Project Failure

Debunking the myth of project failure

Astute business leaders like to review project development and the causes of project failure. They want to understand what is going wrong and how to fix it. Academic research shows that 68% of all projects fail.  McKinsey state that 17% of these projects fail so badly that the future of the company’s existence is threatened. What is not understood is that the data is from companies spending more than $15 million dollars on projects intended to reshape the company.  Such projects are hugely complex and vulnerable to many cultural and market forces. A massive myth has therefore grown up around project failure.

The reality of the situation with project failure

In reality, most projects succeed.  Project failures tend to be partial.  Business leaders, especially in small to mid-sized businesses, know what is at stake.  They realize that allocating time and finances into a project will play a huge role in the success or failure of the company. These companies tend to take on a “whatever it takes” attitude to get the job done. Deadlines are “front and centre” for everyone involved.

The real problem with projects

It is not project failure that leaders need to worry about. It is how their projects are delivered. Doing whatever it takes is not a sustainable approach.  Yet it is an approach common to many businesses. The question is; “At what price?” The price is not always financial either. Reduced operational capacity, poor quality and low morale of staff can be costly. Consider:

  • The stress levels of staff increase when they work after hours, for prolonged periods, to deliver a project. This means more tensions between managers and their teams.
  • If workers feel their job is on the line, they will tend to work harder, but the quality of the work will suffer.
  • Customer Engagement by staff with low morale is always lower than their happy colleagues.
  • Stressful projects leads to physical stress on the employees. This can lead to physical and mental problems. The result? An increase in sickness absence for the business. Long-term illness and even hospitalization for the worker.
  • Over-stretched project teams deliver but the outputs fall below company standards. Errors increase.  The result? More time spent on rework.

Developing an “Ology” for projects

Project leaders need to use an effective and repeatable method to avoid the pressures of project failure. Businesses cannot rely upon a “plan it as you go” strategy. Granted, businesses need to assess each project to determine the specifics of the implementation of their ology.  But the method should remain the same. Businesses with an aspiration to grow, need to realize that:

  • Projects can be mobilized effectively
  • Roles and Responsibilities need to be allocated to certain individuals and departments
  • Roles and Responsibilities need to be understood by everyone involved in a project
  • Stakeholders can and should be engaged in the project with confidence
  • Late joiners to project teams need to be deployed into areas which are weak smoothly and quickly.
  • The PR of the project is part of the development of the project. Good PR helps to encourage productivity and the quality of the work.

Debunking the myth of project failure

Do you need help developing your “ology” to avoid project failure?

The Change Man and The Change Makers created the DELTA strategy to help businesses develop their own methodology for scoping and developing their projects successfully. Our approach encourages employee creativity, engagement, and vigor.  It also helps to engage all relevant Stakeholders.  This ensures you don’t invest time or resources on unwise or unnecessary work.  The diagnosis also ensures that the project has clarity, unity, and a purpose.

A non-biased, open-minded, diagnosis for your projects, increases the margin for success. It also enhances company-wide engagement and creates opportunity for knowledge sharing.

Would you like to know a bit more about the DELTA Team Based Project Management and how it could help you on your next stage of growth in your business? Please contact us. We will be more than happy to address any inquires you may have.