Working on any project takes a great deal of time, energy, and coordination. From finding ways to motivate employees and manage internal processes, a lot goes into ensuring that a project is complete and successful. Thankfully, these endeavours are well worth the effort when they lead you to better results.
However, a project can miss the mark when it fails to deliver requirements on time and within budget. Despite hard work and perseverance, things can still go awry.
While it can be disheartening to see your work backfire, it helps to know why it happens. This way, you will know what to avoid the next time you lead your team. With that in mind, below are a few factors that can cause a project to fail:
Without clear goals, a project can easily veer off course. After all, it can be hard to gauge success when you are not clear about what you are trying to achieve.
Conversely, having the right goals helps a project stay on track. To better monitor project progress, establish Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. This way, you can ensure that your project remains feasible within a given timeframe.
There is nothing wrong with being idealistic, but one should stay grounded. Unrealistic expectations can make accomplishing a project more difficult, especially if working with a limited budget and team. Being realistic about deadlines, resources, and team capabilities is one way to ensure that your project produces quality results.
Lack of Resource Planning
It is challenging to manage a project when all the available resources are not yet defined. Resource planning should also be an essential part of your preparations. Make sure to take note of financial, intellectual, structural, and human resources during your planning.
Not Managing Risks
Another integral part of planning is risk management. A project can quickly go wrong when leaders cannot address unexpected setbacks. For example, a team member might suddenly resign, or a key project partner might enter bankruptcy.
Hence, creating a risk management plan at the beginning of a project is paramount. By identifying potential problems ahead of time, you can prevent them from occurring or at least mitigate the possible damage.
A common culprit when it comes to project failure is Scope Creep. Issues can arise when unexpected changes or services are requested, but there was no agreement with both parties on such before the commencement of the project. These changes can excessively broaden your project scope and make it less manageable. As a result, a team might become overextended with the quality of your work suffering.
Every requirement should be defined and verified by stakeholders before working on them. Parameters need to be documented precisely before the project execution.
Misunderstandings can arise without proper communication, and these mix-ups can be detrimental to the success of your project. For example, if someone in your team needs help with a task or cannot meet a deadline, they will need to voice their concerns. Otherwise, it will be hard to notice that things are going amiss before too late.
Keeping this in mind, set up dependable communication channels before starting your project. Stress the importance of reaching out to the team for help promptly while still possible to course correct.
Lack of Project Transparency
Projects can also fail due to a lack of visibility. No matter how prepared you are, if your other team members are not in the loop on project progress, it cannot be accomplished.
It is crucial to set up an efficient and accessible project management system. This way, you and your team can store important documents and keep track of tasks all in one place.
No Monitoring or Follow-Ups
It is not enough to set up a project management system. Even with the best tools, your project can fail if you do not monitor it carefully and make follow-ups.
However, it does not mean that you need to micromanage. It means that every operation needs a certain level of guidance to stay on track.
Hence, it is essential to conduct frequent progress reviews to ensure that operations are running smoothly. During these reviews, check if the project budget, objectives, deadlines, and tasks are on track.
It can sting when a project fails, It can be hard when you have invested a lot of effort. However, failure is a natural part of life, and one should not be ashamed. Knowing what went wrong in one project is the first step to achieving a more successful one the next time around. By being aware of the pitfalls mentioned above, you can create winning game plans for your future projects.