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Software Project Failure

Software Project failure

Organization starts a project according to the client requirements, with intent of deploying it successfully to perform all the function required by the client or as required by the business. However there are some faults which later results in failures, due to this reason goal of organization is not achieved. Project fails due to lack of management , lack of planning , improper monitoring or control , unclear project objective , improper testing etc.


Project type : Payroll system
Project name : Novopay

KPMG shone a spotlight report in 2010 , on ineffective project management in New Zealand. In this report they includes all about failed project in 12-month period and illustration of one such failure in New Zealand.[1]

  • [7 marks] In your own words, describe the project and its failure circumstances in at least 100 words. Cite your sources of information (At least one web URL or book/journal citation is acceptable).

Project Description:

Novopay system is a payroll system which is web based and this system is for state and state integrated schools of New Zealand, that would streamline payments to the 110,000 teachers, administrators and staff at 2,457 schools in New Zealand. This system was purchased by the New Zealand Ministry of Education for $182 million over ten years. The project had its origins in a 2005 and ministry take decision that the existing system needs some modernization and this modernization was implemented after seven years of planning and development by Australian human resources company Talent2 in August 2012. The original project to be implemented in 2010, but after a number of delays the project reached operationally status in Aug of 2012.

Project Failure:

After its operational launch number of widespread problems were encountered. Many Teachers or employees of the school receiving the wrong pay , while for others no pay at all. 90% schools were affected within a few months.

This type of problems were continued to grow and this problem became news headlines in New Zealand. Affected Employees faced the cash flow problem and they had to struggle to maintain their personal finances. this problem were causing due to system failure.

By Tracking and analysis the system after the launch, identified more than 500 distinct defects in the system. From those 500 errors 44 were very serious errors. while in aug 2012 only 147 live defects were reported and at that time quality assurance team failed to tracked other errors and that system entered incorrect data and leading to incorrect payroll payments and their related problems.

This problem was solved In Oct 2014, Novopay System transitioned to be 100% operated by Ministry of Education of New Zealand.

  • [7 marks] What do you think are the two (2) major reasons why the project failed.

Reason 1:

Unresolved errors: The system was implemented with a high number of unresolved defects. 500 errors were reported after the launch in which 44 errors were very serious . System failure was occur due to these unresolved defects.

Reason 2:

Unclear Requirements and poor design: Second reason of failure is the Requirements problems and poor system design which leads to poorly designed reports that inhibited management oversight of the system’s use. There are no data validation steps to ensure the quality of the data.

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