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Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Discovering the Causes of IT Project Failures in Government Agencies

Discovering the Causes of IT Project Failures in Government Agencies
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Author(s): Mark R. Nelson (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)and Diana Thomas (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 3
Source title: Information Technology & Organizations: Trends, Issues, Challenges & Solutions
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-066-0.ch278
ISBN13: 9781616921248
EISBN13: 9781466665330


This project used an extensive collection of longitudinal project-related documents to gain a better understanding of project failure in large-scale government IT projects. The study focused on the Tax System Modernization (TSM) project at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), primarily from 1986 to 1997. During that time period, the agency spent over USD $3.5 billion on the TSM project, which was terminated at the end of the time period having failed to achieve several major objectives. Using a qualitative approach and working with a large volume of project-related documentation, this study found factors not previously reported in the literature that may inhibit the success of large-scale IT projects in government agencies. The findings from the study introduce several new questions for future research.

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