Success factors for successful completed projects are extensive but Pinto and Kharbanda have listed and described twelve things to do in project management to definitely ruin a project. The list is outlined below in a short form to give an overview of how to fail project management. By demonstrating former failure experiences the messages give issues to heavily consider and have in mind when practicing project management. Since project management principles are getting commonly performed in a wide area of getting work done the right practice is necessary. However, risk for project failure will always be present. It is not only due to the project itself but depend as well on the organization it is done within – a topic some of their advices deal with. Nevertheless, previous failure in projects must not block for future projects of its kind. Development only occur with ambitious projects, though, most important is that experience and learning outcomes have to be drawn from former project failure to improve future projects.
- Ignore the project environment (including stakeholders): They have influence on project launch and development. It hinders organizational development. Stakeholders have prevailing power on aiding or thwarting a project’s successful development. In case of just slight disharmony -> take time to reassess reasons and take corrective action. Understand stakeholders’ concerns or make adjustments.
- Push a new technology to market too quickly: If the performance isn’t positive or good enough then it is not worth to launch it. There has to be a good balance between being first to market and performance. First on market is desirable but if pretesting isn’t adequate it leads to failure/disaster. “Don’t push it to rapidly on the market, there an option It is a threat to the society.
- Don’t bother building in fallback options: True test of successful project managers is their ability to be flexible and show capacity of respond to occurred problems. Ask “what if” to search out problems instead of just waiting for them to occur. Research does show that project managers who actively engage with possible scenarios and subsequently respond to them are the most successful. Lack of adequate troubleshooting doesn’t make a pm successful opportunity searching and ability to continue the project do!
- When problems occur, shoot the one most visible: There is a tendency that project managers and other decision making people get fired when huge problems occur. Except for incompetence or misbehavior is the case this is definitely in line with unsuccessful projects. Go for the problem not the blame. The mistake consists of the fact that new people in charge have to learn the project and progression won’t continue rapidly as possible. PM who always look over their shoulders afraid of being punished can’t perform at their optimal best leading to less successful project. Punishing or sacking are counterproductive means and don’t solve the problem.
- Let new ideas starve to death from inertia: While a corporation or an organization obtained a development of a product that can possibly improve its market share then don’t wait too long to launch it due to risk reasons and desirable short term huge profits.
- Don’t bother conducting feasibility studies: To prevent time waste in projects the ready, aim, fire approach is a worthy tool. Do up-front assessment by checking if there are harmful side-effects, customer and stakeholder concerns. To assess whether a project is feasible or not is important to avoid unexpected financial debts and time waste by creating a project that doesn’t work the intended way. Planning then execution typifies effective companies and successful projects.
- Never admit a project is a failure: Always admit when a project can no longer succeed. Continuance of throwing money into the project won’t necessary help the project come on track again. It is difficult to decide because everybody involved have an ego and a desire to complete the project. However, when a project doesn’t proceed as expected with poor performance, escalating and sliding schedules analysis of how the project ended there and the possible opportunities to the particular issue has to be conducted to justify more financial and human resources can be thrown into the project.
- Overmanage project managers and their teams: With bigger corporations, companies and research projects follow often bureaucracy and considerable administration. It is possible to succeed with good projects in large corporations but often innovation is limited due to extensive reviews and modification in the higher organization levels. The message is that companies have to hand over decision making to project managers at lower levels and go for less internal steps, reviewing and checking – the lean and mean management is, though, breaking through so the right steps are taken.
- Never, never conduct post-failure reviews: Human beings has the naturally psychological habit of denying own mistakes and convince themselves that external conditions cause failure. However, the best ever choice is to go through a failed project to uncover where it went wrong. According to Pinto and Kharbanda there is an example of a project director engaging deeply with project failures that became able of digging up problems before any others were of it in his organization.
- Never bother to understand project trade-offs: Difficult decisions are an inherent part of project management. An extended schedule to increase outcome quality does obviously good but the project manager has to familiarize whether it impacts budget or not. The project manager essentially will have to understand these trade-offs to make right decisions.
- Allow political expediency and infighting to dictate crucial project decisions: Shortly, companies comprise several departments with different purposes. When responsibility is moved from one department to another or to a new extern resource or strategic focus in the organization is changed – the respective department losing resources, power and status acts personally to maintain power. The new political environment, that isn’t for the company’s interests, works counterproductive to project development and innovation.
- Make sure the project is run by a weak leader: It says it all by itself. Even though leaders have many varying traits the good leaders aren’t weak. Since the project manager has the responsibility for all parts in the project are heading to the right direction. It is no wonder that an invisible and weak project manager will make the project counterproductive.
Obviously, success factors in project management can’t just be a list of twelve factors because project management is a complex way of completing complex work. The above factors work as guidelines for project management and show most common mistakes in project management. Following the advices and ideas in Pinto and Kharbanda list don’t prevent project disaster or failure but helps considerably to be on the right track.
A number of the factors apply to the organization or corporation within a particular project is carried out. So, issues within the organization regarding project failure can’t be directly assigned to the project manager or project management team. When it comes to political issues, bureaucracy and so forth it is likely that heads of the organization take action to turn the corporation into a project friendly and innovative environment. Project managers can surely outline problems within the organization to the overarching management team but the general message is that a project manager can’t directly impact and be responsible regarding some of the success factors.
Pinto’s and Kharbanda’s article comes up with principles to follow if ruining of projects is the purpose and explain why to do the opposite of the twelve factors in project management. Their paper engages comprehensively more with the twelve factors and I many cases they give examples of poor project management. Further reading of their article gives a deeper insight into their conclusions and advices than what is mentioned in this article.