Software Development Failures

Kweku Ewusi-Mensah





Failed or abandoned software development projects cost the U.S. economy alone billions of dollars a year. In Software Development Failures, Kweku Ewusi-Mensah offers an empirically grounded study that suggests why these failures happen and how they can be avoided. Case studies analyzed include the well-known Confirm travel industry reservation program, FoxMeyer's Delta, the IRS's Tax System Modernization, the Denver International Airport's Baggage Handling System, and CODIS.

It has been estimated that one-third of software development projects fail or are abandoned outright because of cost overruns, delays, and reduced functionality. Some consider this an acceptable risk -- that it is simply the cost of doing business. Ewusi-Mensah argues that understanding the factors involved in development failures will help developers and businesses bring down the rate of software failure and abandoned projects.

Ewusi-Mensah explores the reasons software development projects are vulnerable to failure and why issues of management and organization are at the core of any failed project. He examines these projects not from a deterministically technical perspective but as part of a complex technical and social process; he proposes a framework of factors that contribute to the decision to abandon a project and enumerates the risks and uncertainties inherent in each phase of a project's life cycle. Exploring the multiplicity of factors that make software development risky, he presents empirical data that is reinforced by analyses of the reported cases. He emphasizes the role of the user in the development process and considers the effect of organizational politics on a project. Finally, he considers what lessons can be learned from past failures and how software development practices can be improved.

Kweku Ewusi-Mensah is Professor of Computer Information Systems at Loyola Marymount University.



Table of Contents:

Preface ix
I Conceptual Issues 1
1 Software Development Project Failures 3
2 Software Project Characteristics 29
3 Factors Critical to Abandoned Software Projects 47
II Empirical Factors 71
4 Socioorganizational Factors and Abandoned Projects 73
5 Technical Factors and Abandoned Projects 107
6 Economic Factors and Abandoned Projects 137
7 User Perspectives on Software Development Failures 153
III Learning from Failures 187
8 Postabandonment Review: Learning from Abandoned Projects 189
9 Software Development: A Strategic Paradigm 221
10 Project Failures and Aftermath 239
References 255
Index 265


《軟體開發失敗》一書中,Kweku Ewusi-Mensah提供了一個以實證為基礎的研究,解釋了為什麼軟體開發失敗以及如何避免這些失敗。書中分析了一些案例,包括著名的Confirm旅遊業預訂系統、FoxMeyer的Delta、國稅局的稅務系統現代化、丹佛國際機場的行李處理系統以及CODIS。



Kweku Ewusi-Mensah是洛約拉瑪利蒙特大學的計算機信息系教授。

I. 概念問題
1. 軟體開發項目失敗
2. 軟體項目特性