Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

How to Succeed When Projects Are Failing

~ By Project Smart

Stickmen with speech bubble and question mark on a white background

The fear of failure ranks with public speaking as one of our biggest fears. The causes of failure are widespread and usually specific to the project at hand, but there are some common threads that run through failing projects.

Perhaps the biggest cause of a project failing is a lack of communication or understanding on behalf of project participants. Typically this problem starts at the beginning of the process, and if it's not fixed, it will run all the way through to failure. Even if projects are well-defined, they are often not communicated team-wide.

Recognising that communication problems probably exist is a great first step. No matter how far along a project is when you get involved, start out on the right foot with clear communications. Call a "communications summit." Insist that the parameters of the project and the roles and responsibilities for various assignments are clearly defined. Lead the process if you have to (and you might have to). During the course of a project, establish regular intervals for feedback and project monitoring. Define (in as much or as little detail as necessary) the methodology you'll be using for completing your portion of the project, and make sure that the people who need to understand what you're doing actually understand.

Sometimes projects are doomed by unrealistic deadlines. If a project is late getting out of the blocks based on the amount of work that needs to be done, it has a very low probability of success. If success is a goal, you should steer clear of projects that fit this category.

Finally, even the smartest, most ambitious people can fail if they are faced with a project that doesn't have enough resources. A lack of resources - whether people, technology, software, or money can kill a project fast.

So how do you avoid taking on projects that are doomed to fail? How do you get out of them once you find yourself in one? Or is it best to stick it out, do your best, and try to pull a rabbit out of a hat?

Just as problems with projects are specific to the project, the solution is too. As often as possible realistically evaluate your probability of success before you commit to a project. It increases your chances of success and avoids dragging you down when there's no other direction to go.

Succeed by first choosing your projects wisely and then ensuring that communication is clear. People never plan to fail. They just fail to plan.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Out of 56, 14 or 27, which is the smallest?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Project Risk: Is It All Bad?

Road warning sign - Risks Ahead

Risk Management is an essential part of any programme or project and can vastly contribute to successful delivery.

The Art of Project Scheduling

Project plan and schedule

The art of project scheduling is based on experience and the more experience you have, the more accurate your schedule will be.

Resolving Project Team Conflicts

Two women having an argument in an office

Conflicts on project teams are a fact of life! Only on rare occasions do conflicts not arise. As project manager you must manage these conflicts.

Project Management Process Groups Explained

Project management process group icons on a curved line

Project management processes consist of five process groups and a control system used to apply knowledge and skills to a project. This article provides a breakdown of what's involved.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Peter Earnshaw commented on…
Pareto Analysis Step by Step
- Tue 4 February 2:03am

Lesiba Matlou commented on…
Writing a Funding Proposal
- Sun 26 January 5:18am

Tim Rumbaugh commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Sat 28 December 6:48pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: PMP formulas cheat sheet https://t.co/lC4ZSfYPsx about 30 days ago

General Project Management • PMP formulas cheat sheet https://t.co/b4C2fpdWqN about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Implement a new audio and video recording system? https://t.co/SY5tnWhZTu about 1 month ago