Why project management fails?

Project failure
Project failure

In an interesting article that I have read called “ why does project management fail?”, the author tries to bring his own experience and theories into play. He starts talking about how many companies question themselves and that they think that project management is just just a mixture of tools and techniques that should guarantee their success.
As we learned in class, project management consists of two parts, the first one is dependent on science which are tools and techniques. The second is that its also an art, it is important to put in our mind that even with the best planing techniques possible, even if we put a contingency for every event, things still go wrong. It is in the art of project management that we learn how to adapt and move on to make something work.
The author goes on explaining that there are some factors which lead to the failure of project management in organisations such as the” Lack of knowledge, lack of organisational policy, lack of enforcement of policy and procedures, lack of consideration for the magnitude and complexities of project management”. It is true that project management tools are only as good as the people who use them and it is a philosophy that would work only if everyone in the organisation or at least the specific project is onboard.
Some times it is better to outsource, if a certain company doesn’t have enough knowledge/resources and doesn’t feel it has the discipline to adopt project management methodology. There are some companies whom specialize in consultancy and project management, in fact outsourcing could save those companies a lot of money and energy as well as add proficiency.
It is also important to look at the role of the project manager himself, we spoke in class about Active and reactive managers. I think that the article focuses on the benefits of active managers and dismisses reactive managers. It is true that being active means that you should be ready for different scenarios and prepare all contingencies in advance, but that is the science part. Reactive management is more like the art part where you would have to work with whats introit of you. A balance of the two is always needed, you don’t want to start a project without any plan, in the same same time you don’t want someone whom wouldn’t know how to respond when something goes wrong and he had no way of putting a contingency plan for it.
Some think that project failure is only due to not being able to deliver to costs or expected quality or even missing the deadline. Those are all valid reasons, but leadership and organisation philosophy is what could be put as the thin line between project success and project failure.


3 thoughts on “Why project management fails?

  1. Completely agree, poor leadership and organizational philosophy can destroy a project before it even begins. In order to have a successful project carried out especially in large scale projects the organization from the top to the bottom needs to be on the same page. The most successful large scale projects I have seen carried out seem to always have that constant where everyone understands what the company is trying to achieve and how they are trying to achieve it.

    1. Totally agree with these 7 reasons. However, I would put Scope Creep closer to the top of the list. I have been a part of a few projects where our clients continuously were allowed to continue to add new features which always delayed our deliverables to the point of the project going way over in cost and time.

      I have dealt with “Lack of Senior Management Involvement” many times within my current role. Our group has some great ideas for novel software applications that could be used by our institution, however most of the projects will never get off the ground. This result occurs due to our knowledge of how low the success of the project would be.

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