cutting "Of the most expensive software projects, about half will eventually be canceled for being out of control. Many more are canceled in subtle ways" (Survival Guide p. vii). The statistics are improving, but even in 2003 an Oxford University/Computer Weekly survey concluded that only 16% of IT projects were considered successful. The Standish CHAOS report said that "the software success rate is 24 percent overall, with numbers even lower for large projects, especially those in the government sector". In short, Slippage is a big problem.

"No-one is certain of the real cost of failed software projects, but in the US alone it is estimated to be upwards of $75bn a year in re-work costs and abandoned systems." (Computer Weekly).

According to The Software Development Edge (p.5) "most bad software results from less-than-inspired programming coupled with sloppy management". Maybe.

Once things start slipping it's hard to get them back on schedule - the situation tends to get worse rather than better. This may be because of the nature of the project or choice of procedures. Problems include

Delaying the release may be the only sensible option - "People forget how fast you did a job - but they always remember how well you did it" - Howard Newton.

Updated July 2009 with help from James Matheson
Tim Love