A project will be regarded as a failure if it doesn’t deliver what was required, in line with constraints set from the off-set. From initiation to completion the project manager must ensure that certain aspects of the project such as time, budget, quality and expectations are monitored and managed tightly. A project can be considered a failure if these aspects don’t match the expectations stated prior to the project.
There are many ways in which a project could be deemed a failure. For this blog post I have gathered some of the more common reasons why a project can fail.
Lack of or poor project management: The project manager is the backbone of a project and provides the team with the necessary direction and guidance to see a successful project through to the end. However not all project managers have the level of experience needed to perform to these high standards. Poor management from inexperienced project managers can reduce the success of your project dramatically. For that reason, the matching up of the project manager and the potential project is critical and should not be rushed.
Communication barriers: Communication in a project is essential and needs to take place so everyone is up to date on the current status of the project. Communication barriers however do tend to be in place when the project team is big and complex. This is even more difficult when different parts of the project team are working from different locations. It is advisable to hold regular project status meetings for all individuals involved in a project to discuss the aspects relating to the project and to produce and circulate project status reports.
Weak team skills: Your project team is the most valuable resource your project has therefore it is important that the right people are matched to the right projects and tasks. This selection process needs strict management and should not be overlooked. Having a solid team behind an experienced project manager will bring a project forward
Poor project planning: Fail to plan, you plan to fail! Every project should have a solid plan backing it to provide direction for success. Letting a project team work without a plan will only end with the team all going in different directions. Having a detailed plan by which everyone abides by will give structure to the project and ensure that all involved are reading from the same book thus reducing project failure
Team conflicts: Conflicts is inevitable and is something that shouldn’t be feared by a project management team. It’s the method by which you deal with the conflict that will determine whether or not the conflict will have a direct impact on your project failing. Keeping everyone involved in the decision making process and giving freedom of speech to get any issues out on the table should help reduce the level of conflict that arises during the project.
Proper change management process: Changes to your organization’s needs could take place during a project and will mean that your project is out of date even before it is completed. If this is the situation you find yourself in it can be difficult to find a way out. Having a process in place to manage the change taking place will help reduce the influence it has on the end result.
Lack of time management: It may seem unreasonable to declare a project that bypassed its scheduled as a failure. However this problem can be easily avoided once correct management is placed around it. Simply someone just randomly picking a timescale is not enough to provide a clear and concise schedule. Putting the effort and time into this task will reduce the chance of time being a reason for project failure.
Goals and objectives: Completing a project on time and within budget isn’t always enough and could be considered a failure if the final product does not provide anything positive for the organization. It is of extreme importance that any effort put into the project must have a direct and positive effect on the organizations needs. It is advised that a high level of focus is put into the development of the project’s overall goals and objectives, and further more that strict management and monitoring is placed around these requirement throughout the project.
This list is only a small selection of what can cause a project to fail however they would be the most common reasons seen in organizations. For the most part to avoid these issues arising and ultimately affecting the outcome of your project, an organization should take the time to develop a strong project manager and team behind the project, create a well-built project plan, breakdown communication barriers between the layers and finally manage the project strictly from initiation to completion.