Failing projects are unfortunately all-too common. Learn how to prevent projects from failing and why they happen.
We’ve all been there. A project can get you excited. You research well, plan well, find a great team, and get down to work. And then somewhere along the way, things fall apart. Deadlines are missed. Deliverables fall short of expectations. Both customers and bosses feel dissatisfied. It’s awful.
Why is it that projects with so much potential end in failure?
Is a project considered to be a failure?
A project becomes a failure when it does not deliver what was required within the agreed-upon budget and time. In most cases, however, it is the stakeholders who decide if the project was successful or not based on their satisfaction with the outcome.
Sometimes projects can be deemed a failure if they fail to meet the ROI target or don’t meet the financial forecast.
There are many reasons for this, but the good news is you can overcome each one and make your next project (and those that follow it) successful by learning some basic project management principles.
A project can fail for many reasons. Most common reasons for project failure are organizational priorities shifting. Also common is a change of project objectives, unclear risk definition and poor communication. Kissflow Project is a great way to stay ahead and avoid project failure.
6 reasons why projects fail and how to avoid it
Here are some reasons why projects fail and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Resource planning is lacking
We plan timelines. We plan meetings. We plan structure, themes and interfaces. Sometimes, though, we forget about planning for our resources in the midst all of that project planning. It is one of the main reasons why projects fail. Project management includes resource management. It often takes into consideration other projects. Most people know the importance of financial resource planning.
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2. Uncertain Goals & Objectives
You can almost ensure project failure by not setting clear project goals and objectives before you start work. After all, there’s no way to know whether you’ve succeeded when you aren’t completely sure what you’re trying to accomplish.
Consider a simple example from your personal life. Let’s assume you make a personal resolution to “get in shape.”
It is possible to improve your physical health by simply exercising and/or eating well. But, it won’t tell you if you have succeeded. You need well-defined goals. Having unclear goals in your professional life is just as likely to lead to failure.
How to prevent it
Several popular frameworks for goal setting, such as SMART goals and CLEAR goals are there but the essence is that your goals must be measurable and realistic. You don’t have to say “lose weight”, you can say that you want to drop 15 pounds over the next four month. It’s both realistic and measurable. The projects you manage are more complex than that, which is why it’s even more critical to define your objectives clearly.
3. Lack of project visibility
Even if your PMMA injection molding project is well-planned, lack of visibility can cause it to fail quickly. It is vital to establish a project management program that gives visibility not only to the project manager, but also to all team members. Visibility means transparency in project status, clear communication and document management.
How to prevent it
Each person can make adjustments or help when they are aware of the status. This encourages proactive work and problem solving. Document management does not have to be difficult. A central, digital repository for all project documents will make your job easier and promote visibility.
4. Communication gaps
Communication is key to project management, it should be obvious. Your team should communicate clearly and implement the tools they use to communicate from the beginning of your project.
How to avoid it
This could be email, text messaging, chat, or any combination thereof. It’s important that everyone in the team is clear about what’s expected of them and can use the technology. To bridge these gaps, you can use project management software with chat, group meeting, and others.
Beyond the method of communication, make sure to set clear expectations and guidelines on the kinds of information that need to be communicated.
5. Scope creep
It looks so innocent at first. A simple request by a customer to add an item there, or a brilliant idea about expanding a service elsewhere, can quickly lead to scope creep and a team that is too large. Scope creep happens when either
The polycarbonate injection molding project parameters were not clearly defined at the beginning.
The team, customers and bosses may press the team to accept tasks that aren’t part of their original project plan.
How to prevent it:
The problem with scope creep is that it often contributes to project failure. It’s possible for a project to fail because you haven’t planned the resources or time required to do the additional tasks.
6. Unrealistic expectations
Many projects have been destroyed by unrealistic expectations, sometimes disguised as stubborn optimism. As project managers, it is crucial to understand what your team can achieve and within what timeframes. Once you have aligned your expectations with reality, you must communicate them to the customer and often to your bosses.