The root cause of project management failure isn't just luck, it is more likely to be found in an article at Project-Skills about seven ways your projects can end up headed south. It breaks down like this:
- Lack of senior management involvement
- Poor requirements
- Unrealistic expectations
- Scope creep
- Lack of user involvement
- Inexperienced project managers
- Lack of resources
You can consult the full article on how each of these individual elements can spell an untimely death in spite of your best efforts. The article ends by reflecting on why projects continue to fail as frequently as they do after all this time, and the conclusion reached is that it is because of the “need to impress.” C-level executives will grab their “Number Two” person and ask that person to accomplish a task that will make the C-level executive look great to the board. The Number Two will agree to do it because that person wants to impress the C-level executive. This is an instant recipe for problems:
Number Two's need to impress his boss will probably cause him to draw up unrealistic timelines, round up an unrealistic team and promise insane deliverables to stakeholders. THAT'S why projects continue to fail out there. The need to impress. Number TWO impressing his boss. His boss impressing the board. And so forth. I say stop this kind of approach and BE REALISTIC. Deliver projects against timelines but make sure the scope is reasonable. Drive it down from top management down to the ground level. Continuously drive home that message.
Ask yourself if the need to impress is compromising your productivity in any way. If you can honestly say that is not the case, maybe there really is a witch doctor lurking just past the bend, sneering malevolently as he jabs one more pin.