How To Spot The Signs Of A Failing Project

How To Spot The Signs Of A Failing Project

Knowing when to pull the plug on a failing project is never easy, yet the signs of impending disaster are often present at the outset when best practice can increase the chances of success.

There are many examples of very large projects in the public eye that are complete disasters – Crossrail is the one that springs to mind most easily, and the potential for disaster for High Speed Rail, in all of its different stages, is clearly one to watch!

Project managers should have the confidence to bring things to a halt and re-examine assumptions and plans if things are looking uncertain and different from what was envisaged at the start of the planning process, taking things back to square one if necessary.

The most common causes of project failure are identified below:

  1. Change in the organisations priorities
  2. Inaccurate requirements in terms of outcomes
  3. Change in project objectives
  4. Opportunities and risks not accurately identified
  5. Inadequate/poor communication
  6. Inadequate vision or goal for the project
  7. Inadequate sponsor support
  8. Inadequate cost estimates
  9. Inaccurate task time estimate
  10. Resource dependencies not fully identified
  11. Poor change management
  12. Inadequate resource forecasting
  13. Inexperienced project manager
  14. Limited or over-stretched resources
  15. Team member conflict or procrastination
  16. Poor assessment and evaluation of task dependency

It is prudent to think of all of the above at the very early planning stages and critically assess the likelihood of the contents of the list above coming into play as the project unfolds.

Always bear in mind that anything less than total clarity at the start of the project will be magnified

Good Luck!

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