Five reasons projects fail



“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan


Everyone has failed at some point. The important thing is that you learn from those failures and turn them into success the next time around. Here are some lessons that we can learn from previous failures in projects.


Inadequate Planning


There are plenty of ways this can go wrong. When we embark on a project, we often fail to plan out each stage of the process. You can rectify this problem by clearly mapping out each phase in detail. This might not involve assigning particular tasks. Instead, identify what needs to occur at each stage and assign those stages. Don’t get too caught up in the assignment of particular tasks. This should be an overview of the project and how each stage will begin and end. Think of this as a blueprint for the overall assembly line.




Once the project begins, you have to be sure that everyone is on the same page. This can happen with meetings, conference calls or cloud computing. Any and all of these can help rectify the problem of miscommunication. This is where the blueprint will come in handy. Now, you’ll have a clear person answering for each stage of the project and a project manager to hold each person accountable.


Mismanagement of Resources


Projects often die during the production phase due to a lack of resources. If you have your blueprint right, you should have allocated the right amount of resources. However, there is another problem of having too many resources. The law of diminishing returns can be a factor if there are “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Always be mindful of having enough resources, but not too many. Again, this is something that each manager will have to figure out on their own.


Quality Control Issues


When projects are running smoothly, they can suddenly fall flat for what seems like unknown reasons. This happens when there are quality control issues. Even if you have a blueprint done, you might have forgotten about the accountability phase of the project. How are you going to measure the results, and how will you get these measurements? You have to include this in your initial plans and then follow through with the quality control component.


Identity Crisis


The top reason that projects fail is because they have a flexible scope. This results in what experts call “scope creep” where the project suddenly takes on more tasks than initially planned. Now you are stuck with a project that can’t be clearly defined and is like a boat taking on water. You have to plug those holes and clarify what this project was for in the first place. Don’t let the project take on new projects.


These five problems can be avoided with proper planning from the beginning and then addressing each of these problems as they arise. If you learn from these mistakes, your projects will be much more successful and you’ll have a very low failure rate. If you approach projects the right way, you’ll realise that it sometimes takes longer to get them off the ground but it pays off in the long run.


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