It seems inevitable that sometimes projects will fail. Project management and project management methodologies exist to improve the likelihood of success, but delivering change in a dynamic environment is not without risk. Research says that a significant number of projects fail, particularly in information systems. It is recognised here that poor project management and/or methodology may not be the only causes when failure occurs. Areas outside the project control and even before project initiation could also be at fault, especially if it is based on a flawed concept. Is it possible that this may be the result of poor root cause analysis and an incorrect diagnosis of what the organisation needs to change? This goes beyond the requirements analysis, to the very beginning to the idea. In addition to the art of the project manager and the science of the project management methodology then, there is a third factor that should be recognised and analysed; the “magic” of the methodology used to generate the magic of the initial idea. Project management methodologies codify what is known about how to run a project; they provide governance and procedure. Talented project managers manage delivery of the plan whilst managing the attendant risks and issues. But the process seen as project management does not extend to include validation of the methodology applied to the idea behind the project. This paper speculates that the capability of the idea, measured in the rigour applied to the root cause analysis and the derivation of appropriate fix logic (the project mandate), is what needs to be tested by the application of a pre-project methodology.