Why Projects Fail

Read this article and the two case studies linked at the end. Have you ever had one of your projects fail? What did you do about it?

It is a sad fact that many projects, particularly those involving information systems, fail to deliver against their objectives on time and within budget.

Projects fail when they are not managed well – when planning is not rigorous (or ignored altogether), when insufficient control is exercised, when the necessary skills are missing and when elements or people are ignored or forgotten.

A common scenario arises where miscommunication of requirements, resources and timescales result from poor management, planning and control such as the tongue-in-cheek example depicted here.

This may look extreme, but of course whilst the image of the car may have been in the user's mind, what was actually asked for was 'something with wheels that I can move stuff about in'…

Common reasons for project failure

  • Poor project specification
  • Unrealistic timescales
  • Timescales that are too long
  • Inappropriate staff
  • Insufficient involvement by senior management
  • Failure to manage user expectations
  • Failure to manage the change required

Source: Jisc, http://web.archive.org/web/20151201064146/https://jisc.ac.uk/guides/project-management/why-projects-fail
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Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 5:08 PM