The 7 Worst Change and Project Management Fails to Avoid

The worst project management fails are costly and embarrassing to the companies and individual professionals responsible. Here are 7 change and project management fails to avoid at all costs:

1. Poor or partial planning

Planning in project management is crucial. As the saying goes, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. Yet adding detail too early, before proper control mechanisms and risk management is in place, can create problems. This is why agile management, involving incremental and flexible design, has increasingly become the global standard.

2. Lack of leadership in any area

Lack of leadership in any area of project management has many potential negative effects:

It is thus crucial to appoint and/or train highly-skilled project and division leaders.

3. Risk management not being addressed before projects commence

Not thinking ahead is another frequent cause of avoidable failure. Disaster is possible when foreseeable risks aren’t covered by contingency plans. Risk management should be a fundamental component of execution and not a separate, ‘last resort’ safety mechanism.

4. Over-reliance on methodology or rigid process

A process (or system of processes) is one aspect of a project. Yet large projects are complex and have multiple dependencies, stakeholders and constraints. Putting process before people or following a rigid rubric without staying open to strategic, mid-process decision-making can provoke project failure.

5. Inadequate managerial training

Professional project management training is essential if scope and budgets are to remain within estimates. Inadequate managerial training can lead to lack of accountability and errors that could prove costly.

6. Lack of communication

For a project to run from planning to closing smoothly, consistent communication is essential. A 2013 PMI report found that 56% of every $135 million of budget at risk in the US is the result of poor communication. Investing in communication training is vital.

7. Project warning signs

Project warning signs should launch pre-planned risk management procedures. Continuing business as usual is a high-risk approach. Early warning signs include:

  • Lack of communication between team members
  • Budget or schedule overruns far outside estimates
  • The growth of activities that don’t support (or actively work against) desired outcomes

The worst project management fails are embarrassing and often costly. Adopting an outdated approach to planning, over-relying on rigid methodology and other common errors can stall a project before it truly gets off the ground. To make sure your projects steer clear of these issues, invest in comprehensive project management training.



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