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Top 5 Reasons for Project Failure

Sometimes the reasons for project failure are completely obvious, sometimes not. Robert and Jasmin Kelly have scoured the available research to compile a list of what they think are the top five biggest reasons why projects fail. When you can confidently say your business does not make mistakes in these areas, then you know your business has a great hold on risk:

  1. Project management skill and leadership
  2. Unclear goals and business alignment
  3. Scope changes and change management
  4. Staffing and inappropriate skills
  5. Lack of executive support

Failure Is Not an Option

They deem that project success depends far and away the most on the project manager. Being a good project manager does not mean just having a certification credential attached to the end of your name. Rather, it demands that the manager actively lead the initiative and understand the reasons why the project is important, as opposed to just assigning work to people and waiting for the results. A great manager communicates and collaborates up and down the hierarchy to get things done.

Another major problem that plagues projects is when project managers are handed a project without proper context or without being asked their input. If the project manager does not receive specific goals and does not know how the project fits into the big strategic picture, what hope is there for success? In such cases, the business needs to get clearer about its intentions, and the manager needs to get tough about finding answers.

Scope change and change management fall somewhat under the blanket of the first two items. When strategy changes, projects need to change to accommodate it, and that can only happen when stakeholders, managers, and teams make the conscious, unified effort to do so. Staffing and skill sets are a separate issue though:

McKinsey & Co states 1 of 4 keys to improving project performance is “mastering technology and project content by securing critical internal and external talent.” Projects are often implementing a new technology, driving innovation, or fixing an issue that has been in the environment for years. With all due respect, many of your internal folks have not been exposed to the ‘new’ and/or have created some of the issues. Firms must consider the balance of inherent/company knowledge with specialized external skills to build a highly focused team.

Finally, a project that is not championed by someone with some executive muscle is going to have a hard time getting all the resources it needs to succeed. Find that necessary sponsor, and then get that person invested in the project. No one with clout wants to see something fail under his or her watch, and no team will want to betray a senior executive’s faith in them either.

You can read the original post here: http://kellyprojectsolutions.com/top-5-reasons-projects-fail/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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