Risk Management

3 Sources of Project Failure

Project failure is like a mental allergy that project managers all try to avoid. There are various reasons behind the big flop, but certain key factors that all project managers need to pay attention to are the same. James Mukoma, in a post at his blog, talks about these all-too-common reasons that explain a project failure and how to avoid these traps:

  1. Overpromising and under-delivering
  2. Micromanaging
  3. Withholding important information

Playing with Fire

Many project managers are people-pleasers by nature or simply cannot say “no” in confrontational situations with their clients or stakeholders. The consequence is that they always end up regretting when they find out that they are unable to deliver the promised outcomes. In this case, don’t act like a parent who promises to buy his or her kids new toys, but then disappoints them because you’re busy or the thing is impossible to find. When you set the bar too high at the beginning, you give others hope and increase their expectation levels. So only promise things that you are completely sure that you can do. Even if it’s something that you might be able to achieve but the certainty level is suspicious, show positivity about the results but don’t offer an exact outcome scenario.

Too many project managers let cumulative pressure boil up to extreme stress that affects their productivity and professionalism. Therefore, the best thing to do is simply to take things easy—it’s okay to slow down a bit to figure out the right directions, brainstorm ideas, and seek advice if you need to. Mukoma writes this:

Micromanaging can feel good, but it is often destructive because it undermines the larger need to build trust and confidence in our subject matter experts (SME). If we don’t, we will find ourselves fighting a never-ending battle. We’ll try to stay on top of more and more as SMEs push back by not doing their best work because they feel we don’t trust them to do their jobs.

Most importantly, a project is a team effort. Your job is to lead other people and manage the flow of communications into and out of a project so that information is shared and everyone is clear about their roles. Guidelines and expectations for your team, stakeholders, and sponsors should be set early so that decisions are made in a more appropriate and smarter way.

You can view the original post here: http://jamesmukoma.com/2017/03/15/3-sources-of-project-failure/

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