3 Triumphs, 3 Breakdowns

By Kim S. Nash Print this article Print

What did it take to get noticed last year, for better or worse? Big numbers.

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Do project managers learn from their mistakes? As a profession, the record suggests no. What dooms a technology project can be parroted by any sleepy MBA student: workers who shun change, corporate politics, poor management.

"We, in this profession, can't seem to learn from failures," says Mark Keil, associate professor of information systems at Georgia State University. While aviators, civil engineers and others systematically study failures to avoid future mistakes, technology managers largely don't, says Keil, who studies failed tech projects. "There's a tendency to sweep them under the rug."

Buggy software can damage a project. Yet, decisions made by project leaders during an implementation can impact the outcome. Perhaps proving that point: Oracle software was involved in both a Baseline triumph and a breakdown from last year.

It's just as critical to look at what goes right. The lessons are there. Here are three triumphs and three breakdowns from the past year.

This article was originally published on 2003-01-01
Senior Writer
Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.
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