Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title

Procedia Computer Science





Conference Name

2013 Complex Adaptive Systems Conference, CAS 2013; Baltimore, MD; United States; 13 November 2013 through 15 November 2013


Increased demand for better technology and perpetual global expansion continue to provide developers with many project opportunities for success, as well as failure. While no industry is immune from project failure, the Information Technology (IT) industry is shown to be more susceptible to risk and failure than those of other industries. Agile project management, which facilitates adaptation to changing circumstances and alleviates rigid formal controls, has become more popular in the software development industry though is not entirely compatible with traditional project management approaches.In this paper we will examine the primary causes of IT project management failure stated in modern literature, analyze these causes, and discuss the degree of complexity within the projects from a systemic perspective related to emergence, non- monotonicity, and non-ergodicity. The paper concludes with some conceptual management approaches that respond to these "true" root causes of failure, for applications in agile organizations and beyond. © 2013 The Authors.


Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.

Original Publication Citation

Whitney, K. M., & Daniels, C. B. (2013). The root cause of failure in complex IT projects: Complexity itself. Procedia Computer Science, 20, 325-330. doi:10.1016/j.procs.2013.09.280