But, with the right planning and management, you can control your projects’ success. In this article, we’ll help you understand why projects fail and how to spot warning signs for early intervention.
What Causes a Project To Fail?
Many possible factors cause project failure. But most causes can be grouped into these categories:
- No business value – Focusing too much on technical details rather than business value makes it easy to get lost in the project. You forget to see the big picture and what value the project is supposed to deliver to both business and client.
- No accountability – A successful project should have detailed requirements at the start of each phase. At the same time, you have to ensure that these requirements are met and each stakeholder is made accountable.
- Inadequate resources – The project team must have enough materials, tools, and other resources required to complete their tasks. Also, a lack of workforce can cause an overworked team to be unable to meet deadlines.
- Poor planning – Without a solid plan and project estimates, you’re most likely to suffer from schedule overruns. And with delayed projects, unexpected costs follow.
- Poor management – A good team manager leads people involved in the assigned tasks. Without the right knowledge, skills, and motivation, productivity and quality issues will occur.
- No customer involvement – Projects are more likely to succeed if your customer is involved throughout the project cycle. Think of it as a high-visibility project where anybody who needs information can get it.
How To Avoid Project Failures
Issues will always arise at various phases of a project. But, to prevent these issues from hindering your success, here are steps you can take.
1) Enforce Risk Management
It’s normal to expect and hope for the best results. However, you should still be realistic when handling a project. Unforeseen issues happen, and it’s up to you to establish risk management to prevent them from getting out of hand.
For your risk management plan, ensure a clear objective, the right resources, and a team who’ll mitigate the problem. But for large, complex projects, the number of tasks and persons involved already makes it harder to track everything. This is where you’ll need a software issues tracking system.
2) Implement Agile Project Management
Agile project management can keep teams working in sync and produce better results. You can structure your team using an Agile framework to prevent project management failures.
Agile relies on the following fundamental principles:
- Individuals and communications over processes and tools
- Innovative software over exhaustive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Adaptability to change over following a plan
These four principles will drive your project in the right direction. Instead of a linear approach, Agile is created to adapt to change quickly.
Even if you have a plan, you can make changes where needed. This makes your project more dynamic and lets you scale if needed. And most crucial, do not rely entirely on outdated information.
3) Invest in Project Management Software
According to a PWC global survey, 77 percent of high-performing projects use project management software. Managing projects means juggling tasks, ensuring deadlines are met, and assigning projects — which can be overwhelming. So, if your budget allows it, invest in tools.
The most significant advantage of project management software is that it facilitates and promotes team collaboration. A unified communication system allows team members to quickly discuss projects to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
How To Determine If You Need Project Management Software?
The following are common telltale signs that you need to invest in a project management tool:
- Work is buried in inboxes, and projects are delayed because of poor email etiquette.
- No transparency and there’s confusion surrounding task details or instructions.
- Employees aren’t well-informed and lack accountability for their tasks.
- Poor communication and conflict start to arise among team members.
- There’s overlapping and redundant work due to confusion on employee roles.
What Should You Look for in a Project Management Tool?
No platforms or tools are precisely the same. The following are important considerations when choosing your project management tool:
- Ease of use
- Size of the organization
- Current pain points of the project
While it’s important to consider financial constraints when investing in a tool, you should also acknowledge the monetary connotations of not buying one. The features of project management software are designed to transform and improve workflow. The investment will be worth it once you consider everything you can gain.
Prepare for Failure
Think things through before you start your next project. Run different scenarios to ensure your plan is concrete, then prepare for the unexpected risks with the right tools. The more prepared you are for failure, the better you can prevent it from happening at all.
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