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Why Does a Project Fail???

September 9, 2015
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So many sleepless nights, so many discussions, so many meetings, so many empty cups of coffees, so many presentations just to make the project a great success. But even after doing so much of everything, things may end up in a bad way. Your project might just fail. I know that is a harsh thing to say but it’s a fact. Its not just you, even the companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple must have seen their project failing . But why does a project fail? Let’s find out

Goals are not clear

'I want this campaign to reach out to maximum people after its rebranding' said the manager and all the members started working on it immediately but the question here was What is the maximum people according to the client? which no one asked. It could have been 5000 or 50000 or 500000, nobody knew what was their exact target. Sometimes even the client is unaware of the people they want to reach and therefore whatever is achieved seems very small.

smart goals

This is a very small example, many projects fail as the goals are not very clearly defined. Beth Bridges, Vice President of Digital Identity at JIT Outsource who works on website development says, "The one mistake that can ruin a web design project is not knowing what a company wants to accomplish with their website. This isn't because we don't ask - it's our first question! - but sometimes, the company just knows they need a website. They're not clear on exactly what they want it to do for them or their customers. The key to any project is knowing the results that you want to get from all your work."

A Good Team led by a not so good leader

As Spiderman said, "With great power, comes great responsibility", many people avoid the responsibility part. A good leader is the one who takes a little more than his share of blame and a little less than his share of credit and it shouldn’t be the other way round. Many times the projects fail as team members are not aware of their tasks or follow the wrong way of doing things. It is the duty of the leader to make things clear and help the team members.

leadership quote

Heath Suddleson, who runs the The Project Leadership Academy teaching Project Managers to become Project Leaders says, “The single biggest reason projects fail is a lack of leadership skills. Project Managers forget that while we manage tasks and activities, those tasks and activities must be performed by people who must be led. Project Leadership means having the right people in the right roles, providing the tools necessary, and removing the roadblocks in the way. It means knowing how to get your team to buy in so that they take ownership of the task where they can be held accountable.


I know everything attitude

You cannot know everything unless you are God or for that matter even Google, so stop assuming things and start asking. Many projects fail only because managers don’t ask for the important information to the client or the concerned person. Even if it is a small thing that is not clear, ask and you will save your entire project.

I know everything

Callum Beatie, partner at Honesty Agency says, “The biggest mistake is assuming you know all the facts. Without confining with the client, most projects are doomed to fail (or at least incur cost and time overruns).


Everybody talking, nobody listening

Communication is the key to the success of every project and many people mistake communication for talking. Communication is a two way process which includes talking as well as listening. When you are talking make sure that people understand what you say and when they are talking, be patient and hear them out. A project where everybody communicates freely and every opinion is heard, will surely be a success. These days most of the projects fail due to lack of communication or more of miscommunication.

listen more

Nicole Royer, Start-Up Coach and Intrapreneur Consultant at Start-up with Nicole says,"The one mistake that should be avoided for successful completion of a project is making sure that there are established communication guidelines. Several years ago, there were just a few ways to communicate within a team or with a client: phone, mail, or in person. Today, there are even more: email, text, social media, internet messaging, etc. Establishing the methods of contact, as well as a timeline for different stages of decision-making is crucial to track the progress and successful completion of a project. Too often, project managers are handling business within multiple platforms, which can be confusing to track and document. Having everyone within the project on the same page from the start will keep errors and miscommunication at a minimum."

Not taking feedback from others

It is always easier to find other people’s mistakes than your own and that is the reason we say that you should always take feedback from others. You might not see the flaws in your project as you have worked on it but it will be easier for others to judge and you can work on the flaws.

John Turner, CEO/Founder of UsersThink says, “Not getting feedback at a regular frequency can absolutely ruin a project. While missing this won't stop completion of a project, what you'll end up with is something that is less likely to be successful. It's not uncommon to discover issues, via feedback from outside participants, which would have gone undetected without this approach, but once uncovered, are easy to correct.”

I am sure there are many more reasons for project failure so share in the comments box below, the main reason behind the failure of your ambitious project. Let’s make sure everybody learns from the project failures and avoid the mistakes in the future.


About the Author

Jinal Shah is a Digital Marketing Enthusiast who loves to learn about the new things and development in the field of Digital Marketing. A wannabe writer who dreams of writing bestselling novel someday :)


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