Nike store

Case Study: Nike’s Adventure with Supply Chain Planning Software

A Nike Factory store in Atlantic City, NJ.  Photo by Shabai Liu, CC license. Background In February 2001 Nike, Inc. announced that it would miss sales and profit targets for the quarter due to problems with supply chain software it had begun to implement the previous year. The company said that it had experienced unforeseen […]

US Pop

Case Study: The 2010 Census

Image: U.S. Counties, population change 2000-2010, by Joe Wolf, CC license   Failed IT projects are not unusual in the government sector. Big IT projects are hard enough without the added complexity, delays, politics, and bureaucracy of government entities. But leaving those dysfunctions aside, there is much to learn from these failures. The 2010 Census […]


Case Study: Denver Airport Baggage System

Photo: Denver Airport pano, by Doug Waldron, CC license “Denver Airport” has become synonymous with epic technology failure for those who remember the colossal breakdown of that airport’s ambitious new automated baggage handling system in 1995. Just two numbers explain the magnitude of the failure: 16 months — the delay in opening Denver’s new airport […]

Why Wouldn’t I Want SaaS?

Software-as-a-Service is challenging the paradigm that software is a thing you buy, take back to your office and install. Looking back some day, we might shake our heads and wonder why any enterprise ever thought it had to purchase and physically install a copy of millions of lines of code that ran on a computer […]


Ten Ways to Drive Project Success

Photo: astronaut Eugene Cernan salutes American flag on the surface of the moon, December 1972, Goddard Space Flight Center, CC license. Our team felt pretty good one day in early March, 2012, when we went live on an SAP system — manufacturing, inventory, order processing, MRP, demand planning, purchasing, shipping and receiving, and finance – […]


Ten Ways to Land in the Money Pit

Image by Nick Ayres, CC license Big software project failures can frequently be tied back to decisions made at the very beginning of the project. As the government struggles to launch after the expenditure of several hundred million dollars, it’s logical to question the original decision to build from scratch software programs that may […]

Nip the Losing Projects in the Bud

How do software projects get started anyway? Someone went to a conference. A department manager wants to “streamline workflow.” A sales VP says his team is wasting time with old and slow systems. A “transformational” project is launched. A new plant or warehouse is being planned. Customers start asking for things your company cannot do […]

A Rocky History: Studies of IT Project Failure

Studies over the past 15 years show enterprise software project failure rates ranging between one-third and two-thirds. Failure is defined in various ways – over budget, taking much longer than planned to implement, causing major business disruptions, or simply abandoned.  The OASIG Study OASIG, an organizational management group in the UK, commissioned a study in […]

Software Has Always Been Problematic

Software is like no other product on earth – it is a collection of millions of lines of instructions telling a computer what to do. You can’t “see” software; reading the lines of code would tell you nothing unless you had written the code yourself, and even programmers themselves can easily forget what they did. […]