Causes of Failure

"Why Did My Project Fail?" - Identifying Failure Causes in eGovernment Projects

Most e-government projects fail (follow this link for evidence in this sense). If this happens, e-government practitioners involved may wish to understand why. This page offers some basic guidance on how to identify causes of failure on e-government projects in developing/transitional countries.

General Questions About Identifying Failure Causes

  • Why ? The aim of identifying failure causes is learning and knowledge building either in order to reduce the risk on future e-government projects and/or in order to revive the currently failed project.
  • When ? Identification of failure causes can be done at any time after implementation of the e-government project. The sooner you identify failure causes, the sooner you can do something about it and the fresher everyone's memory of events will be. On the other hand, a later evaluation can bring more perspective and objectivity to the process.
  • Who ? A small team consisting of a mix of different stakeholders is the best unit to identify causes of e-gov failure. The fewer people involved, the greater the chance that you miss an important cause and the greater the difficulties of cascading knowledge throughout the organisation. The more people involved, the higher the time and financial and other costs of the exercise.
  • How ? Identification of failure causes can best be seen as part of a larger process of learning from e-gov failure.

Specific Techniques for Identifying Causes of Failure in eGov Projects

1. Simple Factor Identification

This takes a very simple, 'one size fits all' approach, based on an analysed list of success and failure factors for e-government projects. This provides a very basic checklist of presence or absence of these factors.

2. Design-Reality Gap Analysis

A gap exists for all e-government projects between the design assumptions/requirements and the reality of the client public sector organisation. This gap can be measured along seven 'ITPOSMO' dimensions. The dimensions that show the largest gap are the most likely causes of project failure.

Subpages (2): DRG Model Factor Model