Six Reasons Projects Fail

Video Transcript

Hello, everyone; hopefully, you had a wonderful week. My name is Shevonne. And I talk about productivity, work/life balance, and what I have learned throughout my career, especially now as a program manager slash project manager. So I wanted to talk about why projects fail. Yes, projects fail. You’ll probably have a project or two that fail; it happens to the best of us. So I wanted to give you six reasons why projects fail. And hopefully, knowing these six reasons will help you be proactive in making sure that you understand them. So you’re aware of why projects fail, usually, and make sure that you can start thinking of strategies to make sure that you lessen the risk of them failing.

1. Contractual Reasons

The first reason that projects usually fail is contractual reasons. You usually will follow the contract, the statement of work, or the task order. You want to make sure that you are protecting yourself. And the one thing about a contract is that it is there to protect both parties. And even if, let’s say, you are trying to make sure that you get this work, you don’t want to be to the detriment of your team and the organization. And I have seen so many people doing that they are so desperate to get the work that they basically do not protect their team. And so then their team are working like crazy, doing other things that they shouldn’t be doing and barely getting any funding. And so that is one thing. The contract is there to protect both parties. So make sure that you are putting the requirements, assumptions, and constraints to ensure that the work gets done and both parties are happy. And you’re both well protected.

2. Funding Issues

The second thing is funding. Again, it goes alongside the contract, but you have to ensure that you have the right contract type. So that would be like perfect price times, material, etc. You want to make sure that you have that in place. And you want to make sure that you are tracking the funding. And one thing is, are people working overtime? If you pay for overtime, make sure that they give you the heads up on that, and you approve it because that will mess up the actuals. So that is one thing that usually will happen is the funding. Ensure that you’re keeping track of that if there’s anything out of the contract’s scope. So you will have deliverables you will have in there the requirements. Anything is out of the scope of that.

You want to make sure that you do a mod to the contract to get more funding, or you talk to the client and say okay, well, if you want this, we have fees, what one of these that is the same level of effort can we get rid of. So just be sure that you’re mindful of that and well aware of the funding.

3. Resources

The third thing that is one of the reasons projects fail is resources. And I mean, the people in the project. So it could be several reasons. A key member leaves, a person who did well in the interview comes in and is not the right person for that role that happens. That is one of the reasons as well. So you want to make sure that you don’t have someone be responsible for everything. And that person is not documenting that person’s not sharing the wealth. And everybody is knowledgeable in that because you don’t want it to be that that person is so vital to the project that if that person decides to leave, you’re basically screwed. So you want to make sure that there is documentation that person is teaching or just providing that knowledge to other people. And you’re making sure that is either like one thing, especially another we’re virtual, I record everything we have a bunch of like recorded pieces of training and stuff like that.

So make sure that it isn’t just one person that is key in a project. And then as well as if a person you interviewed did well and you bring them in and then they actually are not what they present pretended to be in the interview. Make sure that you start following the process to get that person in check or replace that person right away. So that is one thing: make sure that you’re dealing with any conflicts you deal with right away. You want to make sure that your team is As happy and the right people are in that team. So that is why one thing will help you make sure that you’re taking care of that, so your project doesn’t fail.

4. Planning

The fourth thing is planning. So when you’re starting the project, even throughout the project, you’re constantly planning. So you want to make sure that you are planning, and that has to do with the proactive, reactive thing. You want to be proactive, you want to make sure that you’re planning everything, there is a plan B as well, just in case that plan fails, you want to make sure that you are planning because if not, you’re just leaving things up in the air that can also be detrimental to your project. And along with that is, there is the execution phase. When things are getting executed, planning goes along with that. But you also want to keep track of the progress, including the funding, people, and the schedule. You want to make sure that you’re tracking all of that, and you’re collecting the risk and issues, and you’re making sure to try to address those as soon as possible.

Especially risks and issues, which are more serious than risk. So you want to make sure that before it turns into an issue, you’re handling the risk. And that’s why it’s so important to track the progress is because you’re making sure that any blockers, any issues that the team has, you’re taking care of them before they get more serious.

5. Addressing Team’s Issues

And another thing is addressing your team’s problems. So if your team is having an issue, whether it be one team member or the whole, you want to make sure that you’re addressing that. You don’t want to keep ignoring them or disregarding them because then you will have a huge turnover in that project. And then one thing that will happen is that when a new person comes in, there’s always a learning curve. And that will prolong the time that you will have that ready. If you have a deliverable date, you might not be able to meet that if you have so many new people. So make sure that you’re addressing those issues. So then people are happy, and you keep that team morale up.

6. Productivity and Time Management Issues

And lastly, is issues with time management and productivity. To make sure that things are being tracked, you’re aware of everything, you’re on top of everything, you need to make sure that you’re at your most productive, and you keep making sure that you’re good with your time management. You want to ensure that you’re not letting things fall through the cracks because you’re not managing your time well. And so you’re basically avoiding doing some things or just ignoring them completely. So that is something that you need to make sure that you are on top of it, especially if you have a lot of meetings and stuff like that. You want to make sure that you are very mindful of what meetings you’re attending. The meetings actually are moving the project along. So make sure that you are trying to keep up with your productivity.

But yeah, those are six reasons why projects fail. Please sign up for the weekly newsletter to keep updated on what’s going on.

Skip to content