What Are The 3 Key Reasons Why Projects Fail?

What Are The 3 Key Reasons Why Projects Fail?

This post is going to be a bit controversial, why because there are definitely more than just 3 reasons why projects fail. It is however surprising that projects do fail when you look at all the different processes and methodologies out there, not to mention books and apps that are specifically designed to make projects get implemented on time, within scope and on budget.

So why do projects still fail? It can’t just be down to lack of clarity, poor communication or scope creep, to name but a few. No, from my experience it comes down one word ‘People’ broken down into the following 3 reasons, 1. Inexperienced Project Managers, 2. Lack of Project Management Training, and 3. Wrong people assigned.

1. Inexperienced Project Managers
Let me ask you a question, if you had a $5m IT project would you assign it do an IT Manager that had never managed a complex IT project before? I suspect your answer is no. However, this is precisely what organisations actually do. They assume because the person has IT and Manager in their title, that they should be the project manager. And this happens time and again, which is why it’s commonly referred to as the ‘accidental project manager’. So to avoid this problem, the right person with experience should be the project manager.

2. Lack of Project Management Training
After you’ve read this article go and check out your organisations training department, and ask them how often project management training courses are run, and who attends them? I suspect the answer will be “I don’t know” to both. And here lies the problem. Project Management training isn’t just exclusive to the project manager. If your organisation runs regular projects, then project management training should be something that all departments go through in some shape or form. Why? So that they understand when their departments are involved why certain process and procedures are being followed.

3. Wrong people assigned
In keeping with the above theme, if the people who are working on the project themselves have not been properly vetted, this then ads to the potential of tasks and activities not being carried out as they should. If someone involved in the project doesn’t have previous experience, then you’re only going to find out after the event. So it’s important to make sure all the people involved in your project have previous successful project management experience, but more importantly in doing the task they have been assigned, as this will significantly improve the chances of your project being a success in the end.

Let me know if you agree with me?

If you’re a new or experienced project manager looking to increase confidence and gain greater awareness in your abilities in managing complex projects, then you may be interested in my Project Manager Leadership Accelerator Program. Simply send me a DM message, or email here anthony@thinkitplanitdoitnow.com to find out more.

What Are The 3 Key Challenges To Overcome When In A Leadership Role?

What Are The 3 Key Challenges To Overcome When In A Leadership Role?

One of my first leadership roles is still fresh in my mind. Having been promoted within a team my colleagues now saw me differently. So what had really changed? I was the same person, but now I had the title of ‘leader’ and as a result people were now looking to me for guidance, leadership and support. I learnt quickly that there were many ways to manage effectively, as well many ways to do it wrong.

From the many leadership roles that I have had, I’ve learnt what has been effective and what has not, but more importantly I’ve learnt about myself and how to engage with others to inspire, motivate and empower to reach our common goals. However, in my time in leadership roles I’ve identified 3 key challenges to overcome to lead effectively. They are 1. Micro-Management, 2. Inspiring others, and 3. Self-awareness.

1. Micro-Management:
So what is micro-management? Micro-management is a pattern of behaviour marked by excessive supervision and control of employees work. So by micromanaging you can make your employees or your team feel that you don’t trust them to do their jobs effectively, making it more difficult for you to establish a trusting relationship with them. This also takes time away from your other more strategic managerial responsibilities. It’s therefore important that you should not attempt to control every move your employees or team makes, as this does not give them the opportunity to take responsibility for the work they are doing or feel empowered in their role.

2. Inspiring others:
I have found that the ability to inspire others stands out as the single most important quality that differentiates great leaders from average ones. Now despite the abundance of worthy leaders, and I’m sure you can name some, only a select few are capable of igniting their actions and behaviours with passion, energy and connection. It is this inspiring leadership, coupled with their clear vision, mission, and commitment that inspires others to achieve the same goals and outcomes. It is this single ability that made the biggest difference for me.

3. Self-awareness:
It can be said that self-awareness seems particularly applicable to an individual’s ability to adapt to change, and the ability to assess oneself. We are not perfect, and what we say and do may seem fine to us, but not so to others. The key areas for self-awareness are our personality traits, personal values, habits, and emotions. So it’s our own ability to see oneself clearly that makes a leader self-aware, and in so doing being able to recognise and appreciate their strengths but also to recognise and understand their vulnerabilities. Having self-awareness It helps us to become better decision-makers It gives us more self-confidence, and as a result, we communicate with clarity and intention.

There are of course many more challenges that individuals must overcome when in leadership positions. However, I believe these would be in most people’s top 5 of the key challenges that would need to be overcome.

Let me know if you agree with me?

If you’re a new or experienced project manager looking to increase confidence and gain greater awareness in your abilities in managing complex projects, then you may be interested in my Project Manager Leadership Accelerator Program. Simply send me a DM message, or email here anthony@thinkitplanitdoitnow.com to find out more.

What Are The 3 Key Challenges To Overcome When Managing A Project?

What Are The 3 Key Challenges To Overcome When Managing A Project?

It’s fair to say that whether you are someone just starting your career in the field of project management or have a lot of experience, you’ll agree projects by their very nature are dynamic, with no two ever alike. That said, there are ways to manage projects that both help to minimise issues, and in so doing help to achieve project success.

From talking with other project managers and my own experience there are many challenges that a project manager must overcome in order to reach that holy grail of on time, within budget and to quality to be successful. However, I have identified 3 key challenges that I believe must be overcome to help manage a project successfully. They are: 1. Poorly defined goals, 2. Lack of leadership and 3. Inadequate Communication.

1. Poorly Defined Goals:
So what are poorly defined goals? This is when the project goals and objectives of a project are not clearly defined before the project has actually started. This is a major challenge for a project manager, and sadly a common reason why so many projects fail. So unless the ‘what’s,’ ‘whys’ and ‘when’s’ of the project are explicitly stated, then the project manager and team will be faced with chaos and confusion.

2. Lack of Leadership:
Poor project leadership is the result of project leader that does not see the ‘big picture’ opportunities, and does not listen to other people. A lack of leadership skills will result in people getting demotivated and eventually reduce their work performance. So it’s important that a project manager has a clear vision of what the business case opportunity is, and equally must then be able to inspire and motivate those around them to reach their goals.

3. Inadequate Communication
The project cannot be delivered successfully if there is poor communication. Communication and oral skills are both essential for a successful project manager, who will also increase morale by establishing clear expectations. Thus, overcoming the challenge of inadequate communication helps to establish good teamwork, it empowers individuals to be more responsible, and it allows the project manager to focus on the project deliverables more confidently.

There are of course many more challenges that a project manager must overcome when managing a project. However, I believe these would be in most peoples top 5 of the key challenges that would need to be overcome.

Let me know if you agree with me?

If you’re a new or experienced project manager looking to increase confidence and gain greater awareness in your abilities in managing complex projects, then you may be interested in my Project Manager Leadership Accelerator Program. Simply send me a DM message, or email here anthony@thinkitplanitdoitnow.com to find out more.

Do You Know The 10 Stages To Setting Up A Project Partnership?

Do You Know The 10 Stages To Setting Up A Project Partnership?

In today’s competitive environment, more and more companies are looking to form partnership activities. But how do you set up a project partnership? After reading the below you will know the 10 stages needed to successfully set up a project partnership.

  1. Scoping:

Before any partnership can take place it’s important to ensure that the Initiating Organisation creates a clear scope of both the purpose and benefits of what it wants to achieve from any potential partnership, and this scope then helps to determine which type of organisation it is looking to partner with.

2. Identifying:

After the scoping phase has been completed, it is now time to identify which organisations best fit in creating a mutual partnership. To help in doing this a simple partner checklist should be created, or an analysis of where similar partnership approaches has worked effectively, and from that information make a list of potential initial contacts you wish to make.

Potential Partner Checklist (sample questions)    

Characteristics / partnering capacity (actual or potential) Score 1 = low (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
A good reputation and track record in their sector? With other sectors? 1 2 3 4 5
Sound management and governance structure 1 2 3 4 5
Interest in and willingness to collaborate 1 2 3 4 5

 

3. Building:

Once a partner has been identified, it’s then important to then invest sufficient time and effort to deepen the understanding between the different partners, and to arrange meetings between the key individuals who will be involved. This is important to learn about each organisations different cultures, working practices and decision making procedures. Time spent here will help the partnership be robust and deal with any challenges that will arise.

4. Planning:

I love saying “nobody plans to fail they fail to plan”. Experience shows this is never more important than setting up a partnership agreement. It is vital from the outset to make sure that the right individuals are involved, and expectations are clear and acceptable. This planning will involve such things as the broad agreement on the key issues of the partnership, the partnership activities and outcomes, and the decision making processes.

5. Structuring:

Once the an agreement is in place, the next phase is then to put in place the infrastructure to develop the agreed programme of work. This will become the ‘operational’ organisation to manage the delivery of the agreed partnership. This will involve the partnerships sponsors, project teams, networks and associated representatives.

6. Mobilising:

I have been involved in a partnership where a CEO of the initiating partner had insisted that their day-to-day business activities were not impacted by the partnership work. In this case there was initial enthusiasm for creating the partnership, but a clear disconnect in what they believed their organisation would offer. Partners need to actually deliver what they have committed to delivering, and this means by mobilising whatever resources needed, be it equipment, people and cash.

7. Delivering:

This is where as they say ‘the rubber hits the road’. That is why it is vital to have clear and detailed plans of activity, that not only lists the recourses involved, by also by when tasks will be delivered. It’s important to remember that partnerships can last 12 months or more. So it’s important to be both practical and precise in what projects are being undertaken.

8. Measuring:

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying ‘what gets measures gets done’. With a partnership it’s very important to have regular partner check point meetings to review the progress that is being made and to discuss if the targets and goals that were set are being achieved? These such check point meeting are crucial, and ultimately are the meetings that need to determine by each partnership to justify their involvement.

9. Ending:

At some point the partnership will come to an end. This is usually as a result of a fixed term such as a 12 or 18 months agreement. When this times comes it’s very important that the initiating organisation produces a detailed partnership report that explains the projects outputs and impact as it relates to the initial scope that was agreed.

10. Reviewing:

Once the partnership has been completed it’s vital that both partners come together to discuss if the partnership has met its original expectations. Not only from any financial perspective, but depending on how the partnership was set up, its competitive differentiation, market development, reach an impact to name but a few. From these findings each partner will then produce their own lesson learnt report, which can then be used as reference for their next partnership.

Quick Win Action.

Before commencing with any partnership, answer these 3 business questions first, 1. What are you looking to achieve from a partnership? 2. Who are you achieving it for? 3. How will you measure its success.

Want to know more?

With over 20 years Project Management Experience, I provide Coaching & Mentoring to both new and experienced Project Managers who are looking to further develop and enhance their Project Management Skills. 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.

DM me direct or visit my website: thinkitplanitdoitnow.com or email anthony@anthonyffrancis.com  for more information.

Do You Know the Importance of Lessons Learnt And What Should Be Recorded By a Project Manager At The End of Their Projects?

Do You Know the Importance of Lessons Learnt And What Should Be Recorded By a Project Manager At The End of Their Projects?

I know that managing a project is a challenging undertaking, which is why is vital for a Project Manager to ensure that they also keep a record and capture the various lessons learnt as they progress.

We all are familiar with the term hindsight; it’s defined as the recognising of the dangers and/or possibilities of a situation after it occurs. It is for this reason that when projects are completed that lessons learnt report is completed.

The purpose of documenting lessons learnt is to share and use knowledge derived from experience when a project of a similar nature is proposed, as it allows for the assigned Project Manager and his/her team to review the previous project and be aware of previous challenges that had been encountered, and what had been learnt from it, and in so doing help them to promote the likelihood of a desirable outcome.

Knowing the importance of a lessons learned report, and the benefit of hindsight that can be brought to a new project, it is therefore surprising to know that very few project manager on completion of their projects record such information.

In addition, those that do record such information do so either on their own computer hard drives, or to their organisations project repository (if they have one) that very few people know exist or can’t be found.

The truth is that very few projects are started by a review of previous lessons learnt reports, which means that rather than avoid potential pitfalls, they end up repeating them.

So why is this? The answer is simple, most organisations don’t have a Project Management Office or PMO in which completed projects are recorded into, along with their associated documents like lessons learned reports. In addition, because these document repositories are not regularly updated or monitored, the information contained in them is therefore either out of date, or not communicated to the appropriate individuals when needed.

Given this avoidable oversight it’s not surprising that many projects repeat the failures of similar projects. So, what can be done, here are the 5 things that should be recorded by a Project Manager both during and at the end of their projects.

  1. At project end, conduct lesson learned session
  2. Document lesson learned and corrective action taken in central project repository
  3. Disseminate lesson learned to other projects if appropriate
  4. Incorporate project lessons learned into organisation lessons learned
  5. Archive project lessons learned with along with historical project data

Here are a few examples of the type of lessons learnt that should be captured:

  • What was learned about the project in general?
  • Did the delivered product meet the specified requirements and goals of the project?
  • Was the customer satisfied with the product(s)? If not, why not?
  • What bottlenecks or hurdles were experienced that impacted the project?
  • Did the project management methodology work? If not, why not?

Quick Win Action.  

  1. Before you start your project check to see if a repository exists for previous projects and check to see if there is a lesson learnt report that could be used.
  2. If no project repository exists, report this to your senior management so one can be implemented and communicated accordingly.

What to know more?   

With over 20 years Project Management Experience, I provide Coaching & Mentoring to both new and experienced Project Managers who are looking to further develop and enhance their Project Management Skills. 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.

DM me direct or visit my website: thinkitplanitdoitnow.com or email anthony@anthonyffrancis.com  for more information.

Do You Know The 7 Most Important Steps A Project Manager Should Take When Managing a Project Partnership?

Do You Know The 7 Most Important Steps A Project Manager Should Take When Managing a Project Partnership?

Partnerships are a crucial part of a company’s success. In today’s competitive environment partnerships can play a crucial role in the way the public perceive a company or organisation. Indeed, Charity and Corporate partnerships are very popular, not only in raising money for good causes, but for the caring image they portray in the mind of the corporate partner.

Partnerships are also not just restricted to corporate partners, there are other business partnerships with customers and the community. That said, partnerships are not like single projects, they involve teams form different organisations that must work together to meet an end goal.

The only problem is these teams have different internal drivers and business objectives. So to be successful, it is important that both partners develop the same objectives from the outset and commit to them if the partnership is to succeed. It must also be clear to both parties that a successful partnership must have a defined vision for existence beyond simply being a vehicle to make money.

In that endeavour, partnerships must also develop clear decision-making process if they are to be a success. As well as a culture of openness and transparency. If not one partner may end up doing what they want to do because they didn’t understand, agree with or buy-into the decisions and directions that they believed were made.

So, what are the 7 most important steps a project manager should know when managing a project partnerships? Below I have listed what I believe these 7 steps are if the project partnership is to be a success.

  1. Define a clear partnership vision & timetable
  2. Develop effective decision-making processes
  3. Ensure risks are shared equally as possible
  4. Develop nurturing relationships within the partnership
  5. Be flexible with changes to project scope & deadlines
  6. Define a clear set of objectives and commitments
  7. Communicate openly and transparently within the partnership

Let me know if you agree?

Quick Win Action. 

Before the partnerships starts as Project Manager arrange a meeting to ensure that both partners core values are aligned, and that there is clear agreement with the decision making process. Getting this right from the start will avoid the possibilities any disputes which could impact the project later.

Want to know more?

With over 20 years Project Management Experience, I provide Coaching & Mentoring to both new and experienced Project Managers who are looking to further develop and enhance their Project Management Skills. 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.

DM me direct or visit my website: thinkitplanitdoitnow.com or email anthony@anthonyffrancis.com  for more information.