David Rubinstein from SDTimes gives us a little preview of last, yet to be published, Chaos Report 2006 from Standish Group. Although numbers have improved I wouldn’t say they are anywhere close to where they should be. OK, we have two times more successful projects than 12 years ago. Wow. It’s still only one third overall. And the figure I’d like to know (but is not published in the article) is how many projects delivered 100% features they had intended to? This statistic is also a part of Chaos Report. Back in 1994 it was less than a half of projects labeled “successful” with pathetic 7,3% doing what they should do.
Yes, we are improving, that’s for sure. If we keep our pace I’ll probably see more than a half successes in projects before I become a grandpa. And successful project would look like a car without two wheels, if I’m lucky.
Coming back to the Chaos Report 2006, thing which doesn’t change significantly over all those years is percentage of projects with time or budget overrun. It still oscillates around 50%. It means that you’ll face this kind of projects by the way. But it also means that there’s common approval for overrunning deadlines and budgets.
A couple of examples. One of our biggest customers, after choosing our offer was delaying the moment of signing the agreement for almost two months. Deadline remained unchanged and when we tired to move it further explaining that project start date was changed, we faced holy indignation. That way we formally lost almost the half of the time planned for our work. Of course we couldn’t make it and we slipped two and a half months and, what a surprise, it wasn’t a major problem. That way, it was perfectly OK.
Another customer asked for offers for some video solution. Deadline for submitting the offer was really tight, because they wanted to implement solution within a quarter since request for proposal was issued. It was May 2006. Few days ago we found out that they haven’t even chosen a vendor yet. What a rapid process. I’m stunned. I’m also happy that we haven’t gone through to the second round.
I guess you see it every day. You see deadlines impossible to meet or those which no one really cares about. You see salesmen who agree to promise impossible things just to get the deal. You see development teams constantly lied about project dates. How can you expect that number slipped projects will be shrinking? I believe Chaos Reports will show constant improvement in next years. Slight improvement. To see a significant change we’d need a mental change, which I don’t see actually happening.