Identifying and acting on project failure

To ensure that a project succeeds it is important to understand the reasons why a project can fail. Identifying and acting on these plausible project failures even before they arise would result in project success.

User Involvement: It is vital to get the project approved by the end users. Without their involvement and belief in the project, even if the project is delivered on time, on budget and meets the requirement specs, one cannot say it is a success. The users need to be involved from the very beginning and they should drive the project in terms of the functionality.

Long timeline projects: When large scale, long term projects are planned they do not take into consideration the global changes that might occur during the project duration. This results often in project deliverables no longer meeting the need of the hour. To ensure this does not happen it is a good idea to have the long timeline projects executed in a phased manner with the flexibility to make appropriate changes as the market demands.

Requirement gathering: This is a crucial stage for any project and demands focus on the requirements of the users and the management in total. If attention is not paid at this phase of the project it might lead to complete failure of the project itself.

Scope creep: These are the subtle add-ons that are added to the initial project without making changes to the project plan estimates. This can lead to projects running off course without our knowledge. Hence it is very important to monitor scope creep and take the necessary change control steps.

Change management: One cannot stress the importance of a proper change management plan. The users need to be completely in loop about the changes that are going to occur and benefits to be expected because of the change. There should be complete transparency and clarity on the benefits of the new processes or culture or structure as the case may be.

Test environment: Before moving on to a live environment, it is highly important to create the right test cases, acceptance tests etc to meet the business and system requirements. The tests need to be planned carefully and checked methodically.

Other areas that also need to be stressed are the documentation, communication, slippages etc. If any of the factors are monitored and identified early on then it would help in ensuring that the problems will not spiral out of control.

Radhika Chittoor

Radhika Chittoor

15 years of experience in presales and marketing. I have helped companies set up their sales & marketing teams.

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