Uolevi Nikula

Kari Smolander

Andrey Maglyas

Background: The size and complexity of software development projects are growing. At the same time, the proportion of successful projects is still quite low according to the previous research. One way to approach this problem is to develop and use methods that can predict project success beforehand and act accordingly.

Aim: The objective of this study is to compare two existing models of success prediction (The Standish Group and McConnell models) and to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Method: The research was done as an empirical study. A survey with structured forms and theme-based interviews were used as the data collection methods. The comparison is made with observations from 48 projects in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. In addition, 19 interviews were conducted during the study.

Conclusions: The results show that The Standish Group has a tendency to overestimate the problems in a project. McConnell predicts successful projects pretty well but underestimates the percentage of unsuccessful projects.


Uolevi Nikula is a postdoctoral researcher at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland.
His research interests cover organizational and technology change, software process improvement, and requirements engineering. He has Doctor and Licentiate degrees in engineering from Lappeenranta University of Technology from 2004 and 2002 respectively. After completing his Master’s degree he spent over five years in industry as a software developer, senior software developer, and project manager before returning to the academia.

Kari Smolander is Professor of Software Engineering in the Department of Information Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. He has a PhD (2003) in Computer Science from Lappeenranta University of Technology and a Licentiate (1993) and Master (1988) degree from University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
In addition to his long teaching experience, he has worked several years in industry and in 1990’s he was the main architect in the development of MetaEdit CASE tool. He has more than 70 refereed research papers in international journals and conferences. His current research interests include architectural aspects of systems development and organizational view of software development.

Andrey Maglyas is a postgraduate student in the Department of Information Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. He has a Ms.C. (Tech) in Software Engineering from Lappeenranta University of Technology and Ms.C. (Tech) in Management of Information Systems and Resources from Saint-Petersburg State Electrotechnical University, Russia. His interests include software product management, process improvements and management methodologies.
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