Causes of Software Project Failures

This assignment aims to address the major causes of software project failures. In this assignment we ask you to:
1. Read the research paper entitled “Major Causes of Software Project Failures”. The paper is attached with the assignment.
2. Write a report presenting how you map the failure causes with those described in the paper, add new ones from the paper if needed. Your report should include an Introduction and a Conclusion sections.


The topic of the paper that has been studied currently is “Major Causes of Software Project Failures”. The paper lists down various risks and challenges that have been identified in relation to various types of projects and the underlying reasons behind the subsequent failures even after the identification of the reasons behind the failure. The risks and the reasons related to project failures have been compared with the project failure reasons identified in the assignment 1. The section ahead conducts a sort of comparative study on the failure aspects given in the aforementioned articles and the ones that have been identified in the case study of BSkyB.

Project Failure Analysis

The first reason of the project failure that has been identified in the article is the stakeholder conflict. The inability of the project managers to understand the requirements or preferences of the stakeholders generally lead to such challenges. Moreover, it has been observed that the failure to accept the change requests from the stakeholders due to the fixed contract results into conflicting situation (Newcombe, 2003). These aspects mostly stall the project progress and puts unnecessary delay on the overall project duration. As per the BSky B is concerned the stakeholder conflict is evident as there had been some non-compliance to the project requirements. 
Another important reason for the project failure is the inability of the project managers and the project stakeholders to come with the proper project requirements. One of the reasons behind the incomplete project requirements is the failure to understand what exactly is required at the end of the project (Kamata and Tamai, 2007). In such cases, it becomes mandatory that the project stakeholders allow some flexibility in terms of project duration and budget. This allows some room if any project requirement comes in the way. Moreover, to ensure that the requirements are met, the consideration of the phase wise project completion should be there.  In the case of BSkyB, the requirements challenges were in existence. The scope defined in the initial period of the project was not proper enough which eventually led to the stakeholder conflict.
Considering the above reason of stakeholder conflict based on the improper scope clarification, the inclusion of another reason of failure can be brought into the picture which is failure to effectively communicate with the each of the stakeholders. The lack of communication from the beginning of the project usually converts into projects that are not required by the end users when it completes and sponsors end up not paying for the same (Barker and Frolick, 2003). Generally, such cases end up in courts. In case of BSkyB, almost similar has happened. The project developers failed to communicate effectively with the stakeholders from the initial stage – project scope identification – of the project development and which resulted in the poor project results that were not acceptable to the project stakeholders.

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Another reason behind the project failure is the poor planning and control which is evident in the case of BSkyB. The poor project planning and control results in the project to be completed beyond the defined budget and time. It has been identified that the effective project plan is the main reason why the project fails or succeeds (Kerzner, 2013). Another closely associated aspect is the control. The control ensures that the project is moving as per the plan and any changes are communicated to the stakeholders in case extension in budget or duration is required. In the BSkyB project implementation case, the project was poorly controlled which led to the extension in the project resources. Moreover, the lack of effective communication resulted in the project that was not accepted by the project sponsors. 
One of the project failure reasons that has been identified in the BSkyB but not in the provided article – Major Causes of Software Project Failures – is the poor contract management. The BSkyB project was based on fixed time and material contract. However, as the project progressed ahead, due to some uncalled for situations, the extension in the project budget and duration become necessary which was not allowed by the project duration. This led to the conflicting situation. The project contractors should have made flexible contracts if there was any assumption that the project may move beyond the defined budget and duration (Mansfield et al, 1994).


As per the study conducted, it can be stated that there were some challenges that have been identified in the project of BSkyB such as stakeholder conflict due to the requirement conflict, complex project, inefficient planning and control, and improper scope definition. These elements can be improved if the project stakeholders and contractors effectively consider the various aspects of the project challenges, and communicates properly. 


Newcombe, R. (2003). From client to project stakeholders: a stakeholder mapping approach. Construction Management and Economics, 21(8), 841-848.
Kamata, M. I., & Tamai, T. (2007, October). How does requirements quality relate to project success or failure?. In 15th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE 2007) (pp. 69-78). IEEE.
Barker, T., & Frolick, M. N. (2003). ERP implementation failure: A case study. Information systems management, 20(4), 43-49.
Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
Mansfield, N. R., Ugwu, O. O., & Doran, T. (1994). Causes of delay and cost overruns in Nigerian construction projects. International journal of project Management, 12(4), 254-260.

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