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Why Projects Go Wrong – Six Things To Watch!
By Shelley Bowers

There are numerous things that can, and often do, go wrong with projects. So, it’s vital that managers keep a tight grip on every aspect of the project to avoid it slipping from their grasp and into chaos. Whilst there are many different reasons a project may not succeed, most can be traced back to a failure in one of six key areas detailed below:

  1. Understanding the project

    The most important factor to succeeding is making sure everyone involved – from the team members to the project board – understands the aims, purpose and objectives of the project. A clear understanding of the project will make it easier for those involved to decipher whether it is moving towards a successful outcome.

  2. Resourcing

    There are three main resources that managers need to take care of. If you don’t properly manage any of these three the project will probably not succeed:

    1. Finance – keeping the budget in order is vital. If the project runs out of money it will come to a grinding halt.
    2. Human – if there are not enough people to complete the work, the project will slow to a snail’s pace as the remaining team members try to cope with the increased work load. This will inevitably cause time delays.

    3. Physical – under-estimating how much money is required for physical resources will have huge effects on the project. If money allocated for later stages is used up in earlier stages it’s obvious that this will cause problems.

  3. Planning

    Insufficient planning is another major player in sending things off track. Many project managers do not realise just how much planning is required to ensure a successful outcome. There is a common misconception that time spent planning is wasted time and many project managers are too eager to get started.

  4. Risk Management

    When a project manager is doing the planning they need to anticipate and plan for any problems that could arise. Projects often go awry with problems that haven’t been anticipated and which could have been easily prevented with a little in-depth analysis.

  5. Communication

    Ensuring that all those involved in know their roles and how they fit into the big picture is the key to any project’s success. If team members do not have clearly defined roles, they will likely spend their time trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing, rather than actually doing it. Communication is also essential when things go wrong. For example, when hold-ups occur everyone should be informed quickly. This allows each member of the team to alter their plans accordingly and prevent further disruption. The input of the team members can also provide solutions to any problems the project may be experiencing. Never underestimate the value of a fresh pair of eyes on a problem.

  6. Understanding the Scope of The Project

    Often when a project is successful people are tempted to use the same model for other projects. This is a mistake! Each project has its own unique time-frame, budget and possible problems to contend with. So, each project should have its own project management process. Simply trying to adapt a previous project to fit a new one will probably not succeed. Give each project the time and effort it deserves to ensure the best chance of success. It’s also worth noting that the same applies to expanding the scope of a project that is going well. It’s tempting, but don’t risk it, it’ll put the whole project in jeopardy.

Shelley Bowers has been assisting business students since 2006 as an advisor for Business Training. She is committed to helping students achieve success with their courses, which cover wide range of subjects for the workplace, so they can find success in their careers. For information on Business Training’s Project Management course visit:

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