← Go Back

We all know that, generally speaking, project managers are great people who know what they’re doing. Sure, some score higher on the “nice” and “smart” scale than others, but that’s true of any field.

However, despite all of the great project managers out there, we have to admit that the overall success rate for project management itself – as defined by those projects that close out in scope, on time, and on budget — isn’t that high.

In fact, according to some studies, the project management success rate is less than 15%. (And some of you reading this might think that number’s a bit on the high side!)

So that begs the question: why do projects fail? Is it personnel? Technology? Not enough stress balls? Too many stress balls?

Share your list with the project management community, so that we can compare notes. And who knows, in addition to having the chance to vent a little (which can be quite therapeutic), together we might help save some future projects from failure. That’s a pretty noble thing to do.

To get the ball rolling, here are my top 3 reasons for project failure:

  • Not enough resources. In some corporate environments, projects are about as beloved as tax audits. As a result, projects (and those who workon them) punished by the Power That Be by being starved of resources. Nothing dooms project management faster or quicker, or sends more project managers into early retirement, then not having enough resources to move a project forward.
  • Bad or non-existent technology. Excel spreadsheets and email just don’t get it done anymore when it comes to project management technology. It continues to amaze me (in the sad, depressing way) how often project success is undermined because of ineffective or just plain awful project management software. The Internet overflows with case studies. It’s an epidemic. There should be a telethon. Won’t someone please think of the children?
  • Poor communication. We all know that communication in business is essential. We can find 10,000 articles (at least) that remind of this fundamental truth. It’s a cliché. So in light of that, why do we keep forgetting this when it comes to projects? Communication is the thread that holds projects together. Without this thread, the project falls apart, and what’s worse, it becomes even harder to put back together – because everyone’s too busy NOT communicating to try and solve things.