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Ça Va de Soi: A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of a Failed IT Project (A and B)

Case 9 65 2016 002A-B
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 14, No. 3
Languages : 
  • English
  • Project failure,
  • Information technology projects,
  • SMEs,
  • Project risk management,
  • Project vision
Year of production : 
Registration date : 
Teaching notes included : 
Case document count : 

This two-part case study of a Canadian knitwear SME called Ça Va de Soi (CVDS) presents a real-life situation: an IT project failure (part A) and how the project was “resuscitated” and transformed into a success (part B). The case highlights (1) the challenges and risks of IT projects for SMEs, (2) the importance of evaluating and selecting the right IT supplier and managing relationships, and (3) how, during a retrospective, lessons learned from a project failure can be transferred and applied to other IT projects.

Primary domain : 
Information technology
Secondary domain : 
Management  - SME management
Sectors : 
  • Consumer goods
Source : 
Type : 
Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Type of data used in the production of the case : 
Factual data that is not public wherein the identity of the company/person is disclosed
Event location : 
Montréal, QC, Canada
Year of start of the event : 
Year the event ended : 
Business size : 
Small- and medium-sized
Main themes covered
  • Key characteristics of SMEs and IT adoption drivers;
  • Importance of a strategic IT vision and IT project alignment;
  • Challenges and risks of IT projects for SMEs;
  • Importance of evaluating and selecting appropriate business partners;
  • Lessons learned from an abandoned project (transforming drifting projects);
  • Project failure and project success
Teaching objectives

This case aims to have students reflect on and discuss the following:

  1. The challenges and risks of IT projects carried out by SMEs
  2. The importance of carefully evaluating and selecting IT suppliers and managing relationships with them, and
  3. How lessons learned from a failed project can be transferred and applied to other IT projects


Concepts and theories related to the case
  • IT adoption drivers of SMEs
  • Strategic IT vision and project alignment
  • IT project risk management and success factors
  • The application of lessons learned to other IT projects