Friday, May 1, 2009

Standish 2009 CHAOS Report – what could it mean?

Like any other report, The Standish CHAOS report will have it issues – what defines a failure? How do you validate the sources? What does it really mean to fail or succeed? Does this represent to broad or to narrow of a segment?

These are all good and valid questions, to me the most important is the report data gathering and reporting consistent with prior years? The final #’s have little relevance (to me) compared to the overall trending….and the overall trending is interesting - more projects are failing this year than last. A lot can be read into that, here’s my take (assumptions):
  • As the economy continues to slow (or remains slow) the better managers will cancel the less important project, focusing on the key business drivers (end of day a good thing)
  • Companies are cutting resources, causing the remaining people to be overloaded causing lower quality deliveries (a bad thing)
  • People have more of a negative view and will tend to be more critical of what is being delivered and lean towards reporting failures more than successes…one of the bigger issues with any subjective type of reporting – BUT one that can be understood and used to adjust the findings.
My view of the report is that it’s a great value and solid indicator of what is happening in IT – my view of IT based on the report….we need to get a lot better 32%...that’s a failing grade in my book.


  1. I've decided a grass roots effort might be interesting counterpoint to the Standish report. I created a single-question survey here:

    And will be posting results here:

  2. It matches our organization results for 2008/2009, which coincidentally(?) coincides with our attempt at agile and the resurgence of cowboy programming.

  3. I feel that the biggest reason for project failures is the incapability of IT and technical leadership to do justice with their jobs.

    Read my article where I discuss this further.

    Have a great day,

    Muhammad Haroon