7 Reasons Why Project Teams Fail

Nobody likes failure especially if there have been serious amounts of resources loaded into a Project yet around 25% of projects never achieve what they set out to accomplish and a whopping 50% do actually achieve something but only after some serious, and expensive, re-work.

What a huge waste of resources for an outcome that nobody wanted but which can probably be avoided with some careful care and planning.

So, what is the secret? Projects fail for the following reasons:

  • Poorly defined (or no defined) outcome.
    Is the outcome written in such a manner that it ca be understood by all involved? Poorly defined goals = poor outcomes! What, exactly, does the desired outcome look like and feel like? How will you know when you have (hopefully) succeeded?
  • Absence of leadership.
    Projects need strong leadership to ensure that the focus of attention is maintained and that resources are used in an appropriate manner. This also ensures that there is relevant commitment from peripheral parties and that the wider implications/benefits get communicated.
  • Poor lines of accountability.
    When projects are seen to be in the domain of one particular Department others not in that area tend to be conspicuous by their absence! Hence there is a problem regarding accountability and the sloping shoulders syndrome emerges. Good, broad communication is necessary to avoid this.
  • Poor communication.
    Has anyone fully, carefully and consistently explained what the project is about, who will benefit from it, how it will work and why it is important? Good projects are clearly explained and communicated: this may be time-consuming in the early stages and it can be annoying giving regular updates, but unless communication is planned and delivered regularly, those around the project will lose interest and the project becomes a noise in the background.
  • No effective timeline.
    Without a clear timeline and plan with milestones to check on progress all projects will start to deviate away from the desired finish point. This leads to attention being given to peripheral issues and irrelevant (if interesting) side issues that add to the cost of the exercise but which add little or nothing!
  • No plan for testing progress or outcomes to get feedback.
    the project may look good, it feels good but does it actually solve the problem it was set up to deal with? Too many projcts run and are never tested in terms of outcomes until the deadline arrives by which time it is too late to do any testing! Lack of regauilar checking ad feedback along the way seriously limits te effectiveness of the whole exercise.
  • What problem EXACTLY are we trying to solve?
    Have we actually identified the problem? If not we will be spending large amounts of resources solving another problem or, worse, a problem we do not actually have!

Good Luck!

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