The Working Council for Chief Information Officers commissioned a research effort on the Role of the Project Office which was completed in February 1998. The published report is rich in information, including a ranked list of the ten most significant root causes of runaway projects and missed objectives.

1. Inadequate requirements statements
2. Lack of specific and measurable goals
3. Architecture design flaws and changes
4. Inadequate change control systems
5. Inadequate project status reviews and reporting
6. Inadequate project metrics
7. Lack of open project communications
8. Lack of clear project milestones
9. Overly optimistic estimations of project feasibility
10. Various management difficulties

"Many project offices we found have little influence over the top two root causes of runaway projects. However, project offices with sufficient foresight are increasingly focusing on project conception to help clearly define and set realistic expectations for projects.

"Although the project office has little control over the conception of the project, it enforces methodologies in order to recover poorly conceived projects. These methodologies are a core function of the project office and attempt to address the causes of project management failure such as poor status reporting, inadequate metrics and lack of communication between project managers."

("The Role of the Project Office", The Corporate Advisory Board, February 1998, p.6.)