Risk Management

5 Takeaways from Failed Projects

Projects can go off the rails and fail at any point for a number of reasons. It’s painful, but you either learn from it and move forward, or keep repeating the same mistake. Brad Egeland, in writing for Project Times, shares a list of key lessons that project managers can learn to avoid making a mistake more than once—because he has suffered project failures for these reasons himself:

  1. Always conduct lessons learned.
  2. Peer reviews of deliverables are important.
  3. Communication is at the forefront of project success.
  4. Make sure your chosen tool or tools can do the job.
  5. Balance customer and senior leadership input when making decisions.

Avoid a Groundhog Day

It all begins with lessons learned. If you wrap up a failed project without a second of reflecting on how things turned out like that or what you could have done better, a failure is purely a failure, and you won’t do anything differently in the future. Beyond that, another big takeaway Egeland has learned from failure is that you should be conducting peer review of deliverables to catch each other’s innocent or fatigue-induced mistakes. It is not a betrayal of trust to review each other’s work; sometimes errors just slip through the cracks, and Egeland had a project fail simply because those slips were not caught in a timely fashion.

Communication across the team and up the chain is always the key. The last thing you want to see is customer dissatisfaction from a miscommunication. It’s frustrating and costly to your business. So try to be proactive about reaching out to stakeholders and others. At the same time, be aware that customer input is not always the best thing to follow in hard times, and the same goes for senior leaders. All in all, it’s about balancing different voices and making a good judgment of the situation from your uniquely informed perspective. Do not follow orders blindly; Egeland has incurred project failure for that too.

He writes about you proper equipment can set you off for the future:

Make sure the project management tools you are using can get the job done. Some projects require heavy bug/issue tracking. That’s great if a spreadsheet can do the job, but if it can’t you need to tie change orders and pricing into it – then you may be running the project with inadequate project management and reporting tools. As you and your team assess the landscape of the project – including the requirements for managing the budget, the issues, the changes and scope, and the risks. Be thinking about what reports are going to be needed and what your current project management tool can handle.

You can view the original article here: https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/5-takeaways-from-failed-projects.html

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