion have more chances to succeed in comparison to long ones.

Flyvbjerg and Budzier state that almost every fifth project exceeds the budget by 200%. However, the cost is not the one problem as the schedule issues are believed to be another point that every company faces while working on the project. The sphere of IT technologies is considered to have the lowest success level.

It should be stressed that the definition of success and failure varies. However, according to one of the most widespread theories, successful IT projects meet all the constraints, and their features, namely, do not exceed the budget, are performed correctly, and the delivery date is strictly followed. Failed projects do not meet the requirements and usually are canceled before the completion. The challenging projects are considered to be completed ones; however, they meet not all the constraints and have significant problems with the budget, time, and performance (Ruhe and Wohlin 31).

According to the theory of traditional project management, the improvement of the three constraints will consequently have an ideal performance; the right balance between the triple constraints should be found for the project to achieve all the goals and satisfy the client’s needs. Managers should try to find a connection between what, when, and for what prize should be done. The significance of every feature changes depending on the stage of the software project. The delivery of the project depends not only on a manager but also on various people, namely stakeholders, members of the enterprises, and customers; thus, the outcome and success of the project can be significantly affected in case the delivery date changed (Ruhe and Wohlin 34).

The success cannot be viewed as the success of the IT project itself as it aims to satisfy the client’s needs and should not be limited by the concept of the triple constraints. The multi-staged system of success allows the project to accomplish aims in one sphere and fail in another. The theory of triple constraints is only one part of the system; so, the IT project can meet all the criteria (time, cost, and performance) but fail to satisfy the needs of the users.

Being a multi-faceted system, success can be divided into four stages. The first level is characterized by the successful results in project management. It deals with the efficiency of the process and aims to achieve the balance between time, cost, and performance (Ruhe and Wohlin 36). On the second level, the advantages of the project are evaluated from the point of view of its stakeholders. It focuses on the quality, degree of effectiveness, and evaluation of the impact made on the customers (Ruhe and Wohlin 36). The third level is centered on business capability as the outcome of the software project can affect the financial success of the business. The fourth level can be described as the level of future potential and is centered on new markets, skills, and opportunities (Ruhe and Wohlin 37).

The strategy for the successful project involves long-term thinking (Ruhe and Wohlin 39). The question concerning the quality of the project can be estimated differently by the stakeholders and recently greatly depends on the point of view of the customer. For the project to be defined as a successful one, it should satisfy and even exceed the expectations of the client. However, it should be highlighted that the tastes and preferences of the customer may change as trends usually change over time. So, it is significant for the project managers to take into consideration such a possibility and try to develop and improve the software project’s objectives and find the needed balance between time and budget (Ruhe and Wohlin 40).

There are a lot of criteria that influence the success of the project. It should be stated that the project can meet all the features of the triple constraints, however, fail to meet the requirements of the client. Time usually viewed even more significant for the project benefit than money as the values and objectives can change depending on the certain level of the progress (Ruhe and Wohlin 41).

It may be difficult to evaluate the success and failure of the IT project as people view it differently. However, the evaluation should involve the understanding of the accomplishment of the success levels and the difference between input and outcome. Project management success is centered on the predicting of budget and time aspects, whereas the project’s success is seen in the realized gains (Ruhe and Wohlin 43). Success in the sphere of business refers commonly to the sales made, payback calculations, and the influence of the marketing (Ruhe and Wohlin 43).

In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the notion success is considered to be rather complex and should be taken into consideration during all the stages of the IT project. Success can be divided into four levels, and every level involves specific features; so the software project can succeed in one and fail in another. The future success of the IT project requires the deeper understanding of the previously made mistakes to achieve all the goals as it is significant to understand that the triple model (time, cost, and performance) is not the only aspect that influences the outcome of the software project.

Work Cited

Ruhe, Gunther, and Claes Wohlin. Software Project Management in a Changing World. New York: Springer Science, 2014. Print.

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Premium Papers. (2021, February 13). Software Projects and Their Success Factors.

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"Software Projects and Their Success Factors." Premium Papers, 13 Feb. 2021,


Premium Papers. (2021) 'Software Projects and Their Success Factors'. 13 February.


Premium Papers. 2021. "Software Projects and Their Success Factors." February 13, 2021.

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Premium Papers. "Software Projects and Their Success Factors." February 13, 2021.