Project management failure - Why projects fail
I. Project Management Failure - Background
A whole discipline known as "Project Management" has evolved in the past fifty odd years.
Thousands of people have spent entire life-times pursuing project management as their career. Several trillions of dollars have been pumped into handling and managing projects “the professional way” in order to avoid Project Management failure. Standards, standards, galore - wherever the eyes can see.
Yet, at the end of the day, there is not much to
report by way of success. Surveys after surveys have beamed gloomy
pictures about the way projects end up - in the dust bin. Project
Management Failure is more often than not the outcome.
Consistently, since Standish began surveying companies for their project outcomes, the percentage of category 3 (Project Management Failure) has been higher. The percentage of category 1 (Success!) has been abysmally low.
II. Why projects fail: different perspectives
Standish group’s line of rationale, trying to explain the trillion-dollar question of why Project Management Failure occurs so often, makes insightful reading. According to them, projects that “succeed” do so due to the following reasons:
According to the Standish Reports, projects slipped behind in time, or went overboard on budget, or were unable to deliver the full functionality, due to the following reasons:
Finally, their reasons for why projects end up in the dustbin of history are as follows:
Yet another take on the reasons why some projects succeed and a lot others fail attributes three variables whose impact on project performance is the maximum:
While these analyses are general pointers, there is no universal diagnosis on why projects fail. Every project has its own unique complexities and its own set of players and circumstances. A project manager has to discern the uniqueness of the project that they have on hand, and keep crosschecking the project’s contours against what they have learnt in their class and on the internet.
III. Project Management failure - End word
Unlike other disciplines, project management as a formal discipline is just fifty years young. Perhaps a few more decades shall be required for sufficient knowledgebase to be built up, before the present failure rate can go down to a more comfortable level.
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