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Project over-runs make US IT workers scared for their jobs

Europeans are much more chilled

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The majority of European IT professionals say that a failure to finish projects on time would not pose a risk to their job. Under a quarter of IT workers in the US felt safe enough to say the same.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Hewlett-Packard conducted an investigation into the delivery of large scale IT projects. It found that Europeans felt secure in their jobs regardless of delivery performance, whereas workers in the US and Asia felt less secure.

In Europe, 51 per cent of IT professionals said that the late delivery of projects would not pose a threat to their continued employment. In Asia that figure was 33 per ent but in the US it was 22 per cent.

Large IT projects are notorious for slipping well past time and budget targets, and the survey indicates that a lack of accountability and worker complacency could be a factor.

"This shows the lack of accountability of IT departments in delivering business results," said David Quantrell, vice president of HP Software in Europe.

The survey asked IT workers what the causes of delays most often were. The top three most common delays were outsourcing, a change in management priorities midway through a project, and poor co-ordination between managers.

In Europe, Sweden was most likely to have projects completed on time. There, 44 per cent of IT workers were able to say that all of their IT projects had been finished on time in the last three years.

No other European country was even able to say that a quarter of projects had been completed on deadline. The next most punctual nation was Switzerland with 24 per cent of IT workers saying their projects finished on time. In the UK only 11 per cent of workers could say that, placing it sixth in the European league table.

The survey of 1,125 IT workers found that the consequences of late projects were late delivery of new products and the loss of the predicted revenue from those products.

"In business, speed is increasingly of the essence. It is cause for alarm then that so many of those surveyed deliver IT projects late," said Denis McCauley, director of global technology research at the EIU. "Companies that succeed in accelerating IT project and service delivery have a significant advantage, while those that do not may suffer at the hand of the competition." ®

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