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Causes Of Software Project Failure

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Most software projects fail completely or partial failures because a small number of projects meet all their requirements. These requirements can be the cost, schedule, quality, or requirements objectives. According to many studies, failure rate of software projects is between 50% – 80%. This essay is a compilation of failure causes of software development projects; this essay summarises several areas that play a vital role in software project failure.

So, what really is the reason for software project failure? The sad fact is that software projects fail because we do not recognize that good engineering principles should be applied to software projects just as they are to building office buildings. We try to defend ourselves by saying that software construction is “different”.

One of the most serious complaints against software failure is the inability

to estimate with acceptable accuracy the cost, resources, and schedule necessary

for a software project. Conventional assessment methods have always produced

positive results which contribute to the too well-known cost infested and

schedule slippage.

Over the last 20 years many cost and schedule estimation techniques have been

used with mixed sensation due to restrictions of the assessment models. A major

part of the estimations failure can be due to a lack of understanding of the

software development process and the effect of that method used in the project

plan, schedule and cost estimates.

Failure Case Studies

Below are few of the case studies considered which will be analysed to fetch

the main reasons of failure of the software system.

Northumbria University developed accounting software to manage its day to day

business. The project could not come up with the desired results and failed to

meet the deadlines. Te investigations showed that the basic project management

procedures were not followed. This case study is referenced in this essay at

different points where necessary. [1]

Thai subsidiary (SMTL) of a Hong Kong-based multinational company (SMHK)

engaged in the manufacturing of electronic equipment. They implemented an

integrated software package; which was a failure at the several factors. These

factors were mostly management related. Such as a poor fit between the business

process assumptions inscribed in the software and the business processes in SMTL,

poor leadership at different levels, cultural differences, organizational

environment, and poor human resource management.

St John’s Hospital is a District General Hospital provides medical and

nursing services, which includes both general surgery and medicine.All these

services are supported by diagnostic imaging, laboratory, ambulance, pharmacy

and therapy services, which are all on site. As the major hospital in a tourist

area, it deals with many visitors in the holiday season, generating a large

amount of non-booked admissions work.

Software Management & Leadership

It has been shown repeatedly, that effective leadership is essential for successful IT implementation (Klenke, 1994). A leader must also have cultural sensitivity, communication skills, creativity, ability to delegate, and the ability to develop and retain human resources (Luthans, 1994). The software manager at (SMHK) was a western, where as the lower managers were Eastern. So there was a cultural clash going on always. Jack (Manager) always try to introduce creative thoughts. And most of the time the lower management could not do them. Hence there was a clash going on all the time.

Employees also felt that management hardly ever “listened” to their concerns

or attempted to address them. Consequently, many employees were eager to leave

the company, and did so as soon as they found alternate opportunities in other

companies.

Project Planning & Scheduling

Project planning means creating work breakdown, and then allocate responsibilities to the developers over time. Project planning consists of construction of various tasks, timelines and essential pathways including Gantt charts and PERT charts and different written plans for various situations.

It is quite usual in software development process to work backward from the

project end date which results in complete software project failure. It is

impossible that a project can be completed efficiently from the planning stage

to the implementation stage.

Allocation of roles and responsibilities has to be clearly defined, and it

becomes crucial while hiring the stall from outside. University’s higher

management failed to apply the basic project management rules which laid to the

project failure.

Proper scheduling is also required before the start of the project. It

includes the time scheduling, teams scheduling. Project managers don’t know what

they have to plan and schedule. They just only tell the programmer what to do

and the programmers can come up with a proper solution.

The development was moved to a new office and the office was not fully

equipped with the proper infrastructure. As time is also a big factor in success

or failure of a project. So it delayed the development process and contributed

towards the project failure. Infrastructure was not fully scheduled and

management team didn’t know where and how the project development will be

started.

The top secret of a winning software development project is to control the

quality up and lower the risk. Contingency plan is also the part of planning. In

case things went wrong then this plan can be followed to lower the affect of the

failure of project. Same was the case with university’s accounting software. The

management team had no such a contingency plan nor did they evaluate the risk

involved in the development of the new system. So it caused more trouble without

the backup system or backup plan.

The management just try to follow the methodologies like SDLC or RAD, but don’t know which methodology to use and at which time should apply the right technique.

Cost Estimation

Cost estimation is mainly involved the cost of effort to produce the software project. But it’s not limited to the effort only. It also includes the hardware and software cost, training the employees and customer, travelling to the customer, networking and communication costs. Cost estimation should be done as a part of the software process model.

Cost estimation needs to be done well before the start of the project

development. Failure of the budgeting for the cost of the project results in

complete disaster. As stated above the infrastructure cost, development tools

cost and hardware cost also needs to be estimated first.

Same thing happened to university’s accounting system development. They

purchased the new system well with out any serious estimation of the cost and

the income sources.

Below are the reasons why wrong cost estimation is done.

Inappropriate estimation methodology

Another reason would be the use of an inappropriate cost estimation methodology. Not a single methodology is better than other. Every methodology has its own strong and weak points which should be considered. Dr. Barry Boehm’s book Software Engineering Economics lists seven estimation methodologies. One or more of these methodologies can be used to estimate the cost of a project

“Good suggestion is that more than one software cost estimation methodology

should be used for accurate estimation”.

Cost estimation tools

There are many drawbacks in manual cost estimation. This technique is almost obsolete now. These days successful cost estimation includes the use of appropriate commercial software cost estimating tool.

Good software estimating tools do not always guarantee reliable software

estimates. Wrong input of the software size will result in wrong estimate.

Estimation software also needs to be customised for the specific need of

organization. These customisations require the data from the past projects as

input for the tool to estimate.

There are number of reasons these tools can return the wrong estimate.

Choosing the right estimation tool

Choice of a right estimation tool is necessary for the right estimation. The tool is not capable of handling the input and thus it can come up with the wrong estimate and hence cause the software project to fail.

Ease of customisation

As mentioned above the selected tool must be customisable according to the organisation needs, so that the organization can customise it according to the needs and past project data.

Easy to use and learn

The cost estimation tool should be easy to use and learn. It must include help and examples, simple and straight forward user interface. It must require less training to learn the system and inputs should be well defined.

Accurate Estimation

The estimation tool must have the capability to analyse all the parameters and come up with the accurate estimation for the cost.

Risk Management

Risk management is an important factor towards software project failure if it’s not managed timely and effectively. As nothing can be predicted that what will happen in future so we have to take the necessary steps in the present to take any uncertain situation in the future. Risk management means dealing with a concern before it becomes a crisis.

Risk Identification

According to the Universal risk Project there are two types of conditions which can be a symbol of as risk.

  • IF-THEN Statements
    • “IF technology is not available, THEN we will not meet the requirement”
    • “IF we cannot hire sufficient qualified software engineers, THEN we cannot meet the planned development schedule
  • CONDITION-CONSEQUENCE Statements
    • Given the “condition”, there is a likelihood that the “consequence” will occur
    • “Given that this specific test fails (the CONDITION), the CONSEQUENCE is that the planned schedule will slip”

Project managers have to identify the areas where the risk can be and how it

can affect the development of the project. Risk can be of technical nature or

non technical. Project managers needs to be aware of both the risks. Most of the

projects managers are not good in either of the side. A good manager with

programming skills can be good in identifying the technical risk but not in non

technical risk.

Risk Analysis

After the risk is identified there is a need to make the categories of that risk. Risk analysis is the process of examining the project results and deliverables after the risk analysis and applying the technique to lower the risk. After risk analysis is complete, the proper risk analysis plan needs to be made to cope with any uncertain situation. First identified risks are categorized and make the hierarchy of those risks. At this point the risk is classified as the positive or negative risks.

Risk Prioritization

After the risk is analyzed, the next step is to priorities the risk. At first focus on the most sever risk first; and les sever later. These risk factors can worked from time to time so that the final project out come is free of risk. So most of the time project management team fails to identify the sever risk and work on the less sever risk. This often results in the form of a crisis.

Risk Avoidance

Dealing with the risk is an art. Some times the management takes the projects with out identifying the proper risk involved in the project. So an experienced manager will take the project after proper risk analysis and avoid any risk involved in the project.

Risk control

Managing the risk to achieve the desired results and deliverables is done through controlling the risk at its best. This is a pure intuitive process and depends on the experience of the project management team, or risk already managed in past projects which were done by the same organization.

Conclusion

This essay has presented three basic factors which can cause the software development project to fail. Planning & Scheduling, cost estimation and risk management. All of these factors are to be considered at the management level and then transferred to the lower management.

Planning & Scheduling comes at first, good planning and scheduling makes the

strong foundation for the software project. Project planning consists of

construction of various tasks, timelines and essential pathways including Gantt

charts and PERT charts and different written plans for various situations. If

these factors are not taken into part then the software may encounter problems

during the development and the final product will be a failure.

Cost estimation depends on the budget of the project, customer type and the

size and effort to be put in the project. Cost estimations are done many times

during the life cycle of a project. It affects the project in many ways, wrong

estimation complete failure, affect the good-will of the organisation if the

costs are not covered, stake holders are affected and waste of resources.

Managing the risk is a practical approach for decreasing the ambiguity and

possible loss related with a software development project. Potential measures

can be considered as opportunity-focused (positive risk) if their consequences

are favourable, or as threat-focused (negative risk) if their consequences are

unfavourable.

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How to Identify a Plumber

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Think about the last time you bought a car. You may not have consulted the Yellow Pages or a dealer has been selected at random, or you bought your car in the first place he visited. However, many times, this is the scenario that describes how you are looking for plumbing services; people read the phone book and called the plumber who has posted the biggest announcement or the first of the list. However, like buying a car, to search for a qualified plumber should find out and compare to ensure you get the best price backed by a competent and quality service.

The first thing to do to find a good plumber is to ask for recommendations from family or friends about professionals they’ve ever hired. Other good resources are the contractors, realtors and the local store plumbing supplies. The city government even can recommend a list of plumbers who are familiar with your area codes.

Plumbing Services says it is very important to remember that there are two different types of plumbers, who make repairs and those that specialize in new construction and remodeling. To make repairs plumbers to call when the sink is blocked, when leaks in faucets or in emergency situations. The second type of plumber works on larger projects, such as the replacement of a faulty pipe throughout the house or in the installation of additional pipelines.

When requesting references, be sure to ask what kind of work was hired plumber. Also, find out if the plumber specializes in residential and commercial work.

What should be taken into account in a qualified plumber?

There are several qualifications that can differentiate a professional plumber do the rest.

* Certification or state license – Many states require a license or state certification to work in that state. Call to verify that the license is current and see if there are complaints against that license.

* Insurance – Make sure the plumber you are considering being uninsured, having insurance against industrial accidents compensation and liability insurance. The plumber that you choose should provide a copy of your insurance policy.

* Better Business Bureau – Contact the local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed against your potential candidate. Compare prices, but remember that the cheapest price that does not necessarily offer the best job. It is possible that a qualified and experienced plumber charged more for the job, but ultimately can save you money if you do a good job with the best materials and you will get the plumbing services.

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The 7 Secrets to Successful Skip Hire

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Our research suggests that there are over 17 million skips hired in the UK every year for domestic use alone! That’s a lot of skips and if you’ve ever looked in Yellow Pages you’ll see that there are a lot of skip companies out there to choose from with no real way of knowing what kind of service you’re going to get before it turns up!

If, like us, you’ve ever hired a skip, chances are you will have had a good experience with a professional, licensed waste collector with no hassles or grief.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you called more than one company before you actually hired a skip you may have found that some of them:

– won’t quote prices over the phone

– won’t tell you what time it will be dropped off, or picked up

– will only accept cash payments to the driver

You might have even had a bad experience where the driver has refused to take away your skip without throwing some of the rubbish back in your garden, demanded more money before taking it away, damaged your property by bad handling of their wagon and the skip…

This guide is for you: It answers all the most common questions associated with skip hire so that you know exactly what you’re getting into when you hire a skip and understand the whys and wherefores involved in skip hire so you never have a bad experience…EVER!

1. How can I tell which skip companies in the Yellow Pages are the good ones?

Unless you personally know the company, you can’t. Any fool with a wagon and a skip can get an advert designed and printed to entice you to call them, but mainly it’s a lottery not just in terms of prices and service, but also in terms of what actually happens to your waste – something that depressingly few of us actually think, or even care about.

Skip companies are not actually regulated at the time of writing. The good ones operate their own licensed waste transfer stations (regulated by the Environment Agency) and are members of the Institute of Wastes Management (a professional body that promotes education and raising standards in waste management).

The bad ones are just cowboys that often fly-tip your waste and therefore add to your council tax bill – cos the council are the ones who have to clean it up! (Flytipping is now costing local councils over £2.5 million a year! That’s our tax money!)

Did you know? “Every 35 seconds, somebody, somewhere is fly-tipping in the UK”

2. Why do skips cost so much money?

No-one is pretending skip hire is cheap, but think about the overheads involved:

Skip Wagon £35,000+

Skips £500/each for standard builderskip

Vehicle Insurance £2000/year per vehicle

Public Liability £1250/year per vehicle

Employer’s Liability £1250/year per vehicle

Skip Wagon driver £25,000/year

Fuel £20,000/year

Office staff £18,000/year per member of staff

Landfill taxes £18/ton increasing by £3 every year until 2010 where it will stand at £35/ton

Recycling costs Cost of buying shredders, trommels, weighbridges, picking stations etc – £millions

Soon adds up doesn’t it? Getting rid of waste is not a cheap business, but it has to go somewhere!

3. Why isn’t my skip dropped off and picked up when I ask for it?

This isn’t always the skip company’s fault – too many people don’t understand that hiring a skip is not like calling a taxi. Just think about what goes into the average skip lorry driver’s day – it’s heavy haulage we’re talking about here, and lots of things can go wrong on a pick-up or drop off that will slow down the whole day’s schedule, such as a customer putting toxic waste in a skip, overfilling it, or the driver being given incorrect drop off details by a customer.

We publish a national trade magazine for the industry called “The Skip” (www.theskip.net) and through this we are pushing for more skip companies to incorporate new technology like Vehicle Tracking to improve delivery schedules and take-up of this kind of improvement is increasing all the time.

In the meantime, you should be patient waiting for your skip because it’s rarely a case of deliberately bad customer service.

4. Why won’t they take the skip away if the rubbish is just over the fill line?

It’s not the skip driver being unreasonable – it’s the law! They are legally bound to not carry unsafe loads and unfortunately many people order smaller skips than they need in order to save a few quid. Our advice – order a larger skip than you think you need because you will always fill it – just don’t go over the line!

5. What actually happens to my rubbish when they take it away?

If you’re not asking this question, you should be. Landfill space in the UK is running out fast. It is estimated that by 2010 there will be virtually no landfill space left in Britain and the government is increasing the landfill taxes that waste management companies have to pay every year. The best skip companies are investing heavily into new plant and technology to the point that many of them are recycling over 90%! Using these companies will eventually reduce prices and massively increase recycling rates – something we should all be interested in.

The bottom line is – the cheaper the skip, the less likely it is that the waste is being responsibly managed.

6. Why won’t my local skip company take a credit card or even tell me prices over the phone?

This is mainly a historical thing. Most skip hire companies have evolved over the past 25 years from construction and demolition companies, and the traditional way they do business is either by issuing invoices or cash-in-hand! Also, a lot of companies still charge for waste disposal by the tonne and won’t always quote an exact price because they don’t know exactly how much it’s going to cost them to get rid of until it comes in.

7. Why do I get quoted so many different prices for the same service from different companies?

The answer’s in the question – you don’t get the same service from different companies! You get different levels of service from different companies. Most of the time, you get what you pay for. After you’ve had a bad experience, you’ll wonder whether it really was worth saving £20 by going with the cheapest you could find.

Plus there are other factors such as skip permit prices. All skip companies are supposed to tell you that you need a permit if the skip is to be on a public highway. These permits are provided by the local council – sometimes the company by law has to sort it out for you, sometimes you’ll have to go direct to the council yourself.

The variances in skip permit price across the UK are staggering – some council’s charge nothing and issue them the same day, some charge £70 and make you wait weeks before issuing.

In the end…

It’s up to you. You now know pretty much everything necessary to make an informed choice about which skip hire company to use.

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Car Insurance For Young Driver – A Way To Acquire It

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Quite frankly teenage and young adult car drivers are costly to cover. They are usually caught up in more accidents and are less careful on the road than more knowledgeable drivers. However, there are ways to decrease your insurance policy expenditure and get cheapest car insurance for young drivers, keep in mind they may not be straightforward. Many young car owners never imagine what difficulties there is likely to be related to getting insurance cover for their first auto. Dad and mum know that auto insurance for young driver costs a lot, however there may be always a solution to find more cost effective vehicle cover. Among the best methods of obtaining more affordable cover is to shop around, the world wide web is the ideal place to start.

Frequently because of the very high price of car insurance, young drivers now and again do not acquire car insurance, which can prove to be a extremely high priced oversight. It is also true that those inexperienced car owners take out much more pricey policies than they need to. There has to be a equilibrium to finding the cheapest car insurance for young drivers. By carefully setting up their car insurance young drivers can considerably cut their car insurance cover costs. Looking around can collect great benefits as insurance expenditure fluctuate madly from insurer to insurer. Just a few effortless steps could easily reduce premiums and ensure that young car owners have the all necessary cover they need.

One thing I’d say, and this is at the chance of sounding a bit nutty or insane, don’t buy your vehicle and afterward take a look at insurance cover. You’d be clever to take a look at the insurance cover for the type of automobile you want. If you fancy a gasoline guzzling beast, or a sporty, racy vehicle, then you might discover the insurance cover premiums on such autos to be too expensive. You could wish to downsize the type of ‘wheels’ you want, compromise a little. There may be totally no point in getting a brilliant car just to have it sitting within the garage or drive you can’t have out on the open road because of the fact you’ll not be able to afford to cover it, now that’s utter madness. Sure it could seem a bit silly to take a look at insurance when you don’t even have a car thus far, but to get the cheapest car insurance for young drivers you’ll want to have an inkling of what the insurance cover cost is for certain vehicles.

Now you’ve got your car, there are some things you are able to do that can make an insurance company look more favourably on your premiums. Any security gadgets fitted to the auto such as an alarm or an immobiliser will get you an immediate concession on your premium. Better still for those who have a garage you possibly can store your auto in, that’s more likely to give you the greatest concession on your premium. Insurers need to avoid risk and that’s the reason further safety on a car will give you cheaper cover expenses. So finding the cheapest car insurance for young drivers, is attainable, by simply following a few easy measures. Hunt, search and hunt yet again, examine the quotations you get. Keep your auto safe and secure, and hey presto, less costly car cover.

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