Why do projects fail?

Why do Projects fail?

So why do projects fail? By failing we mean anything from not being completed on time, or on budget, or not coming in at all!

Here are just some of the common causes that will help you protect your projects against failure:

  • Unrealistic timetable – one of the most common reasons why projects fail is because the timetable set at the start was unrealistic. This is a very easy trap to fall into.
  • Less than supportive senior managers – without your senior managers support projects can easily go wrong. This can be because they ask you to do other work meaning that you cannot focus on the project, or because they do support the project to other senior colleagues.
  • Blocking senior managers – other senior managers may actively block a project they do not agree with. They may do this by actively undermining the project or simply by not doing what they said they would.
  • Unhelpful colleagues – where they do not contribute when expected or are negative towards the project.
  • No sponsor – a sponsor is a person who can help you at a senior level to remove roadblocks and guide you. Without one the project can easily falter.
  • IT system failure – The IT systems in many organisations was built to handle what the organisation wanted to achieve sometime in the past. If your project project requires additional system capability it may not be able to handle this.
  • IT software issues – software is often written as a bespoke solution in many organisations, but will this work with your project’s software requirements?
  • IT unaware that your project needed their help or input – there is an IT implication in many if not most projects. It is very easy to forget the need to involve IT.
  • Budget shortfalls – the project turns out needing more money than planned form, but there is not the budget to support this.
  • Budget changes – the agreed budget has to change due to organisational or market changes.
  • Conflicting projects – other projects which have more strategic importance or more senior support gain are seen as more important. And with limited time or resource one of the projects has to be halted.
  • Takeover – your organisation is taken over and your project is no longer seen as important enough to continue.
  • New senior management – new senior manager wants to make their mark and changes which projects are going to be continued.

For more helpful tips and how to plan a project, download our FREE project management book here.