Projects can fail in your organization more frequently than you would like to think or admit. There can be many factors leading to project failure, but there are a few recurring reasons in almost every project that leads to failure. These common pain points can originate from the start of a project and should be considered red flags.
1 – Project Manager Skill
97% of organizations believe Project Management is critical to business performance, organizational success, and has the greatest impact on the project. However, many of these organizations assign an unskilled Project Manager or a dual resource in this role, such as having the IT lead/PM direct the project. The right Project Manager can lead the project to success because they have the skills to identify and manage red flags and make sure the project stays on track. The Project Manager is the one unbiased role on a project who understands and balances the goals and requirements, and drives the big picture.
2 – Issues with Requirements
The time needed to gather requirements is an important step in any project, as it lays the foundation for the scope, timeline, and budget. Many teams overlook this task or do not give enough time to gather the proper requirements from the correct stockholders. Other potential issues are general or vague requirements, or not communicating the overall business objective while in the requirements phase. Properly identifying the requirements is one of the most critical components of a successful project.
3 – Poor Communication
Communication is key in any project. Poor communication is a reason for project failure more often than most realize. Lack of communication at any level of the project can become a larger issue. If there are team members not communicating with the Project Manager on status or the business is not expressing requirements to the team, these gaps in communication will lead to the breakdown of the project.
4 – Lack of Planning
Project planning should be a continuous process throughout the project life cycle. Many teams only think to plan in the beginning stages of a project and then presume everything will go on without any intercession. In any project, you should not only plan for high-level tasks and resources, but also define success criteria throughout the project lifecycle, and drill down to the sub-tasks to better monitor, control, and plan for change.
5 – Inadequate Testing Processes
Testing is a part of the project lifecycle that often gets rushed because the finish line is in sight. The testing process should be well planned, including test cases, the correct testing group, and determination of pass/fail criteria. Many times testing is given a shorter timeline than required for the size of the project and is overlooked by the key business group that sought the project in the first place. When this part of the process is rushed, it ends up hurting the project. The deliverables get pushed through too quickly, and there may be issues missed during testing that will get caught after go-live, which causes distrust and unhappiness amongst the users. Testing can also be a way to begin the change management process for the new tool by taking into account user suggestions, enhancement requests, and other input. If done correctly, there will be more user buy-in than if the process is rushed and done inadequately.
By paying special attention to these 5 factors, your team will be better positioned for a successful project implementation, reducing the chance of failure substantially.
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