Reasons and Solutions for Projects Failing

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Reasons and Solutions for Projects Failing

For over 10 years, the Project Management Institute (PMI) have been conducting research into projects and the rationale or value of project management. Here are some of the findings and trends on why projects are struggling for 2016:

  1. In 2016 it was found that there is 5% decline in organisations having a formal Project Management training process
  2. Just 16% of projects have deemed to be a failure to their organisation
  3. 32% of organisations do not have a Project Management Office in place
  4. 41% of projects do have not have an actively engaged sponsor
  5. 43% of organisations do not make use of any standardised project management practice or processes
  6. 44% of organisations report a high alignment with the strategy of the organisation

This year’s results are not very encouraging. It is estimated that 12% of project spend is wasted due to poor project performance and 16% of projects are deemed to have failed.

Most organisations have experienced projects managers. While there are many pitfalls that can sink projects, experience has shown us in Turlon & Associates that there are four basic reasons why projects struggle.

1.     Lack of Visibility of all Projects

A common reason why projects fail is related to visibility. All organisations need access to the right level of information at the right time. There needs to be a consistent flow of communication between the tiers to ensure proper escalation, management and distribution of the right information

The best solutions are a combination of tools, process, and people-based actions that gives a centralised location for publishing all project information. The best tool for the job is to provide a complete enterprise project management solution where all projects are centralised in one database. If the team uses a web based system, then project information may be accessed from remote if team members travel, work from remotely, or need to update information from client offices.

2.     Unclear Project Objectives

Most organisations have more opportunities and project initiatives than they can ever hope to fulfil. Many companies embark upon more initiatives than they probably should which leads to insufficient time being given to define the scope of the objectives.

To avoid this, deploy a portfolio prioritisation to avoid too many initiatives been given to project managers without thought or detail. Some of the largest and most sophisticated corporations have risk assessment prioritisation whose objective is to evaluate all the possible opportunities of the organisation and determine which initiatives have the most revenue potential.

3.     No Visibility into Resource Workload

Following the lack of project prioritisation are usually overloaded resources. It is a circular problem as well. That is, because executive management has no visibility into all of the projects and tasks the team is performing, they are often working under the belief that the organisation can achieve more than it is capable of in terms of sheer workload.

To alleviate this, enterprise resource management should be used. To most organisations, this can be a good system worked out using spreadsheet software. There are many other ways to uncover what resources are working on and when. The simplest tool is to use a white board with a daily grid displaying the task being performed and the team member that is working on that task.

4.     Gaps in Communication

Once a project is in full swing, a common issue is communication. Most project teams use email to communicate about their projects and tasks. The biggest complaint here is that project communication resides in each individual’s email box. So, if a new resource joins the project, there is no centralised view of the project history.

Centralised and structured communication is a must and should be the main priority for any project manager. It helps to resolve questions and issues that arise on projects and tasks.

Solutions to these common issues are a combination of people, processes and tools. There is no ‘magic button.’ The common goal is to achieve results that will make the statistics on project failure reduce.

Submitted by our expert Project Management tutor, Liam Dillon

View full details of our Project Management Training Courses here

Liam Dillon - Project Management Tutor

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