7 Common reason for project failure

Though every project is distinct and can have a different set of reasons leading to failure, you must know the signature ones.

Manwendra Singh
Manwendra Singh

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To do justice to a project, project managers putt in lot of efforts. They manage everything from meeting strict deadlines to handling capital on a tight budget.

Even after such arduous efforts, seeing a project suffocate is a painful sight to behold. According to recent PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, only 2.5 percent of businesses complete 100% of their programmes, which is alarming.

Managing a project is a difficult challenge because each error snowballs into a negative effect on the bottom line, resulting in a loss of revenue and credibility.

Given their duty to oversee several projects or a mega project, often project managers neglect a variety of factors that lead to a project’s success. Though each project is special and may have its own set of reasons for failure, you must be aware of the most popular ones.

That said, the blog post discusses 7 classic reasons that lead to project failure and the possible preventive measures. Take a look.

1. Lack of visibility

For all three levels of project management: executives, project managers, and team members, a lack of visibility is a common issue. The project would most likely fail unless they all have access to the right information at the right time.

The issue is often caused by bloated project schedules with little consistency or baseline. The majority of project schedules are exchanged at the start, with adjustments made later based on the specifications.

Now, all involved parties must be aware of the changes; something that does not happen very often. As a result, team members adhere to the old timetable, and the deadline passes before they learn of the update.

Furthermore, project managers are required to work on various projects in fast-paced environments, which makes keeping track of progress exhausting.

2. Communication Gaps

Nothing impedes a project more than a lack of communication among team members. In reality, poor communication is a problem in more than 57% of projects.

The majority of project managers communicate via email, and any ambiguity in their message or tone can cause confusion. It’s a formula for project failure if anyone can’t grasp the message or deciphers it incorrectly.

When a person clicks on “Reply” instead of “Reply All,” they can miss out on stakeholders who are supposed to be interested in the project’s growth. These blunders in communication are just the tip of the iceberg.

There will be more to come. When a project is in full swing, most project managers face another challenge i:e incorporating new resources. Although it is important to induct money, balancing project schedules and training leads to poor communication.

3. Inexperienced Project Managers

Though it may seem unlikely, ability gaps may turn a project on its head. Project managers are responsible and accountable for the project’s progress, and any sloppiness on their part will jeopardise the project’s success.

Inexperienced project managers are often assigned to projects, resulting in a situation in which managing the team becomes an uphill challenge for a variety of reasons.

One, they lack team management experience, which shows in their inability to delegate tasks and monitor progress effectively. Two, they lack structured project management experience and therefore are unable to deal with the pressures of deadlines while still managing teams.

Will you believe the following:

Barely 56 % project managers have a formal certification or degree in project management.

Last but not the least, they can only handle the type of projects with which they have a prior experience.

4. Inadequate Resource Allocation

If a project manager makes a mistake when allocating money, the project will become their worst nightmare. In reality, 39% of projects fail due to a lack of proper planning and resource allocation.

Though resource allocation issues can arise in any project, they are more prevalent in fast-paced environments where multiple projects are running at the same time. Many times, there are less resources available to a large-scale project than there are to a smaller-scale project, or vice versa.

Furthermore, in multi-project settings, project managers struggle to monitor resource use and eventually exceed the project budget without realizing it.

5. Incorrect Time Estimates

Often project management teams determine the average time to complete a project based on previous experience, which is incorrect. Using guesswork to complete a project will lead to failure because each project is special and presents its own set of challenges.

Having deadlines wrong can also result in a faulty schedule and increased risk, which can be avoided with careful planning.

6. Unclear or Unrealistic Expectations

It’s important to set reasonable goals for all project participants at the start of the project. If the project begins without individual team members setting priorities, they are likely to lose clarity and concentration somewhere along the way.

Most of the time, members tend to procrastinate or become burnt out. Having a granular approach to goal setting is the best way to avoid certain situations.

Individual team members must have one-on-one meetings with project managers to help them understand their position in the project.

Members would have a guide to follow if targets are set before the project is fully underway, preventing them from derailing the project.

7. Poor Stakeholder Management

Anyone with a financial interest in the project counts as a stakeholder. In other words, they may be members of the internal team or even a customer.

It is now the responsibility of project managers to recognise stakeholders and keep them informed about the project’s progress. Project managers are all too often guilty of sugarcoating details, which contributes to an increase in client expectations.

Though it aids in the acquisition of confidence and more sales, it can have a negative effect on team members. When you continue to lift the bar, your clients will begin to demand more, leading to a hostile work atmosphere in your internal teams.

Time to Revisit Your Strategies in Project Management

“Project management is both an art and a science,” as they suggest. In project management, mistakes are inevitable, but making the same ones over and over will suffocate your credibility and reputation in the marketplace.

Don’t waste a good mistake, learn from it.”

Robert Kiyosaki

For that to happen, there has to be a starting point. You must be hoping to eliminate all these mistakes from your project management lifecycle overnight, which is next to impossible.

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Manwendra Singh.

Manwendra is known for his ability to produce outstanding deliverables that help businesses grow. A Thought leader in the field of project management and operations management, he is known for his ability to challenge the status quo, introduce new perspectives, and redefine the box rather than only thinking outside of it.