The three best lessons I learned from a failed project

Usually in our career we are looking to achieve successful projects, also we are studying the successful projects to learn how it was done.
But more experience we can get from failure projects, so that means even failure projects still marked as successes for us because we can learn more from it and also that will support in the future projects in order to do it successfully, so the failure project is not just time wasting.

You Fail!---keyboard

In the article, the writer mentioned three lessons from a failed and I do agree that these are the top lessons.
1- The project schedule is your friend
One of the major causes of project failure is the lack of having a detailed project schedule, schedule should be addressed with dates so the targets will be easy monitor, also milestones should be shown and tracked during the project execution, the critical path also should be addressed so the activities. Missing of tracking the project will not give a warning of the project issues so the corrective response might be coming very late, and that will have a huge cost impact.
The project schedule should be monitored and continually updated through the project period.

2- You can’t escape the project triangle even if you’re an executive
We know the triangle constraints which are time, cost and scope. Also, we know that we cannot change one of these constraints without affecting the others, for example, changing the scope will affect the cost and time of the projects. Changing the project scope by adding additional work to it should be in the initial stages of the, otherwise it will have a huge impact on it in case of it become in the final stages.

3- Project heroics only lead to project failure
Projects need to be done as a team there is no one person can deliver the full project, relying on one person will guide the project to the failure path.
The inspiration of the team work should be there between the project members, everybody should feel of it, and they might work together and trust each other to achieve the goals.
During the project lifecycle, there will be success and failures but if we do monitor and update the project with reference to our initial plan it will be easy to find the issues and the problems; so it can be corrected and solved at the proper time, and be able to catch up the project and finish it successfully.

I had been working in a project which falls behind schedule due to the lack tracking of the progress, since the project manager was focusing on bigger projects ignoring that small one, and that was a major cause of the project failure.




8 thoughts on “The three best lessons I learned from a failed project

  1. Thank you for an interesting topic, and coming from engineering background I see it happening a lot. Successful people learn from their failures. And if anyone ran any project without any problem, then he must have learnt nothing from that experience. Another issue that I agree on is the schedule of the project is essential, thus without a proper schedule the project will fail if any small detail wasn’t well elaborated. In almost all the failed project the main reason was due to not proper scheduling of the work and not checking on the milestones of the project periodically.

  2. Learning out of projects is very important, as a project manager it is important to improve, and no matter how much you plan the flawless execution is what really matter.

    You cant change yesterday, but you can only change tomorrow. (Last slide in the lecture πŸ™‚ )

  3. Thank you for your post. I like the direction you took on stating how a failed project could teach you valuable lessons. I think we are so consumed with success these days that when we fail we become upset without really taking out positives or even how to improve in the future. We are fast to throw blame and we don’t concede that sometimes it is just no ones fault.
    Overall I commend you for your topic choice.

  4. very interesting subject, looking positively to any experience whether it has ended up successfully or not is not an easy thing to do especially that in work environment we’re rewarded based on the final result. In addition, reflecting back on any project and taking it as a learning opportunity is a valuable step that should not be missed. In my experience this is hardly done as there is hardly any neither encouragement nor emphasis on how this is critical in avoiding the same mistakes again.

  5. I believe the three lessons are really very important for a project’s success.
    During the field project we did for this, we were able to complete it successfully but one the most important point that we should have emphasized on further was the project schedule and milestones. Adding as much details as possible at the planning phase to the schedule is also crucial to assure a project’s success.
    Another very important lesson we learned was the importance of keeping track of all the various activities.
    Thank you for sharing the post, very interesting.

  6. The three points are truly some of the main lessons any one can learn from failed projects. With regards to the first point, people usually start the project by sticking to the schedual but would deviate from it due to the extra work it brings up constantly updating it every time anything happened. Not knowing that that extra time and effort will end up saving you so much in time and cost later on. Plus the project heroics for someone to shine will never be able to handover or finish the project successfully due to the fact that projects need teams to be completed and not a solo effort.

  7. I could agree more with the lessons learned. In my opinion point number three is the most important. It essential to have a strong leader in the team who can make sure that everyone is doing their part. But even before that, he/she must be able to get everyone involved and on the same page. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have witnessed projects fail due to the lack of buy-in or participation from the group members. Project success lies within careful planning and execution rather than on luck and single heroics.

  8. This article brought up a few good points. It is always important to remember that failure can lead to more learning than success. I think it is one of the perks of taking a project management class now; it provides the ability to get our feet wet before we are faced with a task at work. The fact about the project schedule can be your friend is interesting. I completely agree that a detailed schedule is necessary to complete a project on time, but I have also experienced projects that do not even get started on time because the project manager and others involved spend an incredible amount of time trying to figure out every little detail to a project. I think at some point, they need to accept that there will be some risk with the project and move forward from there. I also thought that the last point was important. So many times we talk about just schedule and budget and we don’t give enough attention to the people who are doing the work. I think creating a productive team and then continuing to motivate and inspire them is crucial to a successful project.

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