Project Management: Top 4 reasons Projects Fail

We all know that more projects fail than succeed. There are studies by educational institutions, research organizations, etc. that support this same reality. The dollar store mentality of cheap and fast is used too often. Executives that don’t hold people accountable for anything but customer satisfaction while ignoring schedule, budget, and quality often will fail in the end.

There are many reasons why projects fail. Expectations or communications management are common reasons, but not the only ones. Ultimately there are many reasons why projects fail and it’s a miracle that many projects are successful at all.

Perhaps the most probable way to succeed on a project is to have knowledge of what can go wrong. Knowledge of what can go wrong is one very important tool. Perhaps by understanding the causes of failure, we can avoid pitfalls when they appear “unexpectedly.” This post is to introduce my list of perspective reasons of why projects fail, which I will discuss in detail, both here and in a future post.

1. Inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project managers
2. Failure to set and manage expectations
3. Poor leadership at all levels
4. Failure to adequately identify, document and track requirements

Inadequately trained and inexperienced project managers are perhaps the number one cause of project failure. The reason why it contributes so much to project failures is because it is the responsibility of the PM to guide the organization as it executes on projects. Just as important as training is experience. Issue management, politics, and diplomacy are examples are things you just can’t be trained on.

The reason so many projects and therefore project managers fail is that the PMs are not prepared. Executive management fails when they do not understand what it takes to be an effective PM and at the same time don’t understand what a difference a trained and experienced PM can make.

What Project Management Training Is Needed?

-Understanding the Project Management Body of Knowledge
-General Management
-Understanding the technology being deployed or business process being impacted. This will vary based on the project.

As more organizations recognize the link between delivering on commitments and project management skills, the requirements for PMs will increase.

In the end, Project Managers need to keep growing and gaining experiences to be successful.