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7 Common Reasons Why Projects Fail

Are you bummed because your project failed? Well, what if it wasn’t entirely your fault? Because most projects are funded, or completed by a group of people all assigned to different aspects of the project, it’s likely that you couldn’t have done anything to save it.
Here are the 7 common reasons why projects fail:

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#1 Funding, Funding, Funding

It’s really no secret that most projects are funded by company higher ups, clients, the unsuspecting public, etc. And money is what makes the project possible. The minute the well runs dry, or funding gets cut off, the project fails.

This tends to happen a lot, and is a product of clients walking away from the projects altogether, or from the company you work for, which means there’s nothing you can realistically do unless you’re a higher up and can work something out with the client.

Otherwise, the project can fail if the company higher ups are funding it. This occurs when they suddenly realize their money is being spent on something they don’t realistically need anymore. The business landscape changes all the time.

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#2 Gaps In Communication

Yes, something as simple as gaps in communication lead to project failures. And surprisingly it happens a lot. It’s probably one of the most, if not the most, common cause for project failure all over the world.

Think of it like a relationship: if you don’t talk, you don’t tell each other what’s going on, then you’re likely to grow apart. When it comes to a project, everyone on the team needs to communicate effectively and keep each other in the loop, otherwise you have some people waiting for feedback, unable to progress, and then other people working on aspects of the project that got edited out a month ago.

To solve this problem, use team collaboration tools like Slack, which instantly allow you to message your team, rather than waiting on 30 emails.

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#3 Unclear Project Objectives

This is a big one: when you don’t tell your team what’s going on, or what you expect the final result to be like, don’t be shocked when they can’t deliver on your vision. Without a clear destination, and carefully thought-out milestones to get there, you’re all just running around like chickens, trying to make sense of whatever is going on. And whatever is going on can change minute to minute, depending on the day, the client, the project as a whole, and your team’s initiative.

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#4 Overallocated Resources

When you have too many tasks to balance and too few people assigned to those tasks, you’re in for sure failure. Projects that see completion are those that carefully assigned more people to tougher, longer tasks, and delegated the smaller tasks to smaller groups of people. It’s all about being realistic with the workload.

If a massive project only gets assigned to 3-10 people, when in reality, it needs 30, the work won’t get done on time, deadlines will be missed, and the project won’t see the light of day.

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#5 No Risk Management

Initially, before a project even gets assigned, a project manager’s duty is to determine the possible risk associated with a project. Every project has a risk. For instance, starting a new product line is risky because it’s a lot of time and financial investment, as well as marketing efforts being put into products that customers may not want. And that’s not even touching on the work involved in the project itself, in creating it.

If no risk assessment takes place, say because a project is being rushed, you’re setting up for failure, because the project manager doesn’t get a chance to smooth over any bumps in the project’s creation process. So if you have staff shortage, funding shortage, or if deadlines are missed, no one on the team knows what to do about any of it.

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#6 Appointing the Wrong Leader

When someone gets appointed to spearhead a project, it should be clarified that this person needs to be reliable and hardworking. When someone is assigned to spearhead, but they don’t take the project seriously, everyone on the team will automatically assume the project isn’t that important to begin with anyway. And that will lead to missed deadlines, pauses in work, and a failed project.

More so, when the spearhead is uncaring about the project, they will often let other team members slack, proclaiming there is ample amount of time left for the project, when in reality, there may be little to none.

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#7 Estimation

When a project winds up costing more than projected, because it was originally presented as less financially straining on purpose, to make it seem more enticing… that’s bad. Or when a project was estimated for a certain time frame, but that was unrealistic, and your team has to go over on time to get it done…

Well, more often than not, these projects just don’t get done. As soon as money runs out, they may ask for approval for a larger fund, but it won’t really happen. It’s only very selective circumstances. And time? Some projects are so time sensitive, once that window is missed, it’s over.

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