Student Publications


Author: Theo Van Stratum
Title:
Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Area:
Country:
Profile:
Program: Doctorate of Science in Information Technology

Available for Download: Yes


Sharing knowledge is a vital component in the growth and advancement of our society in a sustainable and responsible way. Through Open Access, AIU and other leading institutions through out the world are tearing down the barriers to access and use research literature. Our organization is interested in the dissemination of advances in scientific research fundamental to the proper operation of a modern society, in terms of community awareness, empowerment, health and wellness, sustainable development, economic advancement, and optimal functioning of health, education and other vital services. AIU’s mission and vision is consistent with the vision expressed in the Budapest Open Access Initiative and Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Do you have something you would like to share, or just a question or comment? We would be happy to hear from you, please use the Request Info link below.

For more information on the AIU's Open Access Initiative, click here.

 


 
 
  Acknowledgements

I wish to thank:

Mr. Iain Clark from Albanet Limited for the support he gave me in believing
that I could do this study and in the way he created the opportunity for me to
do this.

Dr. Franklin Valcin for his encouragement and advice during my time with the
Atlantic International University.

Last but not least my wife Maureen van Stratum for the unlimited support
during the time it took me to reach this point.


Inverness, 2 March 2006
Theo van Stratum
Page 1
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Abstract

This paper discusses the reason why there is a more likelihood that a project,
led by an internal project manager, fails the led by an external project
manager.

This research is done by interviewing project managers in software
development, internal and external, to see if there is a common ground for this
and if there is a way to follow and avoid this failing. Although the research is
done in this area there is enough evidence to believe that the reasons found
are similar in other project management areas.

The paper describes the general differences between the work systems,
experience, and methods used by the two groups of managers.

In general we see that the external project managers have more experience,
and with that the authority to handle projects and their conflicts in a way that
the project keeps on track. The internal project manager lacks this authority
by his colleagues and managers and they could interfere with the project in
more then one way and endanger the project with those actions.

Further is the lack of the use of a formal method to lead and register the
project one of the biggest causes of failure. Things like: User requirements,
Feature creeping, Change and risk management are more likely to be in place
with am external project manager then an internal project manager. This is
sometime not even by choice but forced due to costs. This is especially the
case within the triangle of constrain where we see the three main control
places of a project: Cost, Time, and Quality. No single person or group should
be allowed to be in control of all three of them, but in the case of internal
project management we see that this is mostly the case. If there is an
alteration in one of the three points the project manager must be allowed to
change the others accordingly and this is not always done and brings the
project in danger.

As recommendation we see that proper training of the internal project
manager in a formal method is a must, and if this is combined with a mentor
during the first project, we will increase the success rate of internal project
manager drastically.
Theo van Stratum
Page 3
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?





This page is intentionally left blank
Theo van Stratum
Page 4
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 1: General Introduction

In the many projects I have done over the years I came across a phenomenon
that gave me the idea for this research. It appears that projects that are
carried out by internal project managers have a higher failing rate than the
same type of projects led by external project managers. In a small
investigation amongst my peers I came to the conclusion that this problem is
broader than expected and with and average failing rate of 65% with internal
project management or more against 28% with an external project manager, a
research into this phenomenon seems appropriate.

Failing rate
80
70
60
e 50
tag
Internal PM
40
cen
External PM
30
erP 20
10
0
Failed
Succesful

Figure 1: Failing percentage Internal versus External PM.

In figure 1 we see that the failing percentage of internal project management
versus external project management is too high to coincidental. These figures
are taken over 593 projects, equally divided over internal and external project
management, over the last two years (2004, 2005).

Companies are losing millions per year due to this phenomenon still, i t seems
that there is no learning curve within those companies to stop this from
happening again and losses are taken on face-value. This is especially true
with in organizations that are not driven by profit like Government and semi-
Government. As an example we can take the construction of the Government
Theo van Stratum
Page 5
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
building in Scotland (Edinburgh), which went 10 times over it original budget
and took 2.5 years more then planned. There where external project leaders
in place to do the actual work on the floor but the overall project management
was done by an internal project bureau. Although there was an enquiry, real
action to solve this wasn't taken.

If there is a common approach or cause, then the knowledge of such could
prevent project managers to make the same mistake over and over again and
save the economy millions. The intension of this research is to find such a
common cause.

During the research it was necessary to redefine the common definition of
failing of a project. Amongst the enquired project managers we noticed that
the definition about failing a project was very diverse: from abandoning a
project to failing to deliver on time. The definition in this document about
failing a project is as follows:

"A project appears to be failed if the outcome of the project is not within time,
cost, or quality, defined at the start of the project or after changes made
through approved change requests."

The parameters: Time, Cost, and Quality are parts of the triangle of Constrain,
which plays, as we will later see, an important role in project management.
From this new perspective we can see that a project can be finished with the
desired product or service but still is failed within the definition of failing. The
project could have cost more, took longer, or not all the requirements where
implemented.


Research restrictions

The researched projects were limited to software development projects only.
These are the best documented and traceable in historic events during
implementation. The enquired project managers were in the range of
Theo van Stratum
Page 6
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
professional project managers to the occasional, temporary, project manager.
The reason for this differentiation was to get an insight in the approach of
managing and failing of the projects.


Theo van Stratum
Page 7
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 2: Definition of the Investigation

As described in the previous chapter this research is restricted to the area of
software development. The problems encountered are more general and not
restricted too software development only but the area is take due to the fact
that the processes used are more approachable for research purposes.

Areas of project management

Figure 2: Areas of influence (drawn by author)

In figure 1 we find the areas around a project that are of influence of the
outcome of that project.

As Richard Newton (2005) mentioned; "A Project Manager needs to look over
the boundaries of his or her project". What he means by this is: that beside
the problems a project manager encounters in his or her project, there are
external influences that could have a bigger effect on the outcome of the
project then at first evaluated. There are influences were the project manager,
nor the company, is in control off. A few of those external influences are, but
is not exclusive to this list:

External Influences:
- Funding,
- Market demand changes,
- Change of external politics and values,
- Technology.
Theo van Stratum
Page 8
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

Funding
In the case of losing external funding, investors are rejecting their funding to
the company or project, the project is doomed to fail unless the company
could raise other funds. The project manager is not in control of this but needs
to investigate (as far as this is known in this point in time), before starting the
project, if adequate funding is available and/or reserved for the project. In
principal it means that an investigation into the solvency and cash flow of the
company needs to be done. In the case of the project managers interviewed
for this research I found that this was never done and the responsibility of the
funding towards the projects was placed by the responsible directors.
Although this is a sound approach we must remember that in the case of an
internal project manager this is very difficult to do as the directors involved
could be offended and it could be on influence of the career path of the
persons involved, but on the other hand we will have the same problem when
the project fails and the finger is pointed towards the project manager as
cause of failing.

Market demand changes
This is happening when the product or service developed in the project is
overtaken by new demands and or developments in the market. Most of the
time caused by the fact that the time to market for the product or service is to
long and competitors have the time to develop a new, better, product before
the project is finished. Again not something the project manager is in control
off but adequate market monitoring could indicate early enough that a
demand change is on the merge and the project manager can react on this
before the event occurs. Although market monitoring should be an active task
for the directors of a company, in the case of a project of which the outcome is
to fulfil a market demand the project manager shares the responsibility in this.



Theo van Stratum
Page 9
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Change of external politics and values

When Ethical and/or Political values are changing in a way that it has an
influence on the project outcome (the product that is developed is not ethical
or politically correct anymore) means that the project is obsolete and needs to
be abandon or changed in a way that the product or service falls within the
new legislation or ethical values. Again monitoring this should be a
company/directors task but a project manager could be active in this as well.

Technology
When technologies changes during the project, and this is especially valid in
long running projects, a choice needs to be made if the project is still valid to
finish or if technologically adjustments need to be included. As usual this is a
question of funding and market demands and should be made by the directors
of the company. As an example we can look at the new development of the
operation systems of Microsoft. In the last few year this is changed for
development advantages with the new dot.net Framework. If you are running
a development project you will face the question: are we adopting the dot.net
framework or not. Of course there will be a lot of parameters included in this
decision like: how far are we from completing? What is the cost involved in
changing: time, training, and so on. Is it better to finish now on older
technology and adapt to dot.net in a later version?

All of the external influences are outside the scope of control of the project
manager but close monitoring of the external environment can give clues
early enough for the project manager to react proactive.

Theo van Stratum
Page 10
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Triangle of Constrain
If there is one thing a project manager should know about engineering
something then it is the Triangle of Constrain (see Figure 3)


Figure 3: Triangle of Constrain

Cost is the measure of how many people, engineers and overhead like
secretaries and so no, are working for the project, Time is the measure of how
long the project has to finish, and Quality is the measure of how mane
features (user requirements) and testing (Quality Control) will be allowed
within the project scope,

Controlling time, cost, and quality are all important goals which need to be
under control but nobody should be in total control of all three of them. If the
customer, or manager, arbitrarily specifies all three corners of the Triangle of
Constrain, then the project is doomed to fail. Any change to one of the corners
must be balanced off by changes in the other corners. The moral is that if the
project is to be successful, the project manager must be permitted to make
the necessary adjustments to at least one of the goals.

Theo van Stratum
Page 11
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
In the 1990s, NASA briefly adopted the slogan `Faster, cheaper, better.' This
was followed by a series of unsuccessful projects ­ and then they abandoned
the slogan. It is important to realize that, pushed to the limit, the `Faster,
cheaper, better' slogan is impossible to satisfy. It is absurd a statement as `I
can fly'. There is a saying among software engineers that corrects the
statement of NASA's praiseworthy but impossible goal: `Faster, cheaper,
better: pick two out of three.'

Ownership
Ownership of a project needs to lie by a director, or somebody from senior
management, is a must for a project to succeed. The reason for this is that it
gives a project status and priority with in the company from a higher
management perspective. When resources and funding needs to been
allocated to several projects the owner is mostly in the position to make
decisions and could influence that the projects he owns, is responsible for, will
get the needed funding.

Company politics / strategy
Company politics are very important and are tied with company strategy. They
could influence the future of a project. If the companies' strategy is changes it
could mean that project can becoming obsolete. This doesn't mean that a
project fail in the sense of this research but as priorities are changing with
strategy it could mean that projects are becoming lower in importance and
with that the change of failure becomes more realistic.

Other projects
As always there are only limited resources available within a company and
several projects will compete for those resources. As explained in the Triangle
of Constrain: if there is a loss of resources then alterations need to be made
in the time and/or quality of the project. This is a threat in a running project
especially where a resources is just lend for a small task to another project.
Theo van Stratum
Page 12
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
We must make sure that action is taken against such activity and to adjust the
project planning accordingly.

Office politics
This is a grey area within project management and working for a company in
general. Office politics is about power play between colleagues and can be of
an enormous influence on the project. If the project manager is respected and
the project has a high priority within the company that this influence will be low
or even be an advantage. But if the project manager is temporary chosen
from the staff and bad feelings about this are amongst the colleagues then
this phenomenon could be the cause of failure on its own.


All the above described `external' influences on projects are mostly not in the
power-reach of the project manager and are difficult to manage, but if the
project manager wants to finish his project successfully then monitoring of
those external influences is a necessity at all times.
Theo van Stratum
Page 13
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Internal Project influences
The following issues in project management are common and everybody is
taking them on face-value, but a lot of projects are failing just because of that.
Keep in mind that according to the interviewed project managers most of the
problems within the project are forced and with that not in their own control
anymore.
Project definition
Although very logical, you must have a project definition (a goal) you are
working towards; it seems that this is a mostly forgotten or underestimated
part of the project. In the questionnaire, which we will discus in the next
chapter, we had a few questions about Project definitions and user
requirements and we saw that in the case of a project definition only 25% of
internal projects had one. This means that in 75% of the internal projects the
teams didn't really know what they where making! In the case of software
projects we see that the common line from management is: "You know what I
want, don't you?"

As V.A. Vyssotsky (The Mythical Man-Month (2004) pp 142), of Bell
Telephone Laboratories' Safeguard Project says, "The crucial task is to get
the product defined. Many, many failures concern exactly those aspects that
were never quite specified"

User requirements
As the project definition gives us a general frame work of what the customer
wants, the user requirements should be very specific and non-ambiguous. It
tells us what it is that the outcome of the project should have or not have. If
we take a software building project then the user requirements should tell us
exactly the business-rules for the product. Appropriate time should set aside
in the project planning to get all the user requirements on paper. Although we
must be aware that in very long running projects it is not always the right way
to go by defining all the user requirements as an initial step. We have seen in
the paragraph above that projects are chancing over time and with that the
Theo van Stratum
Page 14
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
user requirements. We will see later in the document how we can handle this
in an appropriate way.

Feature creeping
Feature creeping is one of the biggest causes of project failure, in the
research done we saw that more then 95% of projects are suffering from this.
A feature if nothing more then an enhancement of the final product, it can go
from a nice to have till a must have and every project manager has to deal
with them. They are un-avoidable in real-life. It is only the way they are dealt
with. If we are looking at the triangle of constrain we that on the right lower
corner we have quality as a measure point. Qualities are the features in a
product so according to the triangle of constrain if we add features then we
must accordingly alter one or all of the other measure points, time and costs.
With in feature creeping this is normally not done. Under the saying: "O, this is
only a small thing to adjust or to add" a feature is added to the project and the
project start to run out of cost and or time before we know it.

Quality Control
Quality control is where the quality of the project and product is monitored. It
ensures us that all the user requirements are implemented and tested that
they work in the way it is described in the requirements. This begins long
before we are even starting to build anything. As Brooks mentioned (2004):
"Specifications, user requirements, need to be tested on their completeness
and clarity." and needs to be handled by an outside testing group. This is
especially true in software engineering projects, as Vyssotsky says; the
developers themselves cannot do this: "They won't tell you they don't
understand it; they will happily invent their way through the gaps and
obscurities".

Theo van Stratum
Page 15
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Project management methodology
There are several approaches that can be taken to project management,
including phased, incremental, and iterative approaches.
The "traditional" approach identifies a sequence of steps to be completed.
This contrasts with the agile software development approach in which the
project is seen as relatively small tasks rather than a complete process. The
objective of this approach is to impose as little overhead as possible in the
form of rationale, justification, documentation, reporting, meetings, and
permission. This approach may also be called the "spiral" approach, since
completion of one of the small tasks leads to the beginning of the next.
Advanced approaches to agile project management, applicable not only to
software development but to any area, utilize the principles of human
interaction management to deal with the complexities of human collaboration.

Technology switching
Technology switching during a project is expensive and a dangerous thing to
do. We see this type of actions mostly in software projects where designers,
programmers, and so on come across a new language (like C# in the last
years) and start to redesign the project in such a new language. Of course
this is deadly from a project management point of view, although it is not
always possible to avoid this. Especially in the case of Company politic to
always follows the latest technology.


All the subjects that are described above are points of failure when not proper
handled or monitored according to the interviewed project managers during
the research.
Theo van Stratum
Page 16
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 3: Dynamics of the anticipated Solution

The goal and Objective of this research

As described in the question of this research: "Why is it that Internal Project
Management mostly fails" I try to find the reasons behind the phenomenon
that over 65% of projects that are led by internal project managers fail. If there
is a specific reason for this then knowledge about this can lead to a solution or
methodology to increase the success rate of future projects.

The questions that came up where:
- Is this happening due to inexperience in project management?
- Is it more likely to happen in projects that are in an unknown area for
the project manager?
- Which methodology is used, if any?
- Is it market specific, in other words: is it specific to a type of project?
(software engineering, design and so on)

In general literature about project management we find everything about
methodology and techniques, how to report and on what, but what they don't
try to teach is the fact that project management in the first place is "managing
of people". When I was researching this and interviewing project managers
about the way they work and what they were thinking the failure was, then all
the points from chapter 2 where mentioned but nobody was talking about the
people behind this failure points. Because of this and my feeling that one of
the most difficult task a project manager has is the human interaction, if it is
the man on the work floor or the director in the boardroom, the project
manager must communicate on their level but not only that, he must also
translate between those levels to make sure that they understand each other.
Which brings me to the second goal of this research; "Is communication the
biggest point of failure within project management?"


Theo van Stratum
Page 17
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Methodology used
For the main part of information gathering I used quantitative research via a
questionnaire. The reason for this type of data gathering is that is cheaper
and not that labour intensive. The questionnaire was email based and sent to
over 500 project managers over the world. Because the questionnaire was on
personal application the response rate was very high, 76% of the
questionnaires sent, returned. As said before the projects in this research
came all from software engineering. It is however my strongest believe that
the results will be the same in every other form of project management due to
the fact that people will find the same problems and solutions everywhere.

Questionnaire

The questionnaire was built in 4 groups of questions:

1. Experience
a. Years in project management,
b. Professional certification,
c. Number of projects done,
i. How many successful,
ii. How many failed,
iii. How many abandon,
2. Methodology normally used,
a. Which one, if any
i. Officially trained in it,
ii. Waterfall ­method
iii. Agile method
b. If any followed completely,
c. If any, was it helpful,
d. How much time spend in following the rules
e. If not, why,
f. Was risk management in place,
g. Was change management in place,
3. Projects
Theo van Stratum
Page 18
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
a. How many External
i. On average:
1. Project budget
2. Number of resources
3. Estimated project time
b. How many Internal
i. On average:
1. Project budget
2. Number of resources
3. Estimated project time
c. Success rate External
d. Success rate Internal
e. Looking at the failed projects, if any, what would be the area of
failing,
i. Time (project took longer then estimated,
ii. Cost (project was more expensive then estimated)
iii. Quality (not all the user requirements where
implemented),
f. What was, according to you, the main cause of failing (average
over the failed projects),
g. Do you have an exit plan in place?
h. Do you hold post-mortem sessions?
i. Where users constantly involved.
j. How much time was taken for testing, in percent of total project
time,

After the questionnaire 20 project managers where selected, to get a broad
range as possible, for personal interviews to get a deeper understanding on
the success and failing rate in this area. The selection criteria for those project
managers was that they all had to have done internal and external projects
whilst one half of the group needed to have more failures in the internal
projects and the other half needed to be more successful overall.

Theo van Stratum
Page 19
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Interviews

The interviews where done in person, over the phone, or by direct internet
communication (chatting). All the questions where open ended and none of
the project managers where given the questions in advance. Because of this
we ended in most case in an open discussion. This gave me a good inside in
the way project managers are thinking. I found in general that first time project
managers are optimists and believe in a happy ending.


Theo van Stratum
Page 20
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 4: Overall Outcomes

From the 500 questionnaires sent, 382 where returned which gives a return
percentage of 76.4%. In total 593 projects where taken by those project
managers in a time period of 2 years.

Years in project management

years in project management
9+
0 - 3
4 - 8

Figure 4: Years in Project management

On the question: "How many years experience of project management do you
have we see that the division between the group form 0 ­ 3 and 4 ­ 8 is
equal, respectively: 176 and 179, whilst only a small group (27) has more then
8 years of experience. The group from 0 ­ 3 years of experience was asked
the question if this was their first project and 83 answered positive on this
(46.36%).

Only 13.35%, 51, of the project managers had a professional, all PRINCE II,
certificate and from those 51 managers none of them was in the 0 ­ 3
experience group.


Theo van Stratum
Page 21
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Number of project done in the last 2 years

Number of projects done
9+
31
4 - 8
0 - 3
248
314

Figure 5: Number of projects

On the question how many projects are done in the last two years we see that
in the experience group 0 ­ 3 the most projects are done, 176 project
managers did 314 projects, This is 1.8 project per project manager, whilst with
the more experienced project managers this is lower, 1.4 in the group 4 ­ 8
years, and 1.1 in the 9+ group.

On the sub-question: How many projects do you run at the same time? We
see that in the group with the less experience the most projects are done in
the same time or overlapping. With the average of 2, whilst in the group with
the highest experience all of the project managers are doing only 1 project at
the time.
Theo van Stratum
Page 22
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

On the question: "How many were successful, according to this research
success definition?"

Number of projects successful
9+
29
0 - 3
43
4 - 8
89

Figure 6: Projects successful

In the group 0 ­ 3 we see that only 13.7% of the projects done are successful,
that is: within time, costs, and quality expected. The group 4 ­ 8 is slightly
better: 35.9%, whilst in the 9+ group 93.5% of the projects were successful.

In total only 27.2% of the projects were successful if measured again the
research parameters, which is worrying for the quality of project management
in software engineering.
Theo van Stratum
Page 23
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Methodology used

200
180
160
140
120
Project managers
100
Methodology used
80
Officially trained
60
40
20
0
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+

Figure 7: Methodology used

On the question if a methodology is used we see that the more experience a
project manager has the more a project methodology is used and officially
trained in the method.

On the question which methodology the answer was consistently PRINCE II,
which is not surprising in software engineering where PRINCE II is the main
methodology. Within project management we see that the agile project
management method is rising but when the question about this was asked we
saw that only 7% was using this, not including the project managers that
where not using a methodology and the rest, 93%, uses still a form of
waterfall method.

On the question if the method was followed completely through none of the
project managers did this and all were using some form of adjustment in the
workflow. Most of the ones that where using a method found this useful and
giving them peace of mind.

The project managers that didn't follow an official methodology were asked
why did was and 87% didn't know how to but would be willing to learn whilst
the other 13% did saw the need in them due to the fact that their projects
Theo van Stratum
Page 24
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
where very small and they thought that the hustle in maintaining the
documentation around the projects would be too costly in time.
In the case of risk management, what are the risks in the project that could be
the cause for failing, we see that only 45% of the project managers actively
looks at the risks and register them against the task involved. The idea of risk
management is that contingency plans are developed in the case the event
occurs.

Change management was in place in over 55% of the projects.
Divided over the experience groups give us the following overview

Change Management per experience group
350
300
ects 250
roj 200
P
Project done
150
Change management
er ofb 100
um
50
N
0
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+
Years Experience

Figure 8: Change Management

Theo van Stratum
Page 25
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Projects

Ex versus Internal projects per experience group
350
300
ects 250
roj
Projects done
200
P
External projects
150
er of
Internal projects
b 100
um
50
N
0
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+
Years Experience

Figure 9: External versus Internal Projects

On the question how many external versus internal projects are done with in
the experience group we see that there are more internal project done by the
less experience groups than the higher experienced ones. 60% in 0 ­ 3
group, 39% in the 4 ­ 8 group, and only 13% in 9+ group.

The average project budget was

Table 1: Project Budgets
Experience group
Internal Projects
External Projects
0 ­ 3
$ 5.000 - $ 12.500
$ 10.000 - $ 26.000
4 ­ 8
$ 4.500 - $ 23.500
$ 17.000 - $ 150.000
9+
$ 8.000 - $ 50.000
$ 25.000 - $ 1.250.000
The budgets are recalculated to dollars

The average number of resources in projects
Table 2: Number of Resources
Experience group
Internal Projects
External Projects
0 ­ 3
3 ­ 5
3 ­ 5
4 ­ 8
2 ­ 7
5 ­ 12
9+
2 ­ 8
8 ­ 25
Theo van Stratum
Page 26
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

The average project time (elapse time)
Table 3: Project time
Experience group
Internal Projects
External Projects
0 ­ 3
13 ­ 15 weeks
12 ­ 14 weeks
4 ­ 8
12 ­ 17 weeks
13 ­ 20 weeks
9+
13 ­ 30 weeks
17 ­ 50 weeks

On the question: "Looking at the failed projects, what would be the area of
failing?" This question is very subjective and the interviewed project manager
could give more then one answer. The idea behind the question was to get a
feeling of what the project manager him self though what the biggest problem
was. The figures are in percentage average over the projects

Table 4: Cause of failing
Experience group
Time
Cost
Quality
0 ­ 3
75%
95%
35%
4 ­ 8
87%
81%
40%
9+
56% 25% 10%

Exit plan
An exit plan is planning for failure. If we are thinking of project management
then most project managers are thinking of success but if we see the failing
rate then we should think about failure as well. What are we going do to if the
project fails, and need to be abandoned? This is described in an "exit plan".
When the question was asked only 1 project manager had used an exit plan.

Post Mortem Sessions
To learn from previous projects it is always good to have a post mortem
session after finishing a project, if it was a success or failure you can learn
from it and repeat the good things and try to avoid the bad ones. From the
project managers interviewed none had used a post mortem at all. The main
argument was that there was no time and budget reserved for this.
Theo van Stratum
Page 27
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

Involving Users
This was to see if users are actively involved in the project. The effect of
involving users can be good, if the project manager handles this correct. In
the agile project and development methods it is common that the users are
part of the project team. This way they can make sure that the customer gets
what he has paid for.

Only 36% of the projects done had a close relationship with their users and
this was the same in all the experience groups.

Testing
Due to the fact that the project managers interviewed came out of the
software development area we had a question about testing, which is in every
software development project a hot item. On the question: "How much time
was taken for testing, in percent of the total project time" we got the following
figures:

Table 5: Testing time
Experience group
internal
external
0 ­ 3
5%
7%
4 ­ 8
12%
17%
9+ 8%
21%
.


The interviews were more to get a global overview about how a project
manager thinks when working on his project. There are not direct measurable
figure but the outcome from those interviews are incorporated into the
analysis of this research.

Theo van Stratum
Page 28
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Elapse Time versus Working Time
A common problem within project management is the difference between
working time, man-days, and elapse time, project time. The problem is that
when project managers estimate the task project times they take a man-day
for an eight-hour working day and this is unrealistic. Nobody is working 100%
of its time per day. For my own projects I did an investigation into this and
used my own group of programmers to write their time down, for a period of 8
weeks, in everything they did. We came to the conclusion that the disturbance
of telephone, meetings, questions, getting and drinking tea and coffee, and
having sanitary stops is taking a lot of time away from the working hours.
Average over the group and eight-weeks we saw that between 60 and 75%
effective working time was left for planning. What does this means in
planning? When the project times are estimated we must first calculate the
man-days (man-hours) and value them at the percentage we take for effective
programming time for that programmer, this can be different for each of the
programmers involved, and then recalculate them for project elapse time. If
we say that a task cost 10 hours and we have an effeteness of 70% then the
elapse time for that task is 14 hours.

Theo van Stratum
Page 29
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?




This page is intentionally left blank


Theo van Stratum
Page 30
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 5: Analysis

Experience

Although I couldn't find a lot of project managers with 9+ years of project
management experience we can see that the success of bringing a project to
a successful end is related to experience,

success rate in % versus experience in years
100.00
90.00
80.00
70.00
60.00
50.00
success rate in %
40.00
30.00
20.00
10.00
0.00
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+

Figure 10: Success rate versus experience

We see that the project managers with more experience are using a
methodology to manage their projects in a structured way. In the interviews
with the project managers it was clear that when they had an official training in
a method the chance in success was higher. What was clear however, was
that when a method was used within several projects, the manager was
changing the way the method was used from a rigid following towards a "use
what you need approach". The latter was according to the managers more
useful. With the implementation of a methodology we see the implementation
of two techniques, which are a must for successful project management.


Theo van Stratum
Page 31
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Risk Management
Generally, Risk Management is the process of measuring, or assessing risk
and then developing strategies to manage the risk. In general, the strategies
employed include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk,
reducing the negative effect of the risk, and accepting some or all of the
consequences of a particular risk. Traditional risk management, which is
discussed here, focuses on risks stemming from physical or legal causes (e.g.
natural disasters or fires, accidents, death, and lawsuits). Financial risk
management, on the other hand, focuses on risks that can be managed using
traded financial instruments. Regardless of the type of risk management, all
large corporations have risk management teams

Risk management versus Experience
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
Risk management
30%
20%
10%
0%
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+

Figure 11: Risk Management versus Experience

As we can see in figure 11, the implementation of risk management follows
the same line as in the implementation of a project management methodology
although there is a steeper line after the 4 ­ 8 years experience which let us
to believe that the insight in the risks of a project and the need to manage
them in a structured way come with more experience over the years. What
was disappointed however is that even with the most experienced of the
interviewed project managers not all of them saw the need to implement.

Theo van Stratum
Page 32
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Limitations of risk management
If risks are improperly assessed and prioritised, time can be wasted in dealing
with risk of losses that are not likely to occur. Spending too much time
assessing and managing unlikely risks can divert resources that could be
used more profitably. Unlikely events do occur, but if the risk is unlikely
enough to occur, it may be better to simply retain the risk, and deal with the
result if the risk does in fact occur.
Prioritizing too highly the Risk management processes itself, could potentially
keep an organization from ever completing a project or even getting started.
This is especially true if other work is suspended until the risk management
process is considered complete.

Change Management
One of the biggest challenges of project management is how to cope with
feature creeping. Feature creeping is the phenomenon that feature, quality, is
added to the project without adjusting the resources and/or time components
of the triangle of constrain, see figure 3.

The rules of the triangle of constrain tells us that if we alter one of the corners;
costs, quality, and time, we must alter at least one of the other corners to
compensate for the change.

Change management versus experience
120%
100%
80%
60%
Change management
40%
20%
0%
0 - 3
4 - 8
9+

Figure 12: Change management versus experience
Theo van Stratum
Page 33
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

In figure 12 we see that the curve of the implementation of change
management versus experience is the opposite of the curve of
implementation of risk management.

The reason for this is clear in the sense that added features have a direct
noticeable effect of the project progress and the need to protect the project
team is high. Although in internal, and in someway external, project
management we see that feature creeping is done in a subtle way like, "this
will only take a few minutes", or "adding this will gives us time later
because....". Most of the time this is done by the sales team with the backup
of directors and the project manager is forced into a move that can cause the
project to fail. The rules of the Triangle of constrains are not followed and that
is always a bad thing.

Estimating and Scheduling

In the interviews came across that the estimating of cost and time necessary
for the project on hands is not always strait forward. Especially beginning
project managers have problems with this. In general estimating how much
time a task will cost is based on historical data, previous projects done. For
the beginning project manager, this is not available other then projects done
by other project managers. This means that he must rely on the assumed
correctness of this data. Another way is doing the estimate is to take
mathematical models as described below.

In the book "The Mythical Man-Month", Brooks describes the problem of the
man-month. The time unit used to estimate effort versus time used. Brooks
mentioned: "Cost varies as the product of the number of men and the number
of months. Progress does not." It is very dangerous to use a man ­ month
(week or day) to measure the task on hand. It implies that men and months
are interchangeable. This is only true if the task can be partitioned amongst
many workers with no communication amongst them. This is true of picking
strawberries or cotton; but in any task where communication between the
Theo van Stratum
Page 34
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
team members is a necessity this fails. When a task cannot be partitioned
because of sequential constrains, and then adding more men has no effect on
the schedule. In software engineering this is common due to the sequential
nature of debugging.

In tasks that can be partitioned but which require communication amongst the
subtasks, the effort of communication must be added to the amount of work to
be done. Therefore the best that can be done is somewhat poorer then a
trade of men for months.

Intercommunication
Intercommunication between team members increase the effort needed to
complete the task. If each part of the task must be separately coordinated with
each other, the effort increases with n(n-1)/2. Three workers require three
times as much pair-wise intercommunication as two; four requires six times as
two. If, moreover, there need to be conferences among three, four, etc.
workers to resolve things jointly, matters get worse yet.

Algorithmic cost modelling
The most systematic, although not necessarily the most accurate, approach to
calculate the estimate in man-months in software engineering is algorithmic
cost estimation. An algorithmic cost model can be built by analysing the costs
and attributes of successful completed projects. A mathematical formula is
used to predict costs based on estimates of projects size, number of
programmers and other process and project factors. In its most general form,
an algorithmic cost estimate for software cost can be expressed as:

Effort = A x Sizeb x M

A is a constant factor which depend on local organisational practices and the
type of software that is developed, Size may be either an assessment of the
code size of the software or a functionality estimate expressed in function or
Theo van Stratum
Page 35
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
object points. The value of exponent B usually lies between 1.0 and 1.5. It
reflects the disproportionate effort required for large projects. M is the
multiplier made up by combining different process, product and development
attributes.

All algorithmic models suffer from the same basic difficulties:
- It is often difficult to estimate Size at an early stage in a project where
only a specification is available. Function point and Object point
estimate are easier to produce than estimates of code but may still be
inaccurate.
- The estimates of the factors contributing to B and M are subjective.
Estimates vary from one person to another depending on their
background and experience.

The number of line of source code in the finished system is the basic metric
used in most algorithmic cost models.

There are a number of algorithmic models that have been proposed as a
basic for estimating the effort, schedule and costs of a software project. These
are conceptually similar but use different parameter values.

COCOMO Model
COCOMO is a model designed by Barry Boehm to give an estimate of the
number of programmer-months it will take to develop a software product.
This "COnstructive COst MOdel" is based on a study of about sixty projects at
TRW, a Californian automotive and IT company, acquired by Northrop
Grumman in late 2002. The programmes examined ranged in size from 2000
to 100,000 lines of code, and programming languages used ranged from
assembly to PL/I.

COCOMO consists of a hierarchy of three increasingly detailed and accurate
forms.
Theo van Stratum
Page 36
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
- Basic COCOMO - is a static single-valued model that computes
software development effort (and cost) as a function of program size
expressed in estimated lines of code.
- Intermediate COCOMO - computes software development effort as
function of program size and a set of "cost drivers" that include
subjective assessment of product, hardware, personnel and project
attributes.
- Advanced COCOMO - incorporates all characteristics of the
intermediate version with an assessment of the cost driver's impact on
each step (analysis, design, etc.) of the software engineering process.

One of the most important observations in the model is that personnel
motivation overwhelms all other parameters. This would suggest that
leadership and team man ship are the most important skills of all, but this
point was largely ignored. Researchers would rather create tools.

Personnel motivation is not part of the model. The single most important
driver is software complexity, followed by personnel attributes (capability and
experience, not motivation).

Methodology
In the research we saw that the more experience a project manager is the
incline to use a project management methodology. This is, however, less in
internal projects. From the interview we can deduct that by pressure from
management there is mostly no time taken for implementation of the formal
method. The deadlines are set before the project description is written.

Project description and Goal
No project manager should start a project without a proper project description,
we would say that this is obvious but during the interviews it became clear
that most of the less experienced project managers had problems to get a
proper description of what to build from the customer. Especially in the case
of internal projects we see that statements like: "we want to monitor servers
Theo van Stratum
Page 37
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
on the network, you know what I mean" as starting point for a project are
common. Those statements are then normally followed with; "how long do you
think it will take?" expecting to get a deadline for this project. The biggest
problem the project manager faces is that management is expecting that he
comes with a real estimate for this project but realistically he cannot even start
the user requirements gathering because of no goal at all. Christopher
Duncan describes in his book "The Career Programmer! (2002) how a
beginner in project management can deal with this behaviour, and I feel that it
is a must to read if you are coming from a programmer's career into project
management.

The first thing a project manager should do if faced with this problem is buy
himself some time to write a project description as he understand it and use
this as a project proposal. In reality he is leading the project as project owner.
This project proposal is presented to management and on which they have to
sign-off. The document will go through a number of iterations before
everybody agree on the content and the time that is put in to this is not lost,
although management will think this, but time invested in this will pay itself
back. If consensus about the project description is reach the project manager
needs to make a choice in project method; waterfall or agile.

Waterfall method
In the research we saw that the waterfall method is still the most used, but is it
the best for the project underhand?

In his 1970 paper, Royce proposed what is now popularly referred to as the
waterfall model as an initial concept, a model which he argued was flawed.
His paper then explored how the initial model could be developed into an
iterative model, with feedback from each phase influencing previous phases,
similar to many methods used widely and highly regarded by many today.
Ironically, it is only the initial model that received notice; his own criticism of
this initial model has been largely ignored. The "waterfall model" quickly came
to refer not to Royce's final, iterative design, but rather to his purely
Theo van Stratum
Page 38
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
sequentially ordered model. This paper will use this popular meaning of the
phrase waterfall model.

Despite Royce's intentions for the waterfall model to be modified into an
iterative model, use of the "waterfall model" as a purely sequential process is
still popular, and, for some, the phrase "waterfall model" has since come to
refer to any approach to software creation which is seen as inflexible and non-
iterative. Those who use the phrase waterfall model as a general insult for
non-iterative models that they dislike usually see the waterfall model itself as
naive and unsuitable for a "real world" process.

Usage of the waterfall model

Figure 13: Waterfall method

The unmodified "waterfall model". Progress flows from the top to the bottom,
like a waterfall. In Royce's original waterfall model, the following phases are
followed perfectly in order:
- Requirements specification
- Design

- Construction (aka: implementation or coding)
- Integration

- Testing and debugging (aka: verification)
- Installation

- Maintenance

Theo van Stratum
Page 39
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

To follow the waterfall model, one proceeds from one phase to the next in a
purely sequential manner. For example, one first completes "requirements
specification" -- they set in stone the requirements of the software. When
and only when the requirements are fully completed, one proceeds to design.
The software in question is designed and a "blueprint" is drawn for
implementers (coders) to follow -- this design should be a plan for
implementing the requirements given. When and only when the design is fully
completed, an implementation of that design is made by coders. Towards the
later stages of this implementation phase, disparate software components
produced by different teams are integrated. After the implementation and
integration phases are complete, the software product is tested and
debugged; any faults introduced in earlier phases are removed here. Then the
software product is installed, and later maintained to introduce new
functionality and remove bugs.
Thus the waterfall model maintains that one should move to a phase only
when it's preceding phase is completed and perfected. Phases of
development in the waterfall model are thus discrete, and there is no jumping
back and forth or overlap between them.
However, there are various modified waterfall models (including Royce's final
model) that may include slight or major variations upon this process.

Arguments for the waterfall model

Time spent early on in software production can lead to greater economy later
on in the software lifecycle; that is, it has been shown many times that a bug
found in the early stages of the production lifecycle (such as requirements
specification or design) is more economical (cheaper in terms of money, effort
and time) to fix than the same bug found later on in the process. This should
be obvious to some people; if a program design is impossible to implement, it
is easier to fix the design at the design stage then to realize months down the
track when program components are being integrated that all the work done
so far has to be scrapped because of a broken design.
Theo van Stratum
Page 40
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

This is the central idea behind Big Design Up Front (BDUF) and the waterfall
model - time spent early on making sure that requirements and design are
absolutely correct is very useful in economic terms (it will save you much time
and effort later). Thus, the thinking of those who follow the waterfall process
goes, one should make sure that each phase is 100% complete and
absolutely correct before proceeding to the next phase of program creation.
Program requirements should be set in stone before design is started
(otherwise work put into a design based on "incorrect" requirements is
wasted); the programs design should be perfect before people begin work on
implementing the design (otherwise they are implementing the "wrong" design
and their work is wasted), etcetera.

A further argument for the waterfall model is that it places emphasis on
documentation (such as requirements documents and design documents) as
well as source code. More "agile" methodologies can de-emphasize
documentation in favor of producing working code - documentation however
can be useful as a "partial deliverable" should a project not run far enough to
produce any substantial amounts of source code (allowing the project to be
resumed at a later date). An argument against agile development methods,
and thus partly in favor of the waterfall model, is that in agile methods project
knowledge is stored mentally by team members. Should team members
leave, this knowledge is lost, and substantial loss of project knowledge may
be difficult for a project to recover from. Should a fully working design
document be present (as is the intent of Big Design Up Front and the waterfall
model) new team members or even entirely new teams should theoretically be
able to bring themselves "up to speed" by reading the documents themselves.

However it should be noted that agile methods do attempt to compensate for
this: for example, extreme programming (XP) advises that project team
members should be "rotated" through sections of work in order to familiarize
all members with all sections of the project (allowing individual members to
leave without carrying important knowledge with them).

Theo van Stratum
Page 41
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
As well as the above, some prefer the waterfall model for its simple and
arguably more disciplined approach. Rather than what the waterfall adherent
sees as "chaos" the waterfall model provides a structured approach; the
model itself progresses linearly through discrete, easily understandable and
explainable "phases" and is thus easy to understand; it also provides easily
mark-able "milestones" in the development process. It is perhaps for this
reason that the waterfall model is used as a beginning example of a
development model in many software engineering texts and courses.
It is argued that the waterfall model and Big Design Up Front in general can
be suited to software projects which are stable (especially with unchanging
requirements) and where it is possible and likely that designers will be able to
fully predict problem areas of the system and produce a correct design before
implementation is started. The waterfall model also requires that
implementers follow the well made, complete design accurately, ensuring that
the integration of the system proceeds smoothly.

The waterfall model is widely used, including by such large software
development houses as those employed by the US air force, the US
Department of Defense and NASA, and upon many large government projects

Steve McConnell sees the two big advantages of the pure waterfall model as
producing a "highly reliable system" and one with a "large growth envelope",
but rates it as poor on all other fronts. On the other hand, he views any of
several modified waterfall models (described below) as preserving these
advantages while also rating as "fair to excellent" on "working with poorly
understood requirements" or "poorly understood architecture" and "providing
management with progress visibility", and rating as "fair" on "managing risks",
being able to "be constrained to a predefined schedule", "allowing for
midcourse corrections", and "providing customer with progress visibility". The
only criterion on which he rates a modified waterfall as poor is that it requires
sophistication from management and developers. (Rapid Development, 156)

Theo van Stratum
Page 42
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Criticism of the waterfall model

The waterfall model however is argued by many to be a bad idea in practice,
mainly because of their belief that it is impossible to get one phase of a
software product's lifecycle "perfected" before moving on to the next phases
and learning from them (or at least, the belief that this is impossible for any
non-trivial program). For example clients may not be aware of exactly what
requirements they want before they see a working prototype and can
comment upon it - they may change their requirements constantly, and
program designers and implementers may have little control over this. If
clients change their requirements after a design is finished, that design must
be modified to accommodate the new requirements, invalidating quite a good
deal of effort if overly large amounts of time have been invested into "Big
Design Up Front". (Thus methods opposed to the naive waterfall model, such
as those used in Agile software development advocate less reliance on a
fixed, static requirements document or design document). Designers may not
(or more likely, can not) be aware of future implementation difficulties when
writing a design for an unimplemented software product. That is, it may
become clear in the implementation phase that a particular area of program
functionality is extraordinarily difficult to implement. If this is the case, it is
better to revise the design than to persist in using a design that was made
based on faulty predictions and which does not account for the newly
discovered problem areas.

Steve McConnell in Code Complete (a book which criticizes the widespread
use of the waterfall model) refers to design as a "wicked problem" - a problem
whose requirements and limitations cannot be entirely known before
completion. The implication is that it is impossible to get one phase of
software development "perfected" before time is spent in "reconnaissance"
working out exactly where and what the big problems are.

"Many of the [systems] details only become known to us as we progress in
the [systems] implementation. Some of the things that we learn invalidate our
design and we must backtrack." McConnell, Steve (2004)
Theo van Stratum
Page 43
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

The idea behind the waterfall model may be "measure twice; cut once", and
those opposed to the waterfall model argue that this idea tends to fall apart
when the problem being measured is constantly changing due to requirement
modifications and new realizations about the problem itself. The idea behind
those who object to the waterfall model may be "time spent in reconnaissance
is seldom wasted".

In summary, the criticisms of a non-iterative development approach (such as
the waterfall model) are as follows:

Many software projects must be open to change due to external factors; the
majority of software is written as part of a contract with a client, and clients are
notorious for changing their stated requirements. Thus the software project
must be adaptable, and spending considerable effort in design and
implementation based on the idea that requirements will never change is
neither adaptable nor realistic in these cases.

Unless those who specify requirements and those who design the software
system in question are highly competent, it is difficult to know exactly what is
needed in each phase of the software process before some time is spent in
the phase "following" it. That is, feedback from following phases is needed to
complete "preceding" phases satisfactorily. For example, the design phase
may need feedback from the implementation phase to identify problem design
areas. The counter-argument for the waterfall model is that experienced
designers may have worked on similar systems before, and so may be able to
accurately predict problem areas without time spent prototyping and
implementing.

Constant testing from the design, implementation and verification phases is
required to validate the phases preceding them. Constant "prototype design"
work is needed to ensure that requirements are non-contradictory and
possible to fulfill; constant implementation is needed to find problem areas
and inform the design process; constant integration and verification of tbe
Theo van Stratum
Page 44
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
implemented code is necessary to ensure that implementation remains on
track. The counter-argument for the waterfall model here is that constant
implementation and testing to validate the design and requirements is only
needed if the introduction of bugs is likely to be a problem. Users of the
waterfall model may argue that if designers (etcetera) follow a disciplined
process and do not make mistakes that there is no need for constant work in
subsequent phases to validate the preceding phases.

Frequent incremental builds (following the "release early, release often"
philosophy) are often needed to build confidence for a software production
team and their client.
It is difficult to estimate time and cost for each phase of the development
process without doing some "recon" work in that phase, unless those
estimating time and cost are highly experienced with the type of software
product in question.

The waterfall model brings no formal means of exercising management
control over a project and planning control and risk management are not
covered within the model itself.

Only a certain amount of team members will be qualified for each phase; thus
to have "code monkeys" who are only useful for implementation work do
nothing while designers "perfect" the design is a waste of resources. A
counter-argument to this is that "multi-skilled" software engineers should be
hired over "specialized" staff anyway.

Agile Method

Most agile methods attempt to minimize risk by developing software in short
time boxes, called iterations, which typically last one to four weeks. Each
iteration is like a miniature software project of its own, and includes all the
tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality: planning,
requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. While
Theo van Stratum
Page 45
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
iteration may not add enough functionality to warrant releasing the product, an
agile software project intends to be capable of releasing new software at the
end of every iteration. At the end of each iteration, the team reevaluates
project priorities.

Agile methods emphasize real-time communication, preferably face-to-face,
over written documents. Most agile teams are located in a bullpen and include
all the people necessary to finish software. At a minimum, this includes
programmers and their "customers." (Customers are the people who define
the product. They may be product managers, business analysts, or actual
customers.) The bullpen may also include testers, interaction designers,
technical writers, and managers.

Agile methods also emphasize working software as the primary measure of
progress. Combined with the preference for face-to-face communication, agile
methods produce very little written documentation relative to other methods.
This has resulted in criticism of agile methods as being undisciplined hacking
(a.k.a. Cowboy coding).
Theo van Stratum
Page 46
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

The Agile Manifesto

Agile methodologies are a family of methodologies, not a single approach to
software development. In 2001, 17 prominent figures in the field of agile
development (then called "light-weight methodologies") came together at the
Snowbird ski resort in Utah to discuss the unifying theme of their
methodologies. They created the Agile Manifesto, widely regarded as the
canonical definition of agile development.

"Manifesto for Agile Software Development
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping
others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on
the left more."

Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward
Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt,
Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken
Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Dave Thomas, © 2001, the above authors
this declaration may be freely copied in any form, but only in its entirety
through this notice.

The Agile Manifesto is accompanied by the Principles behind the Agile
Manifesto, a complete list of agile principles.

Theo van Stratum
Page 47
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Comparison with other types of methodologies

Agile methods are often characterized as being at the opposite end of a
spectrum from "plan-driven" or "disciplined" methodologies. This distinction is
misleading, as it implies that agile methods are "unplanned" or "undisciplined."
A more accurate distinction is to say that methods exist on a continuum from
"adaptive" to "predictive." Agile methods exist on the "adaptive" side of this
continuum.

<--Agile--> <--Iterative--> <--Waterfall-->
<--------|----------------|-------------------|----->
Adaptive Predictive

Adaptive methods focus on adapting quickly to changing realities. When the
needs of a project change, an adaptive team changes as well. An adaptive
team will have difficulty describing exactly what will happen in the future. The
further away a date is, the vaguer an adaptive method will be about what will
happen on that date. An adaptive team can report exactly what tasks are
being done next week, but only which features are planned for next month.
When asked about a release six months from now, an adaptive team may
only be able to report the mission statement for the release, or a statement of
expected value vs. cost.

Predictive methods, in contrast, focus on planning the future in detail. A
predictive team can report exactly what features and tasks are planned for the
entire length of the development process. Predictive teams have difficulty
changing direction. The plan is typically optimized for the original destination
and changing direction can cause completed work to be thrown away and
done over differently. Predictive teams will often institute a change control
board to ensure that only the most valuable changes are considered.



Theo van Stratum
Page 48
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
When to use agile methods
Agile development has been widely documented as working well for small
(<10 developers) collocated teams. Agile development is particularly indicated
for teams facing unpredictable or rapidly changing requirements. While there
are experience reports of teams succeeding with agile development outside of
these parameters, there are too few experiences reported as of April 2005 to
draw firm conclusions.

Agile development's applicability to the following scenarios is open to
question:
- Large scale development efforts (>20 developers)
- Distributed development efforts (non-collocated teams)
- Mission- and life-critical efforts
- Command-and-control company cultures

Boehm and Turner's risk-based approach

Barry Boehm and Richard Turner suggest that risk analysis be used to
choose between adaptive ("agile") and predictive ("plan-driven") methods. The
authors suggest that each side of the continuum has its own home ground:
Agile home ground:
- Low criticality
- Senior developers
- High requirements change
- Small number of developers
- Culture that thrives on chaos

Plan-driven home ground:
- High criticality
- Junior developers
- Low requirements change
- Large number of developers
- Culture that demands order
Theo van Stratum
Page 49
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?

By analyzing the project against these home grounds, the risk of using an
agile or plan-driven method can be determined.

Criticism on the Agile Method

Agile development is sometimes criticized as cowboy coding. Extreme
Programming initial buzz and controversial tenets, such as pair programming
and continuous design, have attracted particular criticism, such as McBreen
and Boehm and Turner.
In particular, Extreme Programming is reviewed and critiqued by Matt
Stephens' Extreme Programming Refactored.

Criticisms include charges that agile development:
- fails to provide an adequate level of structure and necessary
documentation
- only works with senior-level developers
- incorporates insufficient software design
- requires too much cultural change to adopt

What choice to make?
This is depending on team that is led. If the project manager has a
programmers back-ground then the Agile method would be more appropriate,
as I feel that each software engineering project should be run, but if the
project manager doesn't have the right background that this could be difficult.

Theo van Stratum
Page 50
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Chapter 6: Conclusion

Looking at the overall outcome of the research then we are noticing that there
is no single solution this problem. In general the problem lies in experience of
the project manager. We saw that the more experience project manager is
using project management methods to help him steering and managing his
project, the stakeholders, and project team; whilst the less experience project
manager the project leads without these tools.

Due to the fact that most of the less experience project managers is not using
a proper project manager method could lead to:

- Not properly estimating the work on hand,
- Feature
creeping,
- Failing to make deadlines.

When a project starts the project manager needs to access the work on hand
in a way that time, cost, and quality could be correct estimated. This is
especially a problem by internal project management. The triangle of
constrain tells us that the three parameters of a project: Time, Costs, and
Quality cannot be in control of one person (team). Especially first time project
managers fall in this trap. Instead of being able to do a proper assessment
they are told what the project needs to accomplish (quality), when it needs to
be ready (time) and how must they can to spend (cost). In other words he is in
no control whatsoever. If they are lucky then there is a functional description
of the project goal, but more often that is not the case.

With this comes the second problem: Feature creeping:

During the project user expectations changes and that is normal, if it is done
under controlled circumstances (change management) and forces within the
triangle of constrain are managed. But more often the project manager gets
Theo van Stratum
Page 51
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
changes, with the comment: "cost only a few hours to do", and none of the
parameters are changed with it. This makes that a project fails.

The more experience project manager recognises this and will handle
accordingly to get the project in control by introducing a proper functional
specification, signed-off by the stakeholders, and change management to
handle the changes on the functional specification.

This last part is more of a problem if the project is handled according the
"Waterfall" method as it is by the "Agile" method. Remember that feature
creeping isn't a big thing in the "Agile" method due to the fact that the end-
users, stake-holders and project members are involved in the each stage and
decide together what are the features included. The time line is not altered but
features will.

What we further discovered was that in internal projects the project manager
is, in general, not in control of the resources assigned to the project. Most of
the times they are taken from other work within the company and have still
work in their "old" departments. This generates a conflict of interest in the
sense that their loyalty lies with their workplace, after the project they need to
go back. As soon as there are "problems" or colleagues asking for help they
could abandon their work on the project, or in worse cases their manager
could take them of the project, just for a few days. This endangers the project
in a way that is not traceable and reflects on the project manager.

So why does it seems to be that those problems not, or less, occur in projects
led by an external project managers?
It seems that this is due to two things:

1. Experience
2. Authority



Theo van Stratum
Page 52
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
As discussed before: the external project manager is "normally" longer in his
profession and has more experience in leading bigger projects, they "see"
problems arising before they are happening and react pro-active towards
them. But besides that there seems to be a more important "skill" that an
external project manager has: authority.

Generally spoken: the external project manager gets, as a specialist, the
responsibility and authority to handle all things concern the project, including
the hire of resources. Because the project manager is seen as an expert he
has the ear of the board of directors and much of the problems, the internal
project manager has, disappear. Most of the time the project, done by
external project managers has the highest priority in the company, whilst
projects done by internal project leader are lower on the list of priorities. As I
have noticed during the interviews, the internal project manager gets the
responsibility but not the authority, which makes it difficult when decisions
need to be made and office politics starts to kick in.
Theo van Stratum
Page 53
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Communication lines

Board
Internal
Project
Project
team
Manager
Departments

Figure 14: Communication Internal PM

Figure 14 shows the communication lines a internal project manager has to
deal with and we see here that this should be of great concern. Not only flows
the communication between the project manager, the Board, project team,
and departments but also between the individual objects themselves with the
biggest problem that this bypasses the project manager who starts loosing
control.

Board
Departments
Project Manager
Project team

Figure 15 Communications External PM
Theo van Stratum
Page 54
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
In figure 15 we see the more structural project management approach, which
is normally implemented with external project management with the project
manager in the middle. This doesn't imply that the Board and Department are
not talking with the project team member but there are no decisions made
without the project manager.

How to avoid the failing of internal projects? (Recommendations)

To avoid the failing of internal projects due to the causes found in the
research is not easy. It demands a cultural change in the managing of
companies, which start with training for the internal project manager. The
problem with this is that making the choice to go for an internal project
manager most of the time is made to save costs, the salary of the project
manager is already a cost for the company (and most of the time NOT
calculated in the project costs). This means that we must get a budget for
training, not only the project manager but also the project team, if only in
training in new techniques for the project. This is something that is mostly
forgotten or not in the budget. We must however keep in mind that those cost
will result in a better change in finishing the project and the trained project
manager could be used in other projects what will spread the cost.

Further needs "normal" management hand over the authority over the project
resources to the project manager and not interfere by taken resources back,
even for a short time without adjusting the project deliverables (triangle of
constrain). Management needs to tread the internal project manager, as was
he external, with all the responsibilities and authority.

Especially for fresh starting project managers coaching would be a good
alternative. An experience project manager coached the junior project
manager through the project, learning on the job. This could be a hired or
internal project manager, but we must take in consideration that the coach
needs to have a minimal 6 years of project management experience in the
area the project. Especially in the start-up of the project this would be valuable
Theo van Stratum
Page 55
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
in the sense that the coach forces the junior project manager in the use of a
methodology and helps with writing the first drafts of the project goal
document and functional specification. After that first period a bi-weekly
meeting between the coach and project manager would be enough,
depending on the project size.

Choosing the right methodology is crucial, especially in software development
projects. As stated before we have two main lines: Waterfall and Agile
development methods. With all the pro and cons regarding the two
methodologies I tend to favour for the Agile methodology especially when the
project manager is from the development field, which with most of the starting
project manager is the case. The research revealed that more then 90% of
the internal project managers are the more senior developer promoted to do
this job. Waterfall could still be used in smaller, sort term projects. The main
reason for this is, as discussed, that in long term projects, functional
specifications and user requirements could become out of date due to several
changes, ex ­ and internal.

Get from day one change management in place! This is not only for
development task but for everything that has to do with the project:
Documentation, User Requirements, Functional, and Technical specifications.
Make sure that everything done is traceable. By making this a habit the
project manager can make sure that there are no questions during the project.

Last but not least we have the point of quality. To measure quality we must
have a non-ambiguous User Requirements document with the applied change
documents. This together is what the goal for the project is. User Acceptance
Testing can prove that what is build is in the documentation and on correct the
working of it. This means that the project manager needs to make sure that
the appropriate test reports are made before the testing begins. Those report
are a combined User Requirements, Change documentation and users
manual. In the last document are the operating steps noted, and needs to be
used as test document.

Theo van Stratum
Page 56
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
Final statement:
Project Management is a hectic profession and needs to be managed from
the start: Time, Costs, and Quality are the basic parameters that measure a
project on success and failing. By applying the recommendations the project
manager makes sure that he or she is in control of those parameters and not
the other way around. This makes his way to a successful project possible.


Theo van Stratum
Page 57
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?




This page is intentionally left blank

Theo van Stratum
Page 58
19/03/2006
 

Why is it that Internal Project Management mostly fails?
References

- Adler, P. A. & Adler, P. (1987). Membership roles in field research.
Sage, Newbury Park, CA:.
- Beck,
Kent.(1999)
Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change.
Addison-Wesley, Boston.
- Boehm, B. and Turner, R. (2004), Balancing Agility and Discipline: A
Guide for the Perplexed, Addison-Wesley, Boston.
- Brooks, Frederick P. (2004), The Mythical Man-Month, Addison-
Wesley, Boston, USA
- Bruce, Andy et al (2000), Project Management, Dorling Kindersley,
Londen
- DeWalt, K. M. & DeWalt, B. R. (2002). Participant observation. AltaMira
Press , Walnut Creek, CA:.
- Duncan,
Christopher.
(2002),
The Career Programmer, Après,
Berkeley, CA
- Fowler, Martin.( 2001) Is Design Dead?. (Appeared in Extreme
Programming Explained), G. Succi and M. Marchesi, ed., Addison-
Wesley, Boston..
- Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity. Stanford
University Press, Stanford, CA:.
- Malinowski,
B.
(1922/1961).
Argonauts of the Western Pacific. E. P.
Dutton, New York:.
- McConnell, Steve (2004). Code Complete, 2nd edition, Microsoft
Press.
- McConnell, Steve (1996). Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software
Schedules, Microsoft Press
- Newton, Richard. (2005), The Project Manager: Mastering the Art of
Delivery, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Indiana, USA
- Stephens M., Rosenberg D..( 2003) Extreme Programming Refactored:
The Case Against XP. Apress L.P., Berkeley, California.
- Wolcott, H. F. (1995). The art of fieldwork. AltaMira Press, Walnut
Creek, CA:.
- Wolcott, H. F. (1999). Ethnography: A way of seeing. AltaMira Press,
Walnut Creek, CA:.
Theo van Stratum
Page 59
19/03/2006
 
 
dd
Home | Spanish | Portugese | Chinese | French | Online Courses | Available Courses | View Course Demo | Career Center | Available Positions | Ask Career Coach | The Job Interview | Writing Resume | Accreditation | Areas of Study | Bachelor Degree Programs | Masters Degree Programs | Doctoral Degree Programs | Course and Curriculum | Human Rights | Online Library | Links Exchange | 54 Million Records | Press Room | New Look | Representations | Student Publications | Share with Us | Alumni | Graduates | Sponsors | General Information | Mission & Vision | School of Business and Economics | School of Science and Engineering | School of Social and Human Studies | Download Center | Admission Requirements | Tuition | Apply Online | Faculty & Staff | Distance Learning Overview | Student Testimonials | Frequently Asked Questions | Distance Learning Request Information | Register for Program | Admission Application Form

Copyright ® 1979 - 2006, 2007 Atlantic International University . All rights reserved.
Google