When Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft is the primary software vendor, it might seem to even the not-so-casual observer that huge information technology projects in large urban school districts are more likely than usual to be plagued by high-profile problems and multi-million-dollar recriminations.

That's partly because trouble makes news and success usually brings silence, but the explanation lies deeper than that, according to the software firm. The fault, says PeopleSoft, lies not in its software, but in the way school systems are often forced to manage a major software implementation.

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