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Impossible Deadlines And Size-Zero Budgets To Blame for Web Projects Failures

UK IT managers and directors admit that web projects are repeatedly failing to fully meet business or organisational objectives according to an independent survey commissioned by Ruby on Rail developer, New Bamboo.

Respondents of the survey claimed this was due to three key reasons: (1) too many changing requirements; (2) too many stake holders to please; (3) not enough budget or time to deliver.

The study, which questioned 100 senior IT managers and directors across businesses from a variety of industries, showed that the majority of businesses and organisations (61% of respondents surveyed) were still involved in delivering a basic web site or upgrade on an existing site.

Whilst four out of ten IT managers and directors were trying to deliver either a bespoke solution unique to their business or e-commence functionality to their existing site.

Damien Tanner, Co-founder of New Bamboo said, "It is critical to get the basics right. If companies are willing to accept failings in the development process for smaller projects, there is a real chance they may not revise their processes before tackling more ambitious projects.

The end goal is to deliver business value - yet rigid requirements make it difficult to react to the changes that inevitably occur as knowledge and environments evolve. Requirements that have been omitted are generally picked up late in the process - by which time they are awkward and costly to implement".

Key findings include:
* Nearly a quarter of website projects fail to be delivered within
budget (24%) and 5% were unable to confirm the final cost of their web development project
* 21% fail to meet stakeholder requirements
* Nearly a third of web based projects (31%) were not delivered within the agreed timescales
* Three elements that cause web project failures were too many changing requirements (55%), Too many stake holders to please (48%), Not enough budget or time to deliver (31%)
* Nearly half of basic web based projects continue to be built in-house; with 28% are outsourced to third parties.

These failings are set to become more prominent as companies want to develop more complex projects or bespoke solutions to unique business needs - such as social networking, e-commence and interactive elements with their customers.

The RoR developer believes that the key to solving this issue is to take a collaborative and iterative approach to web project development, with all stakeholders sharing ownership of the project, and ensuring that the expectations of the business and the final product are aligned.

This approach involves regular meetings with all stakeholders where working software is tested and a certain amount of QA is carried out, which not only keeps the project on course for success but also ensures that mistakes are rectified early on.

The research, conducted by independent market researchers on behalf of New Bamboo, surveyed 100 IT professionals from large organisations in several industries, including Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Distribution and Transport.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.