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Project Failure and Success

Link to Six reasons of project failure. I got this article on a post written by Michael Kringsman where he has referenced this blog post by Michiko Diby. Michiko in his post has talked about the 6 reasons of project failure in detail and also has links to explain the reasons.


The reasons which have been highlighted in these posts are:

  • Intent Failure – Occurs when the project doesn’t bring enough added value or capability to beat down the obstacles inherent throughout the process. This suggests the original intent of the project was flawed from the beginning.
  • Sponsor Failure – Occurs when the person heading up the project is not actively engaged and/or does not have the authority to make decisions critical to project success.
  • Design and Definition/Scope Failure – Occurs when the scope is not clearly defined, so the project team is unclear on deliverables.
  • Communications Failure – Occurs when communications are infrequent or honest discussion of project problems and issues are avoided.
  • Project Discipline Failure – Occurs when process/project methodology is allowed to lapse so that the mitigation factors inherent in the process are never used.
  • Supplier/Vendor Failure – Occurs when the structure of supplier /vendor relationships doesn’t allow for communication and adjustments.

In addition to these, here are a few that I added in the comments:

  • Change Process failure – where the scope and deliverables keep changing and there is no set/agrees change process to update the scope
  • Skill Failure – when the right skills are not identified for a task and it takes longer than expected
  • Stakeholder identification failure – where the reviewing authority/decision making authority is clearly identified
  • Turnaround time failure (similar to Project Discipline Failure) – where the participants other than the key project team members fail to revert back in time

Michael Kringsman has a post on IT project success as well which can be read here.

Text in italics is from Michiko Diby’s post, and the clip-art is Microsoft PowerPoint

  1. October 4, 2009 at 19:34

    The stakeholder identification failure is a well made point. Stakeholder identification should never be taken lightly, and its absence causes a lot of confusion and can easily result in conflicts. Who are you stakeholders is an excellent article on the subject.

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