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2018 IT Project Success Rates Survey Results

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How to Measure Anything This survey was performed during January 15, 2018 to February 28, 2018 under the title 2018 IT Success Rate Survey. There was 149 respondents. The survey was announced my Twitter feed, and several LinkedIn discussion forums.

The Survey Results

The aim of the survey was to explore the success rates of IT delivery teams following various paradigms. Unfortunately, we didn't get a suffient number of responses from non-agile teams, this is the first time this has happened to us, to be able to compare the paradigms on an individual basis. Based on results from previous research we've decided to group traditional and ad-hoc together in Figure 1 and the more advanced strategies, continuous delivery and lean, together. We also asked about various way of working (WoW) tailoring factors such as team size, geographic distribution, and so on across IT delivery teams.

Some findings include:

Figure 1. Perceived IT project success rates.

Success rates on IT delivery teams

Figure 2. What do agile teams do?

What do agile teams do?

Figure 3. Success factors on all IT delivery teams.

Success factors for IT delivery teams

Figure 4. Success factors on agile teams.

Success factors and agile teams

Figure 5. Perceived IT project success rates and team size.

Success rates and team size of IT delivery teams

Figure 6. Perceived IT project success rates and geographic distribution.

Success rates and geographic distribution of IT delivery team members


Survey questions

The Survey Questions

Survey Data File

Raw Data

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation

What You May Do With This Information

You may use this data as you see fit, but may not sell it in whole or in part. You may publish summaries of the findings, but if you do so you must reference the survey accordingly (include the name and the URL to this page). Feel free to contact me with questions. Better yet, if you publish, please let me know so I can link to your work.

Discussion of the Results

  1. As noted earlier, we didn't recieve a sufficient number of non-agile responses to fairly compare paradigms. Ideally I would need 4-5x responses at least.
  2. It's difficult to get a good estimate of project success rates because there isn't a standard definition of success (nor will there ever be). So, if I define success specifically, for example as "reasonably on time, on budget, to specification" that definition will be applicable for some projects but not others. So, I could presumably get an accurate estimate of how well we're doing against that criteria but it wouldn't be the actual industry success rate. If, however, I define allow people to define success in terms of how it was defined for the actual projects then I'll get a much more accurate estimate of project success rates but I won't know exactly
  3. 93% of respondents had 10 or more years of experience in IT, and over half had 20+ years. Everyone had at least 2 years IT experience.
  4. This survey suffers from the fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.

Links to Other Articles/Surveys

  1. My other surveys

Why Share This Much Information?

I'm sharing the results, and in particular the source data, of my surveys for several reasons:

  1. Other people can do a much better job of analysis than I can. If they publish online, I am more than happy to include links to their articles/papers.
  2. Once I've published my column summarizing the data in DDJ, I really don't have any reason not to share the information.
  3. Too many traditionalists out there like to use the "where's the proof" question as an excuse not to adopt agile techniques. By providing some evidence that a wide range of organizations seem to be adopting these techniques maybe we can get them to rethink things a bit.
  4. I think that it's a good thing to do and I invite others to do the same.