Example of IT Mieruka target (risk symptom of serious IT system)

The death spiral called the “devil spiral”, which is a phenomenon caused by defective quality, delays in progress and lack of manpower, is most often observed in the lower development process of a SI business environment, despite the popularity of the PMBOK. Although it is reported before, that serious problem projects (SPPs) accompanied by the devil spiral occurred more than 20 years ago, the same problem projects still occur even at present.

Adverse effects caused by SPPs include the following.

- Customer companies: opportunity loss due to service delay, degradation of social reliability due to defect in service.

- SI companies: making a loss or a considerable decrease in profit, opportunity loss due to resources allocated to recovering the troubled project.

It is important to detect symptoms of the SPPs to prevent such adverse effects. Thus, we should make it easier to identify major risks by distinguishing phenomena that are sources of future SPPs from phenomena observed in actual field projects.


However, SPPs are seldom due to a single causal phenomenon. Most SPPs are caused by multiple phenomena, which occur through out the upper development process and spread to the lower process, and the relationships between the phenomena are extremely complicated. In such a situation, it is difficult to obtain a bird’s-eye view that indicates the origin of a phenomenon that is occurring in a current project, and what problems the phenomenon may cause in future project phases.


For example, in the middle development phase shown in the figure, when senior managers discover that a customer requires many explanatory documents from a PM, it is difficult for them to determine the background to the phenomenon and the problems involved, even if they suspect that something unusual is occurring. Consequently, it is possible for them to under-evaluate the risk of future SPPs and to fail to prevent SPPs from occurring, because the countermeasures taken in the lower development phase are too late.

Thus, it is important to construct a model that offers a bird’s-eye view of the causes and effects of phenomena in the earlier phases in the figure.