Information Technology has played a major part in increasing the productivity and effectiveness of business companies, nonprofit and governmental organization during the last century.
It’s self-evident to see that the increase of business demanding for software usage has increased the importance of software development interchangeably. While building a sophisticated and huge software is now possible due to the revolutionary technical resources, there is still a trade-off that comes with this kind of development. The explosion of software complexity caused to escalate software failures dramatically. Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of software projects failures which have cost the IT industry billions of dollars, not to mention the time and the effort that has been completely wasted.
This tragedy might happen because of different factors. However, following software engineering principles and applying the right methods for software development could make software failures, for the most part, predictable and avoidable. This report will explore a case study of a project failure by describing the project background, the development procedures that were followed, the evolution of problems including time and cost issues, and finally analyzing the reasons behind this failure and how could have been avoided.Background InformationBefore jumping into the case study details, it is good to know some information related to the project owner. Sydney Water Co, which owned by the Government of New South Wales, is the biggest water services provider in Australia.
This corporation aims to recycle and filter wastewater in order to provide drinkable water. Sydney Water operates on a large scale and has many implications for the public health as well as the environment. Therefore, there were many IT projects that have been implemented in this corporation. The largest project was called Customer Information and Billing System abbreviated as CIBS. The objectives of this project were to enhance customers service, fulfil the business efficiency by improving the existing information systems, and integrating 12 internal business systems with 60 external interfaces. CIBS launched in March 2000 after the contract was won by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers).
Problems EvolutionAfter discovering the background of this project and who was responsible for its development, let’s dive into its details and discover how it ended up being a disastrous project. Basically, CIBS project was divided into three discrete projects as following: the first release (R1) which was a tool that provides services for major customers, the second release (R2) which afford an electronic interaction with commercial and land developers and, finally, the third release (R3) which was the fundamental core of this project that brings the customer information and billing engine. The R1 and R2 components were implemented, although R2 did not obtain its all functionality. Initially, the problems have started from the PwC side because the development team was inexperienced in system integration so they worked in a low esteem. Actually, they didn’t only underestimate the project complexity, but also they didn’t have enough qualified human resources in order to cover up the shortfall that has happened.