• Wrong qualification of projects. While The Chaos Report treats all projects which overrun budget and/or time as challenged, Jim would like to see them rather as successful. He sends us to business background, different goals projects have to achieve and constantly changing environment.
• Wrong priorities on recipe for success. Jim would like to see competent staff as one of the essentials, while Standish Group focuses on executive support, user involvement etc.
I agree with the latter, but The Chaos Report was never a manual of achieving a success for me. It was rather a knowledge base about current state of IT projects. From that perspective the more important is the first argument Jim makes – the one which is hard to accept for me. When I look at projects which are finished I usually ask myself several questions. Was that a success? Could the time/budget overrun was smaller? Is the 3-month delay in the final acceptance justified with changes of business environment?
Using common sense and not giving excuses answer usually is: “We could have done it better. We should have done it better.” Running away from statistics, that’s my definition for challenged projects. With that definition statistics aren’t far away from what The Chaos Report brings.
Yes, you will find projects described by Jim Highsmith, which should be qualified as successful even though time or budget has been overrun. However, from my experience they’re much less often than situations where overrunning one of constrains is a sign of something wrong happening in projects. In my opinion The Chaos Reports bring quite real overview of quality of IT projects. Trends which are confirmed by the last report from 2006 don’t differ greatly from what you can see every day. Unfortunately, that’s nothing to be very happy about – there’s constant improvement, but barely slight.