Before starting a project I usually try to take a mental note of the causes of failure in a project, some of them are issues that could persist throughout the duration of the contract. So I have compiled a generic list of common causes of failure that I have encountered that I keep my eye out for !, They are :
  • End user stakeholders not involved throughout the project. (My biggest Gripe !)
  • Minimal or no stakeholder backing; lack of ownership.
  • Weak business case.
  • Plan asks for too much in too little time.
  • Poor estimates, especially financial.
  • Unclear stakeholder requirements.
  • Passive user stakeholder involvement after hand-off.
  • Unclear expectations.
  • Assumptions, if they exist at all, are unrealistic.
  • Plans are based upon insufficient data.
  • No systematization of the planning process.
  • Inadequate or incomplete requirements.
  • Lack of resources.
  • Assigned resources lack experience.
  • Staffing requirements are not fully known.
  • Constantly changing resources.
  • Poor overall project planning.
  • Missed deadlines and no recovery plan.
  • Budgets are exceeded and out of control.
  • Lack of re-planning on a regular basis.
  • Lack of attention provided to the human and organizational aspects of the project.
  • Project estimates are best guesses and not based upon history or standards.
  • Not enough time provided for proper estimating.
  • No one knows the exact major milestone dates or due dates for reporting.
  • Team members working with conflicting requirements.
  • People are shuffled in and out of the project with little regard for the schedule.
  • Each stakeholder uses different tools, which be incompatible with the tools of project partners.
  • Weak project and stakeholder communications
  • Poor assessment of risks if done at all.
  • Wrong type of contract.
  • Poor project management; team members possess a poor understanding of project management, especially virtual team members.
  • Technical objectives are more important than business objectives.
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