Personally I consider the report as a valuable source. Not that I don’t see flaws of Standish Group publication, I just take it as every statistic, with proper distance, and I come into my own conclusions.
A few numbers revealed in press release show little difference from what we saw in CHAOS Report 2006:
• Only about one third of projects can be considered as success
• Less than a half projects are challenged (I always loved the term)
• More than 20% projects failed
I don’t really care much whether we dropped a few points in success rate or which nuances moved several projects from “challenged” to “failed” group. The main conclusion is the same and it isn’t very positive:
We still are poor at delivering projects. Yes, we are. Oh, yes we are. Yes… well, never mind. Hey, agilists, where is your silver bullet? Seems it doesn’t work. Sorry, couldn’t refrain myself.
Why it is so? I think the problem isn’t located in any specific, flawed project management methodology. I think everybody got used to it. Actually statistic customer expects that half of their projects will be challenged and only 3 out of 10 will succeed. And they’re cool about it. Oh, they will play their role of enraged client, that’s for sure. Then they’ll tell you to cut your next schedule in a half because last proposition isn’t acceptable. And guess what, there will be another challenged project to add to the statistic.
Another part of the picture is that vendors don’t care much either. I know only few teams which actually try to learn how to prepare reliable estimates which are prerequisite to deliver more or less on time and on budget. Most of schedules for software projects should be read as “our rough guess is that we’ll deliver it on 3rd quarter.”
What we learn from CHAOS Report then? These results are here to stay. Another three years won’t change things much. We’ll be adopting new trendy techniques and it’ll end up as always – in struggle.
A minority which is able to deliver what they promise will differentiate from the rest every now and then. Seems like a pretty good strategy for me.