Top Seven Reasons For Project Failure And How To Avoid Them

A business can be a success if it follows a set of strong principles to complete projects. Managers take steps to make them better with every project coming their way. Business models include the scope, budget and timelines.

Getting these in order before starting any work is an important part of project management. One would think that with all the plans in place, a project will be a success. But it does not happen so for every project. Let us see some of the reasons why projects fail and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of a project methodology:

There are many methodologies available to work on projects. Leadership must recognize the importance of these methods. They guide you every step of the way during a project's life cycle. These are globally accepted and there are many examples of them being successful.

Some of these methods are Agile management, PRINCE2, Lean Six Sigma, Scrum methods. You can create an outline of your project work with the help of these methods. This ensures you can control each aspect of the development levels. It also shows clients that you have a plan to handle all the risks for a project. It builds trust and confidence in the client.

2. Improper planning:

This is the most important phase of work before starting a project. A manager must understand that he/she has to juggle the expectations of leadership and teams. A management view is to get the work done as soon as possible. A team view is to check how viable the project is and how to work about it.

The planning phase needs to bring the leadership and teams on the same page. This means everyone knows their roles and are working on a common goal. This is the stage where steps that do not add value to the project are removed. You can go to the drawing board for this step and make a list of all the steps needed for completing the project.

3. Ineffective follow-up methods:

It is necessary for managers to know how much work is done or needs to get done for a project. This means that a manager must coordinate with all the team members to get project updates. These will in turn be shared with the leadership. If there are any changes required, then it can be done in time.

It is good to use project management software to coordinate with team members. This enables team members to exchange ideas and information related to the project. It also helps the leadership know how the project work is going on as per the set deadline. An example for the project management software is the popular Basecamp3 tool.

4. Unrealistic project budget:

Every project needs a budget before it can even be taken up for development. The planning stage is where the budget is set for the duration of the work. If the budget falls short midway through the project, it is a recipe for failure. This means risks were not taken into account for the work and consultations were not held with the right people.

Budget overview meetings must be held from time to time to identify new risks that can happen. The managers must lead from the front for a project so that the workflow is not affected due to budget problems. The new requirements must be valid and show how they can improve the work in the longer run.

5. Lack of communication:

One of the reasons many projects fail is due to lack of communication with the team members. There are instances where there is no feedback or discussion about project work. The managers are also not aware about what kind of work is happening at some stages. They get inaccurate reports which do not reflect the current status of the project.

This is due to lack of or bad communication with team members. Today so many channels of communications are available that it is not possible for such a thing to occur. The working relationship between team members and the managers is a sacred bond. It must be nurtured with time and patience to deliver results.

6. Improper scheduling:

Another reason for projects to fail is creating improper schedules. This is also done during the planning stage. As a manager, when you know the project scope and what it requires, then schedule tasks as per the team skill sets. A bad example of scheduling is trying to get teams to do more work in a fixed time to accommodate the client demands.

Every cycle of a project takes time and the work is distributed to teams as per their skills. The scope outlines the time, delivery dates and resources. If the scope tells you that a certain amount of resources are required for a task, it is better to stick to that number. Creating new schedules in the middle of work will only create more confusion and stress.

7. Lack of good resources:

In some organizations, there is a practice of using resources to do work in the name of multi-tasking. Sometimes they mention the reasons to be cross-training. This happens because the leadership asserts a method for cost cutting in the company. They also happen due to changes in the company structure.

The deadline for a project can be extended further if the resources are not available for work. This can increase project scope and also delay the delivery date. The ripple effect can cause the clients to get unsatisfactory results. This has the potential to harm the reputation of a company.

These are the seven reasons why projects fail in many organizations. As project managers, it is the responsibility to take a lead and ensure these mistakes do not happen. If these mistakes are avoided at all costs, you will be able to get the best out of your teams and infrastructure. This will also keep the leadership and the clients happy.

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James Powell