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:
- Change in the organisations priorities
- Inaccurate requirements in terms of outcomes
- Change in project objectives
- Opportunities and risks not accurately identified
- Inadequate/poor communication
- Inadequate vision or goal for the project
- Inadequate sponsor support
- Inadequate cost estimates
- Inaccurate task time estimate
- Resource dependencies not fully identified
- Poor change management
- Inadequate resource forecasting
- Inexperienced project manager
- Limited or over-stretched resources
- Team member conflict or procrastination
- 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
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