Why Technology Projects Fail

June 5, 2023 | By Raja Gudepu

Why Technology Projects Fail

Oteemo recently reached out to our LinkedIn community to learn some of the key reasons technology projects fail within organizations. Let’s unpack some of the reasons for these failures and what we can do to proactively work against them.

Lack of Executive Sponsorship

The most common reason technology projects fail is due to a lack of executive sponsorship.

It starts from the top. If the executives haven’t made a critical commitment, the rest of the organization won’t. There are a few common signs that your executive sponsors may not be fully committed.


    1. They don’t show up for weekly or monthly updates.
    2. They’re not actively engaging in removing blockers.
    3. They haven’t shifted any of their priorities to the new technology.

    Why Technology Projects Fail - Oteemo

    Lack of executive sponsorship

    Encourage your executive sponsorship to fully buy-in to the new technology before deploying it. To do this, focus on building sponsorships before kicking off the project. Clearly define the commitment actions and accountability of the sponsor. Remove any blockers they may have to fully buy in. Shield the team from outside pressures and internal politics. And get funding in place for when you need to scale.

    The job of an executive sponsor is to ensure the path is paved for the rest of the team. If you’re losing your sponsor, your project may not be viable.

    Unable to Drive Adoption

    The other most popular reason is leadership’s inability to drive adoption. To overcome this, you’ll want to take a few approaches.

    The first is to take a customer-centric approach. By understanding the needs of your customers and putting yourself into their shoes, you’ll further understand their pain points and how to overcome them.

    Following this customer-centric approach is a user-centered design. When creating new technology, it’s good to remember who is using it – humans. Create something that is naturally intuitive and easy to use to increase adoption.

    Taking this inside-out approach is a great step to creating something people want to use. Don’t take the strategy of “if you build it, they will come.” Find out what they want, and build that.

    Tying all of this together, introducing a new product or service with an explainer video is a great way to ensure your customers understand the features and benefits and why they should adopt it.

    Workforce Lacked the Skills

    The next reason is an organizational workforce that lacks the skills required to properly deploy or use technology. 26% of the respondents picked this option as a reason for technology project failures.

    To resolve this, you’ll want to believe that no transformation is complete without “people transformation”. Allocate budgets for training and upskilling and reskilling your personnel. Build this into your plan from day one.

    Next, make workforce enablement a strategic objective. Don’t simply rely on your team to have the latest knowledge or maintain on their own.

    A great solution to this failure point is to find a reliable training partner for SMEs. Oteemo has helped dozens of organizations upskill and reskill their employees to maximize the utility of new technology.

    Wrong Choice of Technologies

    The wrong choice of technologies is the option that got the lowest votes. While it’s clearly not the main reason why most of the technology projects fail, it’s important to remember that it’s not what you buy, but how you do. All technologies can work, but it’s the application of those technologies within your organization that determines if they are successful.

    Organizations often look for happy paths, and only consider ideals. It’s vital to take into consideration failure scenarios, edge cases, and disaster scenarios.

    When starting your search for new technology, consider what your evaluation strategy is. How will you know what’s ‘vital’ vs ‘what’s nice to have,’ and what metrics will you compare them against?

    Finally, a great strategy is to do a technology bake-off and stack two or more products against each other to find out which is more compatible for your organization.

    Next Steps? Be Proactive!

    The first hurdle in overcoming technology failures is to find where they start. The next is to be proactive. Collect your team members and start having these conversations early. Find out what their concerns are and ensure you have an open dialogue as you begin testing and trying different technologies.

    The final consideration is when it’s time to bring in help. Organizations like Oteemo have comprehensive teams that are designed to assist in the testing and deployment of technologies. Finding a partner to help with everything from subject research, discovery, technology development, upskilling & reskilling, deployment, scaling and more can be a vital shortcut to introducing successful technology projects.


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