How Project Managers

How Project Managers Can Prevent Project Failure

How Project Managers Can Prevent Projects Failure : The principle objective of this article is to identify and explore the various dimensions of project failure over the entire life of the project. Many projects fail, especially IT projects. The only way companies can get better at doing projects is to learn from the projects they have done.

There are small things that can determine the fate of a project Fail. All of this in project management practice and research, has seen it as a threat and as something that should, if possible, be neutralized, mitigated and followed.


In a perfect world, every project would be “on time and on budget.” But reality (especially proven statistics) tells a very different story. It is not uncommon for projects to fail. Even if the budget and schedule are met, one has to ask –

Question – “Is the project delivering the results and quality we expect?”

The answer to this question can be different in different perspectives. There is no single method or organizational structure that can be used to manage projects for success. Project failure can happen in any organization and on any project.

There are many reasons why projects (both simple and complex) fail; number of reasons can be infinite and can enter into different phases of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), initiation via go live. Sometimes beyond the control of the project manager and/or team members.

Sometimes failure can be controlled. The failed projects and the people involved with the failures have some things in common. I have tried to compile some of the critical and most basic reasons based on my experience for project failure and they may differ from project to project.

From the outside, it could be that all the reasons will roll down to the responsibility and accountability of the project manager but from my perspective it should be a shared responsibility.

Here are some common reasons why projects fail – based on my experience.

1. Incompetent Project Manager

The first possible cause of project failure is the project manager. A project manager who helps direct the project in a timely manner and provides good and inspiring leadership can go a long way toward realizing a successful project.

Reasons such as “incompetent project manager” “project manager unwilling to make decisions”, “project problems ignored”, “poor management by project leader”, “loss of control by project manager”, and “project manager failure to delegate”, “work only as coordinator” is the most important reason given for project failure.

2. Lack of Project Manager Involvement

This is always a topic of debate for project managers: Should they focus solely on pure project management activities such as reporting, cost and issue tracking, or should they also dive into basic level design and review? There is no right answer. Even the biggest projects depend on the success of the smallest components.

Every detail contains a seed that can mean the difference between success and failure. On relatively inexperienced teams, project managers must be involved in the details for key activities. This will help them have better control over the effort as well as provide stakeholders with the true status of the project.

3. Unavailability of Skilled Resources

Every project has several resource estimates before starting the project and even each vendor submits details and profiles of key personnel as part of the bidding process to acquire the project. However the image is always opposite after the project is rendered.

Initial resource estimates and loading sheets are submitted to the project manager as part of the sales handover process but I have seen that project managers are always struggling to get the right skilled resources so the leadership team must understand the criticality and provide the right planned/skilled resources time to avoid project delays or failures.

4. Lack of Proper Planning

The project manager must have clear visibility of the project results and must involve himself or herself from the sale submission as this phase is critical to the success of the project. If you don’t have a clear focus in the early stages of the process/project, you’re giving yourself a hard time. This will lead to inaccurate estimates and half-baked planning.

5. Lack of Management Support/Leadership Alignment

It is important to ensure that senior management remains fully engaged throughout the project life cycle. Engagement eg. going through the project update session implies that they are willing to take appropriate action to address the issues raised by the project team, reduce project risks, provide leadership, thereby contributing to project success.

6. Lost Communication

The communication plan plays a very important role in the success or failure of the project. The plan should contain details of stakeholders i.e. name, role, contact no. and emails, project team details, escalation matrices, and other dependent groups.

The details of the distribution of information (stakeholders, details of information, distribution method, format and frequency) should be clearly defined in the plan. To save your project from failure, project managers need to establish clear communication channels.

Effective communication in any organization is important to keep all your team members on the same page, avoid confusion, and keep them motivated.

By communicating with your team, project managers can develop an environment of trust, proactively killing conflicts, that will bring out the best in your team and ultimately lead to successful project delivery.

7. Ignoring the Change Management Process

Take a moment before your project begins to undergo significant changes, or before you even look for a technology solution. It is very important to define the steps of your change management process. A solid understanding of the principles of change management will serve as a strong backbone for any change management plan.

Change is inevitable, regardless of the size of your project. For better or for worse, it must be managed properly to ensure the project continues uninterrupted. Every project must have a change control process, and every change request, however small, must go through it.

The impact of changes must be documented, approved, and presented to key stakeholders so that everyone understands their impact on quality, cost and schedule. The focal point of any leader tasked with change should be aligning their team with the vision. Communication is a critical component in ensuring every team member is on the same page.

8. No Risk Management Process

Many projects fail because there is no risk management process as an integral part of the project management process. I’m not surprised as I’ve been in many projects where a risk log was created at the start of the project and then quietly parked, never to be seen again.

Then guess what – perfectly predictable situations arise in which no one knows how to react.

It is in the risk log but no risk response is generated so the predictable outcome is a sub-optimal project. My own feeling based on my experience is that you neglect risk management in a project at your own risk.

9. Insufficient Quality Assurance

Now this is where the technicals come in. Software projects often fail when no quality assurance activities are planned and no systematic activities are undertaken to evaluate the quality of the development process or end result.

This is because managers often fail to project appropriate review tests or checkpoints where quality can be verified. Code review is part of this (as defined in #20).

10. Project Management Tools/Framework Missing

Successful projects are based on a methodology or framework that includes project management tools. The right approach can help the project manager to stay on top of the project and by using some reliable management tools; project managers can increase team productivity, improve accuracy and save time by automating activities such as task tracking and managing dependencies.

A large number of failed projects resulted from missing methodologies and frameworks, leading to inaccuracies and wasted time. There are many project management frameworks and methodologies (such as Agile, Iterative) and they can support efficient delivery.

11. Corporate/Project Culture

The corporate or project culture should not be supported by a political environment. It must support competence, skills, professionalism and transparency. Otherwise, team members will not be motivated to do their best. Basically, everyone involved has to be involved in their part of the project to successfully complete it.

Any action taken by the project manager to move project implementation from the political arena to being objective and analytical will increase project success. It involves managing and retaining the most skilled and productive people.

Knowledge is money. It is the project manager’s job to manage and motivate so that the project effort will experience optimal performance zones throughout its life.

12. Inappropriate Priorities

While some work best on a small number of requirements, others are better suited for very complex projects with many decision makers. But regardless of when it is done, before the requirements can be prioritized, the project manager must consider why the requirements are most important from a business point of view and what impact they will have on the system as a whole whether the new requirements will add value to the system as a whole or it will be overhead.

The project manager should lead the implementation of priorities together with all relevant stakeholders. There are a number of possible business considerations, including value, cost, risk and customer experience improvement, stakeholder agreements, and urgency variables.

13. Inaccurate Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis is the first step and critical process that successful project managers use to gain support from others. Managing stakeholders helps them to ensure that their projects succeed where others may fail.

There are three steps to follow in Stakeholder Analysis. First, identify who your stakeholders are. Next, explore their strengths, influence, and interests, so you know who to focus on.

Finally, develop a sound understanding of the most important stakeholders based on the Power/Stakes network, so you know how they are likely to respond, and how you can win the support of those who can drive the project’s success.

14. Use of Unknown Tools

Tools are definitely necessary for project execution and success but unknown tools can lead to possible failure as well. Sometimes, this can cause a lot of severe problems during the project life cycle as the team has to deal with the learning curve of the new tool along with the usual project tasks and tasks.

Project managers must ensure that tools are not deployed on project team members, only to be used for compliance audit compliance unless the tool adds productivity and saves some effort.

15. Change – Always say “Yes’ to the Customer

A lot of behavior can cause a project to fail, but accepting whatever the client says is sure to spell project doom. Initially, stakeholders may appreciate your flexibility – but that will be overshadowed later by the impact of possible schedule slippage and unmet goals. Change is the main cause of project failure.

Project specifications may be changed for several reasons: initial planning was incomplete or thorough; Senior level management changes the scope of work; the client (if not top management) changes the scope of work; this is not to say that you should always tell customers “no”. If you do that, they’ll feel like their worries are being ignored.

Before you commit to anything, do your due diligence and analyze the pros and cons of your decision.

16. Bonds between Project Team Members

It is the project manager’s primary responsibility to bring team members together to achieve a common goal. The stages that teams usually go through are: form, invade, organize, commit, and delay.

As a project manager, a good understanding of these stages will help guide the team from childhood to adulthood creating the needed bonds.

Things can easily go from good to bad very quickly if there is no unity among your team members. Consider a scenario where all team members are moving in different directions.

Can you expect a positive outcome from this situation? There could be many reasons, from personality differences to conflicting interests. All of them contribute to bringing you one step closer to project failure.

17. Unrealistic Expectations

Early in the project, it is important to set realistic expectations for each member or stakeholder who is part of the project. If a project starts without setting goals for each team member, they are likely to lose clarity and focus halfway through.

Project managers should have one-on-one sessions with individual team members and help them understand their role in the project. If goals are set before the project goes smoothly, members will have a roadmap to follow that prevents them from failing the project.

18. Talking Through Problems

Condensing bad news internally long enough will only lead to an explosion later on. It’s okay to do it for a limited period of time, but you need to take the time to pull it out, examine it, feel it, and study it so you can find a way to re-channel it, or turn it into another type. energy.

Not infrequently we face the dilemma of whether to deliver bad news to stakeholders or not. And all too often we forget this truth: The client has a stake in the success of the project. They have the right to be aware of any developments that impact the outcome of the initiative.

You will end up having this heavy object in your chest that will never move. You will never understand what it is about. The problem is that we believe that sharing our problems will make us weak, and stakeholders will start judging us for our shortcomings. Maybe they did.

But higher stakes stakeholders who really care about the project and you know these people very well, will come and help. Sharing helps you feel less burdened, because you now have fewer things on your mind. It will also give you more space to put new thoughts, plan things better.

19. Estimate – Effort

An “estimated guess,” also referred to as a “hunch,” is based on personal intuition and past experience. But even the strongest beliefs can be wrong. Inaccurate forecasts can make project teams work hard day and night to meet deadlines. This project may have finally been completed on time—but with enormous effort.

If time is urgent, use the Function Point technique, Function Point is the unit of measure for functional measures as defined in IFPUG’s Method of Measurement of Functional Measures (FSM) and it is the main global functional measure methodology. Project Manager is responsible for accurate post-sales submission and re-estimation.

If effort is estimated or not estimated properly with appropriate tools then it definitely has an impact on one of the three critical project parameters – Cost, Scope, schedule.

20. Avoid Code Reviews

Assuming that testing will catch bugs or defects are fixed faster when you know where the code breaks. You will only increase the risk of schedule slippage as the flow of defects increases during testing and the turnaround time for code fixes increases.

Code review helps to produce stable and quality delivery. The focus is not only on catching code defects but also looking at critical dimensions that might not have been caught during testing, such as code optimization and requirements coverage.

21. Skipping Prototyping

Defects may result from misunderstanding of the terms and misinterpretation of the stated requirements. Even if requirements are well documented, they must be validated for proper understanding. Only with a visual guide the user can see the difference between what they expect and what is being built.

Feedback should be planned at various stages during the project to reduce risk. This feedback loop will help you find gaps early and allow sufficient time for correction. Sketches, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes are unique ways to visually showcase your project needs with varying levels of detail.

Understanding that each level of polished output is present will keep expectations aligned and communication clear between all stakeholders.


There are many seemingly independent causes of project failure. However, it becomes clear that many of these causes are actually related to the project manager (which may differ from project to project) and the way they are implemented. Past failures should not discourage project managers from future endeavors.

Examples of past IT project failures provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate relevant lessons to be learned from identifying areas where IT projects are likely to fail.

Changing the scope of the project not only affects costs, but also affects the schedule and allocation of resources. One way to address all causes is that multiple stakeholders and project project teams must be included in a very rigorous planning process, thereby maximizing input from multiple interests and broadening the understanding of project managers and team members that results in success rather than failure.

An increase in the success rate of IT projects is made possible by placing significantly more focus on general management activities. With accurate planning, definite goals, clear tasks and effective communication, proactive managers can overcome opportunities to master, even the most challenging projects and also need the support of a leadership team that can help project managers to complete more projects on time, on time. time. budget allocated and with the expected benefits/results.