Friday, February 20, 2015

The Real Cause

Why Projects Really Fail
Over the past ten weeks I've listed the top ten ‘causes’ often cited for project failure. But as we have seen they all turn out to be just symptoms of poor project management. So let's bite the bullet, the real reason projects fail is just poor project management.

Wise project managers are aware of these symptoms as they will have learned about them the hard way from their own early projects. They take the necessary steps to ensure they don’t have these problems in future on their projects. 

But that still leaves us with the problem of what to do about the unwise project managers whose project run into problems or fail altogether. At the risk of offending my friends in the PMI, the answer is not to send them all on training courses. What I believe we need to do is to develop (not train) the project managers, develop the organisation, select the right projects in the first place and then regularly review them. I'll be expanding on these topics over the next few weeks.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Inadequate Risk Management

Why Projects Really Fail
This is the extra cause of project failure I added to my original nine to make a nice, solid ten causes, based on more recent study. Right from the outset poor project managers seem to plan their projects on the assumption that nothing will go wrong. Unfortunately for them Murphy's Law never fails to deliver.

On the other hand a wise project manager knows that things will go wrong and allows for that in the initial planning exercise. They then spend time, with the project team, looking for potential risks that could impact the project. Having identified the risks, they then take steps to mitigate those risks. Despite that they still know that some things will go wrong and, when they do, they actively manage the resultant activities to minimise the impact and recover from it as quickly as possible. So yet again inadequate risk management is just another symptom of poor project management.

Next week we will begin to examine the real cause of project failure and what we can do about it. Until then enjoy your projects.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Lack of Resources

Why Projects Really Fail
Lack of the right resources at the right time can derail a project. OK I hear you say, this one can’t be a symptom of poor project management, can it? Well consider how a wise project manager deals with the problem. Firstly they don’t wait for it to happen, they assume it will happen and take steps to get the resources they need, when they need them through top management support. If the business can’t provide the resources then the project can’t be critical to the business and should be stopped. Failure to deal with this is yet another symptom of poor project management.

The Project
David has finished the new chapter 13 (Agile Projects at Scale) and it looks good. Now he has three weeks to review and revise chapters 1 to 12 so we can finalise everything when I get back the following week. I know it's pushing him but we can't afford to put the date back again.