Research on the High Failure Rate of IT Projects


Comparative research about high failure rate of IT projects and opportunities to improve

Giuseppe Arcidiacono, PMP, CGEIT, CISM, CISA, CRISC.



This paper aims to study the causes that lead to failure in IT projects by analyzing some of the most interesting statistics retrieved in the current literature around the world.

The analysis aims to highlight the weaknesses and opportunities to improve with the objective to give practitioners some suggestions and tips in order to raise projects’ success rate.

For every source, the present document reports in a table the weakness identified by the original researcher together with considerations, and tied opportunities emerged from his/her work.


In a publication issued in 2009, International Data Corporation states that Project Management is the main cause (with a weight of 54%) leading to the following disaster scenario: almost 25% of IT projects experience outright failure, 50% of projects require material rework and 20%/25% of them do not provide Return On Investment (ROI).

The other factors that influence the success or failure of a project are:

  • Activities defining and controlling the IT project Business (21%)
  • Aspects of the project dealing with project funding, internal rate of return and business data People (14%)
  • The team that carries out the IT project Method (8%)
  • The dimension involving approach, procedures and tools Technical (3%)

Despite its long tradition in IT field, Project Management has not achieved an appropriate degree of maturity so that the most part of challenges are directly associated with how a project is managed through all phases of its lifecycle.

The present paper aims to analyze some scientific articles, papers and books talking about this issue in order to obtain a big picture and give to practitioner some tips and suggestions.

The seven reasons of Joseph Gulla

The IT leader of Alazar Press and former executive IT specialist at IBM, Joseph Gulla highlights on http://www.ibmsystemsmag.com/ seven reasons involved in project failures tied to a same number of opportunity to improve.

His opinion is reported in the following table:


To read entire paper, click here



About the Author

Giuseppe Arcidiacono



Giuseppe Arcidiacono
, PMP, CISM, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC is an Italian Computer Engineer, member of PMI and ISACA. Graduated with honours from the University of Calabria, Giuseppe holds two post-graduate master’s degrees in “Public Management” and in “Governance, Audit and Control System for Public and Private Organizations”.

He holds the following international certification:

  • PMP – Project Management Professional – PMI (Project Management Institute);
  • CISA – Certified Information System Auditor – ISACA;
  • CISM – Certified Information Security Manager – ISACA;
  • CGEIT – Ceritified in Governance of Enterprise IT;
  • CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control.

Giuseppe has working in Project Management since 2003 and is specialized in European Commission Project Management Framework based on PCM (Project Cycle Management).  Giuseppe is author of several scientific articles about Governance of IT (GEIT), Information Security Management and Audit, and Project Management published in prestigious international Journals and Blogs.

Since 2008 Giuseppe is the Head of IT Department in ARCEA, Agenzia della Regione Calabria per le Erogazioni in Agricoltura (http://www.arcea.it/), an European Commission Accredited Paying Agency (pursuant to Commission Regulation (EC) No 885/2006). He has worked as IT Auditor, IT Risk Practioner and CEO – consultant for many Italian enterprises. Previously, Giuseppe worked as IT Project Manager in several international IT projects.

Giuseppe can be contacted at: mailto:[email protected]