Keith Lightfoot thinks there is a bit more to project management than having the latest application or tool. As far as he's concerned, projects tend to fail due to issues that have existed since before IT ever did. This article examines a few reasons that projects go off the rails and what project managers can do to avoid the worst outcomes. Lightfoot makes a point to explain that this list isn't the end all, be all of what can go wrong. Rather, he believes considering the elements included in this article can help managers have more predictable, positive results. He leads with this warning about new solutions and systems: Instead of focusing on the delicate human relationships that evolve during the software development process, new project management systems, with sophisticated acronyms (and elaborate training seminars) appear on a regular basis to provide new (and improved) features and benefits for the computer masses. Enthusiastic followers of the latest time management solutions cluster together on the internet and in expensive training rooms to share their success stories and to learn the new secrets, only to discover that the new methodology did not guarantee an “on time” delivery and their projects are still being delivered late, albeit well documented. The list includes:
- original estimation
- definition of requirements
- how the project development team reacts to problems, challenges, and time frames
Each element of the list includes and explanation of what can go wrong: projects have difficulty with transparency because people are naturally scared of being seen as someone who messes up. The solution is to make sure your projects include knowledgeable people along others who have great relationship skills. This will help mitigate negativity while promoting open communication.