If I had a dollar for every time a potential client told me how easy web development is, or asked me to estimate the re-development of a Facebook-like website after a ten minute phone call I could travel around the world for a couple months. It it was easy to estimate and develop web applications (or any IT project for that matter) over 60% of projects wouldn't fail. No, those aren't LevelTen's averages. That's a report from the Standish Group.
Project failure statistics
The Standish Group's just-released report, "CHAOS Summary 2009," which states that:
- 32% of all projects are actually delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions
- 44% of projects are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions
- 24% of projects are canceled prior to completion or delivered and never used.
These numbers represent a down-tick in the success rates from the previous study, as well as a significant increase in the number of failures", says Jim Crear, Standish Group CIO, "They are low point in the last five study periods. This year's results represent the highest failure rate in over a decade"
Over a decade! Sounds to me like some IT and development firms need to do a much better job of setting realistic expectations. No wonder potential clients are blown away when I tell them "this "stuff" ain't easy." Come one guys, if it was easy LevelTen wouldn't hire Johns Hopkins grads, or University of Texas elites, or Brown alumni, or Ithaca...
The simple truth is that success takes strategic planning, good execution and of course a realistic budget. Sure, a next door neighbor, cousin, or small design shop can probably build a brochure-style website with little functionality, but hiring those people to create a database driven website that looks professional, functions properly and drives website traffic is probably not a good idea.
With that being said, it's also a very, very bad idea to try to "tape" a failed project together on a small budget just because the first project failed miserably. Not doing it right the second time around will lead to the same exact result as the first.
So, the next time you plan a web project and get 3 bids for $30k and 1-2 bids for $130k, you may want to seriously look at the higher priced agencies first. They probably live in a more realistic web development world and are trying to protect your investment rather than see you fail.