Project Failure

Why do project(s) fail(s)? cite examples

There’s no such thing as perfect in this world. Not even the most beautiful things we see around us. Simply because nothing is perfect.In this world, failures are always around that hunt each of us.

That is why I was stuck wondering how a project fails. Nevertheless a lot of ideas flowed out in my mind. It maybe because of the project itself, uncontrollable circumstances or sometimes it the one handling the project. Out of a number of ideas let me share a few.

Researches repeatedly illustrate that companies have difficulty with information technology (IT) projects to complete on time or on budget. In fact many are cancelled before completion or not implemented. The data on project outcomes according to the Standish Group’s study is introduced in order to illustrate these facts.

In a perfect world every project would be “on time and within budget.” But reality (especially the proven statistics) tells a very different story. It’s not uncommon for projects to fail. Even if the budget and schedule are met, one must ask “did the project deliver the results and quality we expected?” True project success must be evaluated on all three components. Otherwise, a project could be considered a “failure.”

Have you ever seen a situation where projects begin to show signs of disorganisation, appear out of control, and have a sense of doom and failure? Have you witnessed settings where everyone works in a silo and no one seems to know what the other team member is doing? What about team members who live by the creed “I’ll do my part (as I see fit) and after that, it’s their problem.” Even worse is when team members resort to finger-pointing. Situations similar to these scenarios point to a sign that reads “danger.” And if you read the fine print under the word “danger” it reads, “your project needs to be brought under control or else it could fail.”

When projects begin to show signs of stress and failure, everyone looks to the project manager for answers. It may seem unfair that the burden of doom falls upon a single individual. But this is the reason why you chose to manage projects for a living! You’ve been trained to recognise and deal with these types of situations.

This time it’s different. There’s an old saying about how there are a million ways to fail, but only one way to be right. When it comes to projects, nothing’s further from the truth. Projects fail the same few ways over and over again.

First, a project may fail due to cramming. Cramming is not a new word to anyone especially to students nowadays. We Filipinos are known for this Maña Habit that we take things lightly even if we know that it’s a crucial stuff. Knowing that the deadline is still far and thinking you have ample time to accomplish it. Tendency is we take it for granted and when we’re reminded that we have a due project to accomplish and most of the time that is a day or even hours before the deadline. So, what happens is that we can’t give our best shot. The outcome would be “yes, it’s nice” but definitely, you can still say “I could still have done better.” Things that have been really planned and have been thought of produce the best outcomes.

The project team, the suppliers, the customers and other stakeholders can all provide a source of failure, but the most common reasons for project failure are rooted in the project management process itself and the aligning of IT with organizational cultures.

Based on a research carried out by the Coverdale Organization the respondents identified estimation mistakes, unclear project goals and objectives, and project objectives changing during the project as key factors in project failures.

The following list the primary causes for the failure of complex IT projects:

• Poor planning

Sometimes IT managers are not given the opening to plan because time stress from senior management take over and most of the time the project is on it’s way before it has been clearly defined. In such cases, people see planning, as a waste of time because they believe that time is better spent doing something rather than planning

Most large IT projects are intended these days, but that is not an adequate amount of. Most projects have major milestones, and the difficulty is that the work continues throughout each milestone implementing sometimes starts before plan completion and continues through most of the testing.

On our project on SAD, I think we failed to complete the project because of poor planning. We didn’t fail because we failed to plan but we failed because plan to fail. We went to Manila with our projects out of the schedule. We went to Manila without making and discussing on what will happen in our project. We failed to submit the requirements analysis phase deliverables, the logical design phase deliverables, and Physical design analysis phase deliverables. These delay made our chance in passing the course narrower. These delays made our project more complicated and hard to understand because we made it at the same time that should be done one at a time because they are dependent to each other.

• Poor expectations management

Many project managers had the feeling that their IT project would never stop growing. IT projects suffer from two classical problems in project management:

• Scope creep

• Feature creep.

Scope creep refers to uncontrolled and unexpected changes in user expectations and requirements as a project progress, while feature creep refers to uncontrolled addition of features to a system with a wrong assumption that one small feature will add nothing to cost or schedule.

Project managers not understanding project trade-offs will result in not making decisions regarding objectives on the basis of rational insight. Staying devoted to the initial requirement will result in failure when the requirement of a project changes more than one time.

• Unrealistic time or resource estimates

view mistakes of time or supply cause project related problems. One common problem during the creation of the Work Breakdown Structure is assuming that the time on task equals period. The time on task is the time the task will take to inclusive without interruptions, whereas duration is the time the task actually takes to complete including interruptions. Using the time on task to estimate schedule is one of the frequent mistakes made by project managers.

a different frequent problem is using linear rough calculation when estimating schedule. For example, if you doubled the cows in a farm, you double your fabrication of milk. The IT projects are beyond the scope of such approximations. Assume we have a large IT project using a team with a staff of one hundred people. Linear thinking would support the conclusion that increasing the people by 100 percent would decrease the schedule and increase the cost to approximately the same degree. In reality, doubling the staff produce a non-linear result.

• Lack of executive support and user involvement

The research companies and academic institution has focused on the lack of executive support and user involvement as two main difficulties in managing IT projects.

The project manager is the interface between the business and technology sides of the company. Without executive support project managers in the organization find effort in aligning business with their projects. The executive management also needs to be straightforward if they have reservations about the project. Otherwise, once troubles are encountered in the project their support will weaken.

Most IT projects will change the work life of many users and require that they participate in design and implementation. Without user involvement nobody in the business feels committed to the project. User involvement requires time and effort, but the staff might be already stretched and unable to find time for a new project on their schedule. That is why executive management support is important to make priority clear to the staff.

• Failure to communicate and act as a team

Projects sometimes fail due to improper communication. Science Application International Corporation said that the communication with FBI was difficult because of the high turn over of top IT managers.

Communication problems are common on large IT projects.

Because complex IT projects often involve large amount of analysis and work, the project teams are busy and the executive management sees no progress. IT project managers do not communicate progress regularly because they believe that progress will not be seen by the executive management.

In many IT projects, there is no one person who has an overview of the whole project.

• Unsuitable skills

The challenge of global competition, the rapid growth of knowledge, and the constant changes of technology make it hard to predict what kind of skilled people will be needed.

Most IT projects require a different range of skills. Many teams lack the breadth, and depth they require. It is also not easy for technology-based organization to find the experienced people they need because sometimes few people in the labor market have the necessary skills.

The larger the project, the more need there is also for people with excellent planning, oversight, organization, and communications skills; experienced technology skilled people do not necessarily have these abilities.

The past failure need not discourage project managers from future efforts. Past examples of IT project failures gives us the opportunity to point to the relevant lessons that can be derived from recognizing areas where IT projects is more likely to fail.

Project managers can position themselves to reduce the possibility for project failure by considering the following recommendations:

• Make sure to plan before starting the development or implementation.

• Pay attention to tasks in the critical path.

• Set up the necessary processes to calculate and inform the risk.

• Ensure that the IT project has clear objectives.

• Understand project trade-offs when making decisions regarding objectives change.

• Use the duration instead of the time on task to estimate schedule.

• Avoid using linear approximation when estimating time or resources.

• Get the support from the executive management and ask them to be open if they have any reservations about the project.

• Ensure and communicate regular about the progress, even if it seems invisible.

• Require that users participate in design and implementation of your project

• Make sure you have the appropriate planning, communication, and technology skills.

These recommendations, along with solid project management, can reduce the risk that an IT project fails.

Life might be long or short. Some say that it is short, so do everything you can do and regret nothing while others say that it is a long path that shall be taken easy. Life is the experience of being alive; the course of human events and activities. Knowing one’s self is the best gift we can give to our selves. Some gifts are as follows. Project managers must posses good characters or view to see a clearer and wider vision towards their project.

Tomorrow is a beautiful road that will take you to righ where you want to go. If you spend today walking away from worry and moving toward serenity; leaving behind conflict ad travelling towards solutions; and partingwith emptiness and finding fulfillment. If you cando what works for you, your present will be happier and your path will be smoother. And best of all, you’ll be taking a step into a beautiful future. Thinking that present can be a factor for tomorrow, you can ready thy self for next day. It might also mean that starting good today will end up good for tomorrow. Bad things always end with bad things so as well as good thing ends up a good thing. Tight faith of hope in looking what is ahead of us is such a good sign that you are yearning for a success.

It is easily within the reach of everyone to become independetly wealthy in the most gratifying way. All you have to do is treasure every single day. In life also, the things that we do not want are the thing we always get. Isn’t it funny that it is like that.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I have learned how to sail my ship” by Louisa May Alcot. Difficulties are not meant to make you give up but for you to stand out and make your way through it.

“time is gold” others would joke “time is diamond”. Since life is linear in time, things are not going back when it flew with time. Moments and decisions in your life are as important as your moments with your family, friends, and/or someone special. In this way, you’re making a path to your self.

“nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa”, a common saying for Filipinos but some forget to work for their selves and put all the burden to God. Believing in miracles are the wildest card a person can have yet effective with faith. It is also to make impossibilities to possbilities and thinking beyond the box.

Sometimes you think that you need to be perfect that you cannot make mistakes. At these times, you put so much pressure on yourself. And end up dissapointing youself. We are just human who can commit mistakes and not capable of being perfect but what we can do is to do the best and be the best in our most gratifying ways. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t treat yourself as inferior or superior towards others. Be unique and very special person as you are.

A wise person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all. In business, these situations are coomon. Competitions towards other companies or SMEs occurs and that how business works because a business might be imitative or an innovation but most of the time imitative. Troubles might be an opportunity and turn it to success.

“To infinity and Beyond”, a tagline of Buzz Lightyear from the animated film Toy story which tells us to hold on beyond what we can reach. Why settle for little? While you can have bigger. Does that make sense?

Life is always through ups and downs. I do not know any person that had a perfect path and have not wavered. Misfortunes are unavoidable but can be made easier just by knowing that they will be overcome.

Success is not financial but satisfaction of one’s heart. It is the heart that makes a person rich. Each person in this world wants to achieve their ultimate goal, to be happy, which is sometimes hard for others because they are counting what they dont have instead of what they have.

In philosophy, there are terms called immoral and amoral. Amoral persons are those who commit sins unknowingly but the worse are those who are immoral persons because they know they have commited sins. Knowing what’s right or wrong is something someone must treasure and be kept in hearts for it is the brain of the heart that might tell us what to do or react in a certain situation.When things go wrong, don’t go with them and do the right thing instead.

Find time, make time and take time to love, to smile, to do something rewarding and deeply personal and completely worthwhie. Time is your fortune, and you can spend it to bring more joy to yourself. It is just a matter of choice of what satisfies you.

“No one knows what he can do until he tries” by Publilius Syrus. Trying is not merely trying but it is an action where your heart is. If there’s a will then there’s a way. It’s just a matter of courage and action. I think a person can do anything if he will just put his heart and mind into it. Being hardworking is a thing to achieve and attain success so keep believing in thy self that you can do it.

For an instance of a student studying BSIT in Institute of computing, he/she must be consistent and persistent towards studies, and try not to waver. Keeping up a good work might be tiring because people around you puts pressure unto you and expects higher. Living up t this thing are tiring unless it was really your will. But keeping a good work would rather be an example to others that they might make you there standards and when all stands up, you are standing out of the crowd.

Some people say that people are like tea bags. You fund out how strong they are when you put them on water. Courage is how you face and react to the hings that happens in your environment. Courage is ability of someone to overcome things that obstacles them.

Ideas alone are still ideas. Working them will make them work. Finishing things what you have started is a great thing to do because you have the completeness of thy work.

Be Patient with everyone, but above all be patient of yourself. In these times, you shall carry all of your courage and strength to withstand the storm. Don’t be uprooted from the storms, face it and feel the sweetness and blessings of your life. Everything should not be perfect for it is only the time that most people turn to God.

The gift of keeping smiles up and stress levels down. You dont have to be the one responsible of making everything work. Just what teachers always say, “No stress, just chill”.

The gift of hanging in there and holding on. Have you known the story of Jeanie from It Started with a Kiss and they kissed again? Jeanie had been in love with a boy since her first year in high school. She loved nobody but him only. Until one day, their paths have crossed and she had never ever departed from him. She insisted on clinging onto him knowing she does not have any chance on winning his heart since he is very smart, handsome and comes from a good family while she is no beauty, dumbest person he have known and clumpsiest person. However, there are things that only geniuses can do while and the rest is for the fate. The boy describe it by percentage, 90% are thethings he can do while the remaining 10% are the things she can only do without noticing it. Maybe it’s like a miracle. And by that, the boy got tangled with her and not be able to move without her. You can do your part, which is 90%, and leave the things you can’t do unto God which is 10%. Clinging on something you want is the courage of heart to trust and have faith even hopes is letting you down.

The gift of knowing that everything will be okay. Having worries will just make you age. Stresses are also the one responsible thing why people have illness. Everything will start difficult so why worry. Before you master something, you must try it first and understand how it goes. Just think of the best you can do for now and leave the rest hanging. No one knows what lies ahead of us except God.

The gift of dreams and joyful things coming into view. There are some that worries of what will happen in their tomorrows, they tend to deprive theirselves from enjoying what they presently do. Seeing good things through storms and trials will make your way to the summit where view is more beautiful and outstanding.


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