AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT FAILURES IN SRI LANKA

A. J. Perera, S. P. P. Amaratunge

Abstract


Software development projects are considered as a unique entity in terms of project management due to the inherent attributes they encapsulate, thus making them distinct and susceptible to failure. Therefore, the importance of software project risk management is emphasized where the identification of the factors which affect software development projects to fail being the main component. This survey-based study focuses on identifying the factors that affect software development failures and the causes of these factors in Sri Lankan software development companies. Twenty-seven factors affecting software development failures were identified using a stringent scientific methodology and were tested to ascertain their validity, importance and the causes in terms of the Sri Lankan context using an interview based questionnaire. Twenty-five software development companies which belong to the software exporters‟ association were selected for data collection, and the gathered data were analyzed to ascertain the significance to the defined objectives using statistical tools. Misunderstanding of user requirements, poor project management skills of managers, and the lack of communication between the members of the software development team were identified as the top three factors affecting software development failures in Sri Lanka, while the lack of proper communication between the development team and the customer, poor project management knowledge of managers, and lack of proper planning were identified as the main phenomena which cause these factors to originate in software development projects in Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka Journal of Business Economics