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Why Do Projects Fail? Report

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2019

A Computer-assisted dispatch system (LASCAD) was implemented by the London Ambulance Service in October 1992 (Beynon-davies 1995, p.171). This was a major software project that was supposed to substitute the manual system (Fitzgerald & Russo 2005, p.248).

The LASCAD system started experiencing problems only nine days after it was launched. Erroneous vehicle information was recorded by the system due to the wrong key that was pressed by a crew member (McGrath 2002, p.254). Hence, vehicles were incorrectly allocated leading to long delays.

The LASCAD system soon came into a standstill because of the large and spiraling calls made by patients in order to receive help. Several calls were captured by the system within a very short time. The delay caused a massive death of patients. Eventually, the chief executive officer of LASCAD was compelled to resign. A new LASCAD system was put in place after four years.

From the case study, it is evident that the initial management of the VCF, LASCAD and the baggage-handling project were not realistic at all. In addition, the software project failed due to lack of prior testing of LASCAD’s emergency backup system. Worse still, the LASCAD’s operators lacked adequate training before the system went live (Chua 2009, p.33).

In yet another project failure, a large IT software platform known as MANDATA was set up by the Australian Public Service Board in 1970 (Chua 2009, p.33). The IT project was supposed to automate personnel administration. However, the software project failed and did not meet the set objectives. The brainchild of the project retired shortly after the feasibility of the study was accomplished (Hamill & Goseva-Popstojanova 2009, p.488).

One of the reasons for failure was the funding restriction. Lack of adequate funding to install all the pertinent software and maintenance of the facility was a core challenge. There was also limited support from the MANDATA users. In addition, lack of full engagement among the Rural Inclusion Support Program (RISP) workers was also noted as a major source of failure (Hamill & Goseva-Popstojanova 2009, p.487).

Lack of frequent interaction among the stakeholders of CONFIRM. The complexity of the project in the course of its operation hampered the smooth monitoring of all the pertinent activities. For example, the strategies used to implement changes at MANDATA were quite ineffective and complicated. These were some of the failure reasons for the large software project that was supposed to ease down operations at both the locak and national level.

References

Beynon-davies, P 1995, “Information systems ‘failure’: the case of the London Ambulance Service’s Computer Aided Despatch project”, European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 171-184.

Chua, A.Y.K. 2009, “Exhuming It Projects From Their Graves: An Analysis Of Eight Failure Cases And Their Risk Factors”, The Journal of Computer Information Systems, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 31-39.

Fitzgerald, G., & Russo, N L 2005, “The turnaround of the London ambulance service computer-aided despatch system (LASCAD)”. European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 14 no. 3, pp. 244-257.

Hamill, M. & Goseva-Popstojanova, K. 2009, “Common Trends in Software Fault and Failure Data”, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 484-496.

McGrath, K. 2002, “The Golden Circle: A way of arguing and acting about technology in the London Ambulance Service”, European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 251-266.

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