Avoiding the project failure

How we can define the project failure? In a previous post “Measuring the project success” we saw that the fifth edition of PMBOK talks about the project success should be measured in term that of completing the project within the constraints of cost, scope, quality, resources and risk.
Beyond the triple constraint there are more factors to evaluate the project success as:

• Stakeholder and customer satisfaction.
• Meeting business case objectives.
• Customer/end-user adoption.
• Quality of delivery.
• Benefits realization.

So what is a project failure?

A first definition could be “A project could be consider as a failure when it´s not delivered what it´s required, it´s delivered on time or with over budget or with not enough quality” This definition it´s based in the triple constraint.
But as the project success the project failure could be measured with similar factor beyond the triple constraint and not meet the additional success could be perceived by the customer as a failed project. So there are many factors that could be a high way to disaster.


Let’s go to discuss some factors that leads in project failure

  • Incomplete business case: A project needs to have a justification with a business need and a return of investment. The justification should remain valid throughout the life of the project. Sometimes after environment changes the project becomes unnecessary. For this reason the justification should remain valid throughout the life of the project, and the business case should be checked during every project phase.
  • Incomplete risk management: Miss some risks lead in extra cost and in time delays.
  • Miss stakeholders: Miss a stakeholder means hide requirements and this leads in scope creep and project delays.
  • Unclear communication: projects managers spend 90% of his time communicating. Unclear communication leads in misunderstandings and not covers the stakeholder’s expectations and finally scope creep, time delays and extra costs.
  • Incomplete quality management: Quality management includes create and following policies and procedures to ensure that a project meets the defined needs. A non-conformance leads in rework, scrap, inventory cost, warranty cost and lost of business.
  • Incorrect Human Resource Management: Sometimes acquire the final team could be a problems, and the project team has not the necessary skills. In the case we should to avoid start the project before the team get the necessary skills, via training or dealing with the staff department. After acquired the final team a poor team management leads in a Project team not motivated or appreciated to take the task.
  • A poor project plan and control methods:
  1. Processes: Determine what processes to be used based on the needs of the project, divided by knowledge areas (scope, schedule, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk and procurement)
  2. Base line: Define the base line of scope, cost and time.
  3. Plans: A requirements management plan and a change management plan and a procedure to compare the base line with the day to day of the project.

Without these procedures the project could lead in disaster with new requirements, uncontrolled changes, time      delays, unexpected costs…

There are many reasons that could lead in project disaster and at the end of the project is really important completed the lessons learned to avoid repeated the same mistakes in the new projects.

What are your reasons that leads in project failure?

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