The Cost of Failed Project Management

Failed project Management occurs all too often, all to quickly.

You start with the best of intentions.

Outcomes agreed, Check! Budget agreed, Check! Resources agreed, Check! Timelines agreed, Check! and then the Programme Manager gives you the go-ahead.

Things start well. Gate reviews go to plan, but as time passes and unnoticed by the Project Leader, things change. You reach the end and as part of the ready closure phase you look to identify lessons learnt. Well here are top 3 reasons for failed project management:


  1. Changes in organisation’s priorities


32% of businesses say projects “never or sometimes” complete, due to inadequate alignment with broader business goals. (Source: Wellington Project Management, 2016).


If the leadership don’t commit, and I mean really commit, then the likelihood of falling into the 32% bracket increases.


To help, make sure you have a named sponsor and dedicate the time to keep them engaged.


  1. Inaccurate requirements gathering


The truth is that we’re all human, and naturally want to do what needs to be done. This is great and exciting, but the devil’s in the detail. Time and time again, intelligent and educated leaders don’t see the value in questioning the plan.


“Plans are nothing; planning is everything”. (Dwight D Eisenhower).


To avoid falling into this trap, plan early and get the right team members to do the right work. DON’T move on until the Sponsoring group have had the time to challenge and question.


  1. Inadequate/Poor communication


The one project activity we repeat on a daily, but the one activity that never appears in a budget or Gantt chart.


To put it into perspective, think about the popular children’s game of ‘Chinese whispers’ and how the message changes.


The only way to mitigate this risk is discipline and structure. Have a tailored communication strategy and stick to it.


The above aren’t tangible project activities but do come with a price tag. That price tag is:


Late: Delays in delivering new capability


Expensive: An increase in ‘overtime’ payments to compensate for poor planning.


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