3 reasons projects fail Part 1 of 3

Ever find yourself blaming others for projects failing? Who’s to blame?

We found an interesting perspective from Brad Egeland (Twitter @begeland) at CIO.com.

http://www.cio.com/article/2952124/project-manager/3-reasons-project-fail.html

“You think you can blame others or tight constraints or issues for project failures. But in the end, it falls to the project manager. We must own it.

 

I love it when people start trying to assess root causes of project failure and they include unrealistic expectations of delivery timeline and unrealistic budget expectations. Certainly those can cause failure for the standpoint that the timeline and budget expectations weren’t met. But whose fault is that anyway? That’s like saying “I was late because I locked my keys in the car.” Was the problem that your keys were inside the car and it was locked or is it that you caused that to happen? Who is to blame? You are. You’re the one stupid enough to lock your keys in the car.

Likewise, if you can say out loud that my project is failing due to unrealistic expectations of timeline and/or budget, then that means you knew timeline and budget were a problem to begin with. Sounds to me that the real problem is that you didn’t raise the issue at the beginning of the project when you knew it was unrealistic.

In the business world we are so quick to try to pass blame that it’s become easier to just try and fail and then point fingers and try to get sympathy or empathy. I’m not buying it. What is really lacking is boldness and leadership.

So why do projects fail? I’m not going to make this hard or very detailed. It really comes down to threes areas. Remember, these are OUR projects. We should be invested in them to the fullest. So keep that in mind as you read through these…

  1. Lack of ownership. We can’t control everything, but we can certainly own what we can control. And that is always the expectation of the project managers who are managing the company’s projects. They “own it.” Success or failure – they are at the helm. If something is needed for the project then it is the PM’s responsibility to go out and get it or at least ask for it or demand it. No one else is to blame here – it’s the PM’s job.”

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