Top 1 Cause for Project Failure

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Anish Mathai Mathew [PMP|MBA]
Temenos T24 PROGRAM MANAGER at Union National Bank
Featured discussion

In your experience, what is the TOP #1 cause for Project failure?

From experience, the following are the TOP10 causes of Project failure that Mathew can think of (they are not in any kind of order):

#1. Lacking Sponsor 's Involvement/Ownership
#2. Halo Effect (Wrong Man for the Job)
#3. Poor HR Management
#4. Poor/Inadequate Project Communications
#5. Ignoring Project Stakeholders
#6. Absence of Risk Management
#7. Scope Creep/Unrealistic Expectations ( scope creep: Frequent and uncontrolled changes in the scope or requirements of a project)
#8. Lack of Monitoring of Plan
#9. Absence of a Project Management Methodology
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For me this question shows the real reason for faillure. Most projects focus on producing a rocket (only focus on delivery). Successful projects however look further: why do we create a rocket? Because we want to go to the moon. If NASA would have only focussed on delivering rockets, they would never have reached the moon and probably had produced a great number of disasters while delivering or using those rockets. A Business Case focus, rather than only a delivery focus!

(By the way & off topic: this delivery approach for me also caused the current financial crisis. Only focussing on the deal, not on the long term effects.)

All reasons summed up in the question above are in my view symptoms and results of the delivery-only approach rather than reasons.

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Alexandro Zencovich

Senior Project Manager at ZTE Canada

I would say #7. Scope Creep/Unrealistic Expectations. All the others reasons are certainly strong source for failure but somehow most of them point to have a bad road map document.

This is why a Project Manager is so useful in any organization to make sure that we get the right project management plan, which include a concise and accurate project scope statement and "realistic" project expectations.

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Beth Barrett

Beth Barrett Consulting, LLC

Based on over 20 years of project management experience, I would say item #1 to
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