Although there have been studies completed on the critical success factors of software projects, these studies all have been specific to one particular country. There has been no comprehensive study reporting on different project sizes in various domains and in multiple countries. We present our extensive literature survey of critical success factors that impact software projects. Forty-three articles from the years 1990 to 2010 were found to be significant contributions that could be analysed in order to develop a list of critical factors that specifically affect the success of software projects. The method of content analysis and frequency analysis was adopted. Twenty-six critical success factors were found to be related to software project success. We suggest that organisation or project manager is attentive to control the top five critical factors to drive towards project success since the percentage of frequency of occurrences for each is more than 50%. Also, it appears that non-technical factors (94%) dominated over technical factors (6%). In a result unique to our study compared with previous one, we found that the factors of clear and frozen requirements, realistic estimation of the schedule and budget, along with a competent project manager are the five most critical success factors of software projects.
Key words: Critical success factors, software project management, comparative study, project failure, project success.
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