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Why Do Projects Fail? - Five Failure Modes To Assist With Explaining This Issue

What are reasons that projects fail? Projects fail for so many reasons. Five of them will be covered in this post to assist you with understanding the reasons more completely. The reasons covered are: Inadequate Expectations and Requirements, Inefficient Governance/Change Management Process, Inadequate Resources (Human), Inadequate Scope Planning, and Poor Communication.

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Project fail for many reasons such as incomplete requirements, inefficient communication, inaccurate expectations set, inadequate resources, and a host of other reasons. In fact, in my experience, a project is more likely to fail than it is to succeed unless the proper time and attention is paid to the steps of project management to ensure the project's successful completion.

Five Failure Modes

1. Inadequate Expectations and Requirements - Setting the right expectations is of paramount importance when beginning a project. The expectations are set by the project manager and team, project sponsor and client and are done during the Initiating stage of the project life cycle. The expectations that may come from the client are those requirements needed on their end to meet the project goals. Some of these requirements might be the type of product that needs to be produced, the budget allowed for the project and the time line needed for the project's completion. For example, the client might tell the project management team that they need 25 widgets built and there is a budget of $100,000 for the project (including resources) and the time line is one year. Some of the other requirements might be what the widget needs to actually look like or be able to do; very specific expectations of what it will look like at the end state.

The project manager, team and sponsor might set expectations on their end to ensure that they have an understanding of what the client is requesting. They will also put together a project charter that lists these specific requirements and expectations along with the budget agreed and the schedule that has been discussed. Having this document signed by the client ensures that everyone is starting off on the same page during the first phase of the project.

2. Inefficient Governance/Change Management Process - Having a way for everyone involved in the project to ensure that approvals are given and changes are managed and ...

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