Top 10 Causes of Project Management Failure

In life we ​​face different challenges and Charles R. Swindoll once said: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” In project management, 10% is the project itself, the other 90% is how the project is executed and how problems are solved. Whatever your industry, projects are essential for companies to test their ideas, meet customer needs, and solve problems.

We will examine the different management problems that prevent your projects from being successful. The purpose of taking an in-depth look at the way you manage your projects is to help you understand how to achieve higher performance through best practices.

1 – Definition of objectives

In the project management sector, there is talk of deviation from objectives. But before we can talk about it, we have to make sure the goals are set. Without this, the project will not progress properly.

Project managers and organizations must work on three main characteristics: schedule, budget and quality. These characteristics must have a numerical value in order to analyze project performance. The project can only be successful if the parties understand the value they can derive from their contribution. However, only 58% of organizations fully understand the value of their project.

Since most do not understand the value of their project, they lose a lot of money and employee satisfaction decreases, which ultimately leads to disengagement with the project. One of the first mistakes that is made is, when planning a project, companies usually operate on their profit margin and not on how to add value to their customers.

Also make sure your goals are aligned with your company’s strategy for prioritizing projects. Priority should be given to those that are most related to the overall strategy. And put the satisfaction of your customers first.

2 – Lack of staff visibility

Not having project visibility is a real problem. And not being able to see the availability of your resources, their workload, or even the progress of their tasks can seriously slow down the whole process.

The visibility offered by project management software on the allocation of resources is essential. You will know where to assign your employees different tasks and where they will be most effective. You will have a better view of each person’s performance and this is an essential aspect of project management. Your resources make the project come alive and move forward. Knowing how to anticipate and plan is good, but without visibility it is impossible. A staffing tool like Stafiz allows you to see the competencies of your resources in order to allocate them effectively. But also have a vision of the future margin generated by progress and turnover; as well as monitor charging rates for better performance. In addition, automated staffing by a tool ensures even more proper management of resources to meet customer demand. 

3 – Lack of communication :

According to a Bull Horn study, 57% of projects fail due to lack of communication. When a project is developed globally, a lack of communication between project managers and other stakeholders located around the world can affect overall performance and cause delays.

For example, a communication issue regarding payment to vendors can cause shipping delays if not handled properly. If communication is not smooth and clear, there can be significant financial consequences. It’s also important to remember that frequent communication with employees about their performance can help them work more effectively. In fact, good feedback on your achievements leads to better engagement on your part.

To improve communication, a staffing tool or project management software can improve communication between team members, managers, and stakeholders. The goal is to provide everyone with the right information in the right place at the right time. And so that everyone can know the progress of the project, the obstacles and give suggestions.

4 – Lack of leadership from above

Three quarters of the projects fail due to lack of involvement of managers. Since top managers play an important role as sponsors of the project, they must support the project managers and give final input on some important decisions. Senior managers report to the project manager on the goals and overall strategy. A survey by Project Smart UK asked 1,000 project managers if roles, responsibilities and authority levels were clear on the projects they worked on. Here are their responses:

  • Strongly agree: 2.8%
  • Agree: 34.3%
  • Disagree: 51%
  • Strongly against: 9.7%
  • Don’t know: 2.3%
  • Almost 63% of them do not know their role or have not received specific instructions from their superiors.

5 – Poor risk management :

Micro projects are easier to manage than macro projects, as the failure rate for projects with a budget of more than $1 million is 50% higher than for projects with a budget of less than $350,000. Each project is unique and has its own uncertainties in terms of risk. It is always better to quantify the risk. When planning a financial budget, always include a percentage of risk and cost overruns that may create tensions with sponsors or clients. Always prepare project managers with guidance on how to respond to project-specific risks. It is also necessary to have good tools to monitor project progress and financial performance against budget.

Tools like project management software provide this long-term visibility and alert you when a project goes over budget.

6 – Lack of team coordination

Failure to plan as a team with the project manager and management is bound to fail. When the three levels of management do not have access to updated information in real time, it is when failure is assured.

These sessions should be held regularly in organizations to discuss issues, review performance indicators and progress. It is also an opportunity to share insight into the performance of individual tasks.

Also, bringing team members together makes it easier to brainstorm and build consensus. This has a significant impact on project performance.

7 – Lack of leadership competence

During the management of a project many problems arise and the solutions do not appear by themselves. To solve these problems, organizations need effective project managers, dedicated to guiding the project in the right direction. 80% of “high performance” projects are led by a certified project manager. Therefore, choosing the right person to lead the project, someone with the right skills, will reduce the risk of failure.

One of the most common reasons for the failure of a project is the lack of experience of the project manager and the lack of technical training necessary to handle certain tools. Furthermore, some lack the soft skills necessary to manage a project together and globally in some cases.

Another problem could simply be a lack of management involvement. To guarantee the success of a project, it is necessary that they are present, that they listen. They have to give their team and customers the necessary information to move forward and resolve any issues that arise. Being a good leader requires a lot of skills, but also a lot of soft skills like communication, conflict resolution, and organization.

8 – Ignore warning signs

Once halfway through the project, organizations may miss some of the signs, such as money in/out issues, late deadlines, or the project going over budget. Busy managers don’t have time to follow all the warning signs.

The only way to resolve this is to use project management software that provides the level of automation necessary to follow the red flags. Stafiz Software, ERP for project management, offers this complete automation for the management of your projects.

You can track progress, budget adjustments, and time spent on each activity. This software helps managers to work on other aspects of the project without wasting time.

9 – Illogical cost estimates

This occurs when objectives are not achieved as planned and the project manager loses sight of his priorities. Project flow can be affected when one team has to wait for another to finish their tasks before they can start theirs.

It causes delays, and it also occurs when the organization is too focused on profit margin and tries to cut costs thinking it can deliver with less expense and resources. These are the reasons why one in six projects has an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of almost 70%.

10 – Lack of flexibility

Today, working together is increasingly complex. Teams work remotely and many companies still do not have access to digital tools that allow them to coordinate their tasks and plan. As already mentioned, this is related to the lack of communication or visibility of the project. But it also refers to the inability of employees to adapt to changes, to different time zones if they are in contact with other countries, or to different ways of working.

Keeping too static and old methods no longer works in a world where adapting to change is mandatory to continue to succeed. Whether at the leadership or team organization level, it is important to keep in mind that flexibility is the key to continuing to innovate.