Project ManagementRisk Management

3 Dimensions of Signs That Your Project Will Fail

If a boy runs for class president and loses, it could be for a spectrum of different reasons. Maybe someone else ran on a better platform. Maybe the boy had no charisma. Maybe the boy accidentally ran for president of the wrong school. IT projects can fail for an equally diverse spectrum of reasons. In an article for, Moira Alexander examines three potential culprits for where your project could be going wrong.

Dimensions of Risk

  1. High-level objectives
  2. Leadership
  3. People behind the project

When the high-level objectives are out of whack, there is no hope for anything else to go right. A project must clearly provide value toward organizational strategy, and everyone involved needs to be made aware of (and agree with) that value. Too many scope changes could be a sign that the full potential of the project is not understood. Crucially, a project must also be feasible relative to the resources available; this is where good project portfolio management shines. If a project sounds perfect for the business but no resources are available, either the project is not perfect or something else needs to change.

Lack of strong leadership is another easy way to tank a project. For instance, if project sponsors disappear, their executive power to gain more project resources vanishes with them. Equally significant, a project manager who lacks self-confidence can inadvertently sap the confidence from his or her team too. Or if a project manager is generally unlikeable—whether from a bad attitude or weak people skills—the team will become indifferent to helping him or her succeed.

Then on the fringes is one more dimension of project failure, that of various other people involved with the project. Disagreeable stakeholders are a big risk, for example. Risk will also be created if people are not sharing project-critical knowledge with one another. Sometimes it can be hard to account for how much can go lopsided:

There can be a multitude of other HR-based issues that can negatively impact the project. Some others that are of more concern could be constant conflict, team members who don’t really understand their role, and if the wheels fall off the wagon during every meeting, a PM should be concerned and deal with these right away before they get out of control. While they may not signify immediate disaster, they have the potential to if left unchecked.

Keeping an eye on such a wide spectrum of potential challenges is no easy task, so it would probably be a good idea to share the burden. Depend on each other up and down the chain of command to succeed. You can view the original article here:

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