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Why Projects Fail? Learn with 5 Basic Reasons

You have already learned about the basics of project management and various project life cycles in our previous posts. Not all projects are a success, so in this post, we’re going to look into the question why projects fail?

Main Reasons Why Projects Fail

One main reason why projects fail is the poor management or poor planning. Below, we’re sharing a few facts from different reports.

  • 37% projects fail due to no clear goals [PMI]
  • 70% of organizations have suffered at least one failure [KPMG]
  • Only 40% of projects met schedule, budget, and quality goals [IBM]
  • Success rates for Agile projects is 72% and for traditional approaches 63% [Dr. Dobbes Journal]
Why Projects Fail

List of the Reasons Why Projects Fail

In the following paras, we’re going to share a few reasons why projects fail.

Scope Creep

Scope Creep causes projects to fail. Scope defines what you’ll do in a project and what you’ll not do. Scope creep occurs when you have planned everything like time, resources, and budget and then introduce unplanned changes. This will make the project to miss deadline while you work on unnecessary tasks.

Project Scope Creep

Accidental Manager

Accidental Manager is the person who does not have proper training in managing a project but gets a chance to become a manager. He or she is then unable to manage scope, time, cost, or resources which causes the project to fail. That’s why it is important for aspirant managers to learn the skills of the trade to be a successful manager.

Accidental Manager

Poor Team Building

Poor Team Building means there is a communication gap between team members. Team members don’t understand each other. There are fights between team members. They are not clear about dependencies. The team
building is done by project manager. If the manager is unable to handle it then the project is bound to fail.

Poor Team Building

Unreliable Estimates

Unreliable Estimates is another cause of project failure. Either project manager estimates the project alone without involving team, or the team miscalculate the estimates. No proper task estimation and scheduling techniques are used during the planning process.

Unreliable project estimates

Poor Risk Management

Poor Risk Management is a major reason of many projects to fail. All projects have some level of uncertainty which causes risks. If those risks are not identified or there is no proper plan to tackle the unknown risks in the future then the manager will fail to make the project a success. Proper risk management skills can be applied to avoid this situation.

Poor Risk Management

How to Avoid Project Failure?

The reasons why projects fail are not only limited to the ones mentioned above. There are many other reasons as well. However, the crux of the matter is that, if the projects are not planned and managed properly, by the trained project manager or the teams then they’re bound to fail. So how can we avoid the project failure? Here are a few tips:

  • Manage requirements and scope and track changes properly to avoid scope creep
  • Get proper training in project management to handle a project properly
  • Team building should be done properly
  • Task estimates should be done collaboratively using proper techniques
  • Properly plan & manage risks
How to avoid project failure

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