Haze in Thinking


The Standish Group has issued two companion papers.  The first paper is “Rethinking the Public Spending on ICT projects” and the second paper is titled simply “Haze”.  The Haze paper contains within it the Rethinking of the Public Spending on ICT projects report.  Both papers are a response to a report by the Dutch temporary committee on government ICT projects.  The Dutch Government report contains many recommendations and policies. Many of these policies such as having a strong and skilled executive sponsor come right from the CHAOS playbook. 

On the other hand some might add to an already burdensome bureaucracy. Careful considerations of these recommendations must be considered in the current political environment for them to work. Some of the recommendations have been tried; some with success and some without success or improvement. The 3 papers can be found on the Haze Activity Resource page: http://www.standishgroup.com/haze

“Rethinking the Public Spending on ICT projects” report was written by Hans Mulder and Ilias Kontakos.  The focus of this serious report is a commentary on the findings of the Dutch temporary committee on government ICT projects. The committee concluded that taxpayers’ money has been and continues to be wasted. The committee has put forth a number of suggestions to solve the issue of government failures. Hans and Ilias have analyzed these suggestions and present their conclusions in this important report. You should note when reading tne ICT paper although it is directed at the Dutch government, you could do a find and replace the word Dutch with any of your governments.

Haze Report adds value to “Rethinking the Public Spending on ICT projects” report.  The report considers the current state of software developed and innovation as a comparison to the current state of government projects.  The report provides a number of data points reflecting the current state of government projects.  It also provides a reflection on the lifestyle of high efficient transformational projects.  The purpose of this thinking is to highlight that most government projects are not innovative, but transactional.  Transactional projects are generally less complex and easier to manage and complete.  Government projects become complex and hard to manage because of unfortunate decision-making on the part of government arduous bureaucracy and practices, and back room deals.

In the original CHAOS Report we set out three objectives to examine: 1) the scope of software project failures; 2) the major factors that cause software projects to fail; and 3) the key ingredients that can reduce project failures. In our 21st edition, we look at the scope of project failure, and then consider primary causes and best practices cures. The new report shows overall results with only minor improvement in success rates.  The 3 papers can be found on the Haze Activity Resource page: http://www.standishgroup.com/haze

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Subject Matter

Optimizing Scope

About the Author:


Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson is chairman of The Standish Group. He has been professionally involved in the computer industry for over 40 years and has a long list of published books, papers, articles and speeches. He has a combination of technical, marketing, and research achievements focused on mission-critical applications and technology. He is best known for his research on project performance and early recognizing technology trends. Jim is a pioneer of modern research techniques and continues to advance in the research industry through case-based analytical technology.

Hans Mulder

Prof.dr.ing. Hans Mulder MSc BA is Standish European research director and professor at the Antwerp Management School. As the founder of his own company, Venture Informatisering Adviesgroep, he is on the management and executive boards of various IT companies. He is regularly engaged as an IT expert when conflicts between companies need to be resolved in or out of court.

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