why projects fail- Largentum Lean Revenue Optimization LRO consultants
We define a project as any work stream that requires deliverables from multiple individuals in order to achieve some final improvement result. Projects can be for improvements, efficiencies, a product, or a service, in multiple industry verticals. The challenge is that many projects fail to meet its objectives, here are the reasons why.
You might recall that in the American TV Show called "The Apprentice" that participants must complete projects that deliver a desired result. In many cases the project manager is fired, and this is sometimes the correct decision. Projects often fail because the person responsible for the coordination of all project tasks was not able to produce the result in the desired time frame. This is by no stretch of the imagination the only reason why projects fail, however, this is a critical role for project success. A good project manager will pro-actively seek out project problems and resolve them through his or her team before these problems impact the overall project. An investment in an excellent project manager is well worth it because this critical role is your management engagement with the details of the project and the custodian of your success.
The upfront requirements gathering is an important aspect of any projects. The requirements must be clearly defined, reviewed, and understood by all project participants. The failure to have clearly defined requirements will result in project delays, missed functionality, and functional error or defects. This problem is compounded when there is a lot software interaction and data sharing across various modules. The incorporation of legacy software support is another potential problem if the legacy software is poorly documented and managed.
Leadership is key to project success and it requires leaders to be engaged in the investment for the projects. Leaders need to ask question, be attentive, attend meetings, and acknowledge progress. When there are project problems the leaders must offer assistance for roadblock removal and the sharing of resources. Most importantly, the leader must show his or her confidence in the project manager as the proxy for management, otherwise, the project manager is poorly tooled to generate project momentum.
This is a simple concept but extremely challenging to resolve, requiring expert level project management. If you think of the project as flow of task, each building upon the other, there are outputs and inputs that will occur on a daily basis. The receiver of the output must engage the supplier before the task is completed to ensure that the outputs are usable in the next phase of project execution. Without a smooth input and output alignment process there will be a significant amount of re-work and hidden delays.
Employees have numerous work tasks and can sometimes be overwhelmed with the complexity of longer term projects. There has to be a strong sense of urgency in order to complete the project over a specified period of time. The project participants must have the vision of the end-state of the project and know why the project is important and how a successful project will impact their career in a positive way.
Dependencies are often the assumption that comes back to hurt projects late in the development cycle. There are always dependencies and project participants will typically assume that the dependent deliverable will be there in the form that they need at the time that it is needed. In many cases this is not the situation and the project is in a wait cycle for the dependent deliverable and large projects become blocked. The critical path of the project has to be established and aggressively managed to ensure large project investments are not wasted due to a few key dependencies.
Quality is an important factor in managing projects for success. The implementation of poor quality deliverables will create delays, financial risk for your business, and customer abandonment. Excellent quality supports speed of project finalization, strong financial benefits, and loyal customers who enjoy your produce and/or service. Here is a humorous look at Why Projects Fail.