Why most software projects fail

This is a really good article I came across yesterday with some scary truths about IT projects in general: Roger Sessions – The IT Complexity Crisis: Danger and Opportunity (Nov 2009, PDF)

  • Worldwide, the annual cost of IT failure is around USD $6.18 trillion
  • 66% of IT projects in the US govt were considered ‘at risk’ of failure in 2009 (growing 15% each year)

There’s a bit of maths, but basically it suggests that the whole reason for this is increasing complexity in projects, and presents an equation where the chance of failure in a project grows logarithmically with the number of business functions and the number of connections to other systems.

The answer is to identify these functions and connections and split them out into simpler isolated systems — one per bounded context! — that can be delivered independently of each other (and independently between vendors), instead of trying to smush them all into one humungous ball-of-mud application.

Definitely worth a read if you’re on the architecture side of things!