Bridging Business & IT

S3 Ep3: 2022 PMI Global Summit Presentation - The Biggest Constraint in IT Projects is the Human Brain

February 01, 2023 Dave Burrill & Dan Burrill Season 3 Episode 3
Bridging Business & IT
S3 Ep3: 2022 PMI Global Summit Presentation - The Biggest Constraint in IT Projects is the Human Brain
Show Notes

In December, 2022 the Project Management Institute held their Global Summit Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada . Of the more than 250 talks and break out sessions, about 10% were featured live. These were selected to showcase the most important issues in project management. As fate would have it, Dave was asked to give one of those live talks.

It's widely known that IT projects fail at an alarming rate. What's not widely known is that the cause of 75% of those failures is our inability to communicate. What's even less well known is that the cause of that inability is the human brain. This presentation explains how and why our brain sabotages our communications, and offers a simple way to fix that problem. 

The title of the Dave's presentation was "The Human Brain: The IT Kiting Constraint We Never Consider". Obviously this is a topic we've talked a lot about on this podcast. Given the response of the 300+ people in attendance, we're going to be talking about it a lot more. It was great to give this talk because it was so nice to be able to interact with a live audience again and get their reactions. We wondered when we started to explore the chasm between business and IT three years ago whether the problem was really that bad. After watching 300 heads nod up and down in agreement for an hour and getting to talk to so many great people afterwards, it's clear this is an issue we must deal with. 

I hope you enjoy the recording. Here's some select references if you're interested:

Charette, Robert, (2014) Why Software Fails - We waste billions of dollars each year on entirely preventable mistakes, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Spectrum magazine 

Eagleman, David (2011) Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, Random House

Gawande, Atul (2009) The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Picador

Hawkins, Jeff (2021) A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence, Hachette Book Group

Kahneman, Daniel (2011) Thinking Fast & Slow, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux

Kapur, Narinder editor, (2011) The Paradoxical Brain, (Dror, Itiel E. The paradox of human expertise: why experts get it wrong) Cambridge University Press

Krasner, Herb, (2021) The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the US: A 2020 Report, Consortium for Information & Software Quality

McKinsey & Company and the BT Centre for Major Programme Management at Oxford University, (2012, 2020), Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget and on value

Sapolsky, Robert (2017) Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, Penguin Books

Standish Group, (2020) Standish Group Annual CHAOS 2020 Report, 

These podcasts are dedicated to bridging the gap between business & IT. Each episode looks at different aspects of this relationship as we explore ways to help the two groups better communicate. We're passionate about this topic because it's a failure to communicate that causes 75% of all IT project failures and costs the US $1.8 Trillion every year—8% of US GDP!

If you don't want to become one of these statistics and want to learn about an easy way to avoid it, please visit our website and schedule a free consultation.

Alternatively, if there's some topic you'd like to hear more about, or you have an idea about how we might better serve our listeners, please shoot us an email at We'd love to hear from you.