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5 Reasons Why Projects Fail, and What You Can Do as Project Manager to Make Yours a Success.

Aug 16, 2021

Did you know according to a 2016 Bain & Company survey of 250 large companies, only 12% of change projects achieve or exceed their outcomes. A further 38% produce less than half their expected outcomes. The final 50% settle for a significant dilution of results.  In other words, seven out of eight change initiatives FAIL!

So what can be done about it? I have listed below 5 reasons why projects fail, and more importantly what you can do as Project Manager to make sure it doesn’t happen to you, so your project is a success.

  1. Unclear Goals and Objectives

It may sound obvious, and it is but there is no way in knowing whether a project has been a success when you aren’t completely sure what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place and why? Before the project starts there are three questions that must be asked: 1. What is the project trying to achieve and why? 2. For whom is it for? and 3. How will you measure its success? Without establishing these fundamentals your project is already on a path to fail.

  1. Poor Project Planning

It was Benjamin Franklin who said “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Without a proper plan of execution, then achieving project goals can be both overwhelming and challenging even for the most experienced project manager and team. The planning phase not only helps to secure buy-in from stakeholders but also from the project team itself. In addition, Before commencing a project, it is important to look at all angles including uncertainties and eventualities that are unforeseen. As giving thought to the fact that things could go wrong allows you to create contingency plans for dealing with and mitigating for unexpected risks.

  1. Lack of Communication

The purpose of a project communication plan is to provide the blueprint for communication processes during your project. The plan is more than just providing a status of work, it helps provide the right information to the right person at the right time in a format that works for everyone. Without such a communication plan, it is very likely your team will struggle to understand the objectives of the project and their roles in achieving its success. A lack of poor communication can have a domino effect that ultimately results in project failure.

  1. Poor User Engagement

Imagine paying millions of pounds to implement a new finance system in your organisation, only to find out that the people who will be using it either don’t like it, find it too complicated, or wasn’t consulted in the first place therefore leaving the project in limbo. This may sound far-fetched, but is sadly all too common when ‘user engagement’ is either underestimated or completely forgotten.  It should not be forgotten that if the success of a project is directly linked to those who are going to use and benefit from it, that they are the ones who form part of your initial discussions, testing, and user experience before it goes ‘live’.

  1. Scope Creep

It all starts with a simple customer request to add an item here, a brilliant idea to expand and improve the service there, and before you know it you have moved into what is commonly known as Scope Creep. An area in which you have added additional project activity that was not originally agreed, costed or approved. This may also be as a result of the parameters of the project not being well-defined from the outset. Either way, this is why it’s so important to have a clear responsibility over the scope and control as Project Manager, despite how innocent at first it may seems to add additional activities.

What to do next ?

If you’re ready to level up your skills and achieve your full potential as a Project Manager in your industry then I can help you. Simply email or DM me and we’ll start mapping out the next steps in your progression.

If you have any questions or like to know more, please visit my website at www.thinkitplanitdoitnow.com or email me on anthony@anthonyffrancis.com

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