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Why New Systems Fail: An Insider's Guide to Successful IT Projects [Paperback]

by Phil Simon, Bruce F. Webster
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 23, 2010 1435456440 978-1435456440 1
A Fortune 500 manufacturing company spent millions attempting to implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Across the globe, a 150-employee marketing firm built and tried to implement a proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) system. For two very different companies doing two very different things, the outcomes were identical. In each case, the organization failed to activate and utilize its system as initially conceived by senior management. And these two organizations are hardly alone. On the contrary, research indicates that more than three in five new IT projects fail. Many miss their deadlines. Others exceed their initial budgets, often by ghastly amounts. Even systems activated on time and under budget often fail to produce their expected results and almost immediately experience major problems. Although the statistics are grim, there is at least some good news: these failures can be averted. Organizations often lack the necessary framework to minimize the chance of system failure before, during, and after beginning IT projects. 

Why New Systems Fail provides such a framework, with specific tools, tips, and insight from the perspective of a seasoned, independent consultant with more than a decade of related experience. The book examines in great detail the root causes of system failures. Detailed case studies, examples, and lessons from actual system implementations are presented in an informative, straightforward, and very readable manner. More than a theoretical or technical text, this book offers pragmatic advice for organizations both deploying new systems and maintaining existing ones.

Frequently Bought Together

Why New Systems Fail: An Insider's Guide to Successful IT Projects + Control Your ERP Destiny: Reduce Project Costs, Mitigate Risks, and Design Better Business Solutions + Modern erp: select, implement & use today's advanced business systems
Price for all three: $131.88

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Editorial Reviews


"Simon's book offers practical advice on why IT projects run late, over-budget, and do not achieve planned results. The framework is clear and the examples compelling, making this book a manifesto for success." -Michael Krigsman - CEO of Asuret, Inc., and ZDNet Blogger on IT Project Failures

"Projects are multidimensional. They're technical, political, financial, personal, emotional, logistical, and more. Great project leaders anticipate these dimensions before the project begins. Read Phil's book to recognize the pitfalls and minimize their impact on your organization and your career. You can't work the plan until you've really planned the work" - Brian Sommer, founder of TechVentive and Vital Analysis

"Simon's book honestly portrays the many small, but crucial, aspects of system failures that too many people in the industry don't want to admit." - Jim Harris, Founder of OCDQBlog, independent consultant, speaker, and writer.

"A good read and as insightful as any I have read about enterprise software project management and the obstacles to success." - David F. Carr, independent journalist and former writer for Baseline Magazine

About the Author

Phil Simon is a frequent keynote speaker and recognized technology expert. He is the award-winning author of six management books, including the forthcoming The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions. He consults organizations on matters related to strategy, data, and technology. His contributions have been featured on The Harvard Business Review, CNN, NBC, CNBC, Inc. Magazine, BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, The New York Times, ReadWriteWeb, and many other sites.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435456440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435456440
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Phil Simon (@philsimon) is a sought-after speaker and the award-winning author of six management books, most recently The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions. A recognized technology expert, he advises organizations on matters related to strategy, data, and technology. His contributions have been featured on Harvard Business Review, CNN, Wired, NBC, CNBC, Inc, BusinessWeek, Huffington Post, Fast Company, The New York Times, and many other sites.

To find out more about Phil and his books, go to

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Book January 25, 2011
By Dianne
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came across this book while starting to plan an ERP implementation and purchased it based on the feedback on Amazon.

In my opinion this really is an outstanding book. It is one of the most useful I've come across in all my years in the business. It is written in a conversational style, not loaded with jargon for the sake of jargon and the author uses real-world examples to illustrate his points. It offers valuable insights, advice and tips.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Of course I may update this review based on how the implementation goes :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review July 3, 2010
By Raz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book takes a very practical approach to IT systems implementation by providing many examples from successes as well as failures. Many books concentrate on the development phases and neglect somehow the implementation phases, which are as important. This book concentrates on the implementation phase and this is what makes it unique. The examples are mainly from ERP implementations and specifically HR and Payroll modules, but you still can extrapolate from those examples to other type of modules an systems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book offers sound, practical advice for anyone considering a system implementation or upgrade. It's writen in a manner that offers the reader real-life solutions to typical implementation challenges. Rarely does an IT book make you smile too. This one does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little known facts revealed May 11, 2010
By B Pavo
Having implemented several ERPs and financial packages Simon's "Why New Systems Fail" series is accurate and insightful. If only this was written 20 years ago I could have saved alot of time and done things right the first time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The book uses a simple, true-to-life approach to educate the reader while keeping him entertained. Phil Simon provides valuable insight and explanations of practical solutions for Project Managers or CEOs. Simon's language communicates his knowledge with the reader in a clear and comprehensive manner.

The book is logically organized in five major parts, arranged into chapters that contain real world case studies and practical guides where mistakes leading to failure are clearly outline and explained. Simon has a unique ability to break down complex problems to adapt to the readers' needs.

Adaptability is key for CEOs and program managers, and the information in this book could be valuable if absorbed and implemented in the proper way. Simon maps a practical way to successfully implement your IT systems by providing examples of just that along with those implementations' successes and failures.

I wish I'd had this book ten years ago; I'd probably be better off financially and further along in my career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desktop Favorite July 20, 2010
Having worked on IT projects from both the client and vendor side, reading this book brought back chilling memories of past catastrophes. The insight and solutions contained in this book are very real and explained in practical ways that would have helped me save lots of time and the company lots of money. The content is delivered in a very tangible format with clearly written and supported business based case studies. The authors writing style enables the reader to experience real life scenarios that overlay concepts that most IT people are currently facing in their work environment. And although most IT books will put you to sleep, the author does a good job at infusing enough levity to keep the reader entertained. I highly recommend reading this book and doing as I have done....keep one by your desk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why new Systems Fail December 28, 2011
Information systems projects frequently fail. Depending upon which study you read, the failure rate of large projects is reported as being between 50%-80%.
Due to the natural human tendency to hide bad news, the real statistic is most likely higher.
This is a catastrophic and as an industry we are failing at our jobs.

As defined by CIO.COM Projects fail when they do not meet the following criteria for success:
* On time delivery
* Delivery within the budget
* The product/system does what it was designed to do
Very few projects achieve all three.
Many more are delivered which fail on one or more of these criteria, and a substantial number are cancelled having totally imploded.
So what are the key factors for success?
Organizations and individuals have studied a number of projects that have both succeeded and failed and some common factors emerge.
A key finding is that there is no one overriding factor that causes project failure. A number of factors are involved in any particular project failure, some of which interact with each other.
In Phil Simons' Why New Systems Fail you will get an insider's look into the nuts and bolts of why systems tank, how budgets are blown clear out of sight and what could have been done to prevent such common pitfalls. As a consultant with well over 30 clients and 10 years in the corporate environment Phil has first-hand accounts of not only the top three project killers but a view from the trenches of political, emotional, logistical, and financial reasons that commonly contribute to system failures.
In just a few pages into Simon's book and I was able to quickly relate the scenarios to projects I have been involved with and draw parallel to the outcomes.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very satisfied customer
I am very satisfied with the condition of my book. They described it very well in the purchase order. Will definitely be looking for other great deals like this one.
Published 6 months ago by Jeremy Morton
1.0 out of 5 stars Programmer
New systems fail because the bugs are not worked out before they pushed them out the door on the unsuspecting genia pigs who are used to figure out what to fix.
Published 6 months ago by Bead Lady
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read for someone totally new to ERP, but too simplistic for...
Book has a good and organized approach, well suited for people entirely new to the ERP implementation wars. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mjolk
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it if you are on the Business / Operations side of the company
If you are in IT or Management consulting, you will not find anything new in this book. In fact, some parts of it are a bit outdated, at least for US companies.
Published 11 months ago by vera kolpakova
2.0 out of 5 stars The top level TOC is reasonable,but the contents are focused on small...
It seems that the author tried to mention comprehensive topics what can be discussed in new system projects. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Chung Il Man
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but some points are agurable and it's a bit lengthy
I'm a service provider and I've started reading a book because I wanted to see different points of view on a system development and implementation subject. Read more
Published on March 25, 2012 by Konstantin Mirin
5.0 out of 5 stars why new readers will succeed
'Why New Systems Fail' has been a major contributor to my interest in this perspective. While competency standards teach the necessary theory, tools & framework. Read more
Published on December 14, 2010 by Gerard Ocampo
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