article1380714134_Nasir and Sahibuddin - Scientific Research and Essays Vol 6(10 pp 2174-2186 18 May 2011 Available online at

article1380714134_Nasir and Sahibuddin - Scientific...

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Scientific Research and Essays Vol. 6(10), pp. 2174-2186, 18 May, 2011 Available online at DOI: 10.5897/SRE10.1171 ISSN 1992-2248 ©2011 Academic Journals Full Length Research Paper Critical success factors for software projects: A comparative study Mohd Hairul Nizam Nasir 1 * and Shamsul Sahibuddin 2 1 Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, University of Malaya, Malaysia. 2 Advanced Informatics School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia. Accepted 16 February, 2011 Although there have been studies completed on the critical success factors of software projects, these studies all have been specific to one particular country. There has been no comprehensive study reporting on different project sizes in various domains and in multiple countries. We present our extensive literature survey of critical success factors that impact software projects. Forty-three articles from the years 1990 to 2010 were found to be significant contributions that could be analysed in order to develop a list of critical factors that specifically affect the success of software projects. The method of content analysis and frequency analysis was adopted. Twenty-six critical success factors were found to be related to software project success. We suggest that organisation or project manager is attentive to control the top five critical factors to drive towards project success since the percentage of frequency of occurrences for each is more than 50%. Also, it appears that non-technical factors (94%) dominated over technical factors (6%). In a result unique to our study compared with previous one, we found that the factors of clear and frozen requirements, realistic estimation of the schedule and budget, along with a competent project manager are the five most critical success factors of software projects. Key words: Critical success factors, software project management, comparative study, project failure, project success. INTRODUCTION The term ‘Software Engineering’ was first coined at the first NATO Software Engineering Conference in Germany in 1968 (Naur and Randell, 1969), and there was widespread consensus that there were problems with software development and maintenance. These problems were later discussed by Brooks (1975, 1987, 1995), and he concluded that there is no silver bullet to overcome this problem. The term ‘Software Crisis’ emerged to describe the software industry’s inability to provide customers with high quality products within schedule and under budget. Hardware costs were dropping while software costs were rising rapidly. Major computer system projects were sometimes years late, and the resulting software was unreliable, hard to maintain and performed poorly. Since the 1980s, in the medical field for example, computers have been designed to help people, and most *Corresponding author. E-mail: [email protected]
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