by Danielle Landewe | Project Resource Manager

International Project Management Day is a free online conference running through December 7th.  PMPs can earn up to 12 PDUs by viewing free presentations.  Register here.

Projects fail.  But why projects fail is a critical question that many companies need to evaluate more thoroughly.

Having strong leadership is important in every field, but in project management, it is imperative.  Without strong governance, difficult decisions regarding timelines, budget and when to stop a project will not be made.  You cannot govern a project like a corporation; Project Governance needs to understand that their involvement in projects needs to be constant and that they cannot base all decisions solely on budget.  The definition of a project success should be that it adds business value, how it adds value and at what cost are items that need to be discussed prior to project kick off.  Another area where a project can go astray is in duration.  When projects take too long – they inevitably run into problems – technology or the business need may change before the project can be implemented.

When a PM makes a mistake in a project, it can cost thousands, potentially millions of dollars.  However, when project governance turns a blind eye, the cost can be millions or billions of dollars – OR, it could result in catastrophic failures.  What can prevent this?  Honest feedback and action on this feedback.  Management must react when their team says there are issues, otherwise, why employ project management professionals?  Getting the initial project estimate right is one of the easiest corrections to make in project management.  Does this mean that the project will come in exactly on budget or on time?  Not necessarily, however it does mean that everyone is on board with approximate budget, timeline and technology, not just the executives, but the architects, the developers, etc.  Can Agile solve a lot of these issues?  Agile is not a silver bullet, however, Agile can help to bring useful functionality to market quickly, or allow for flexibility in project design.  Before a company can successfully use the Agile process, they must be mature in their traditional Project Management methodology.  Agile gives a lot of freedom to the Project Management Team, which requires expertise and trust.

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