Why Projects Fail…

“It must be remembered that project management is first and foremost a philosophy of management, not an elaborate set of tools and techniques. It will only be as effective as the people who use it.”- Bryce’s Law

I have written in previous posts, that project management is more art than science. We can all be PMs but how many of us are successful at it? I have seen simple projects go off track as well as million dollar projects. It’s not uncommon for projects to fail. When a project begins to show signs of stress and failure, everyone looks to the project manager for answers.

There are many reasons why projects (both simple and complex) fail; the number of reasons can be infinite. However, the most common reasons for failure are:

  • Inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project managers
  • Failure to set and manage expectations
  • Lack of User Involvement
  • Long or Unrealistic Time Scales
  • Poor leadership at any and all levels
  • Failure to adequately identify, document and track requirements
  • Poor plans and planning processes
  • Poor effort estimation
  • Cultural and ethical misalignment
  • Misalignment between the project team and the business
  • Inadequate or misused methods
  • Inadequate communication, including progress tracking and reporting

The most important thing you, as project manager, have to do is to make sure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what the objectives are. It is essential that you have a solid understanding of the enterprise’s business objectives so that you can continually measure your projects in terms of delivering these business objectives.


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