Last week I talked about my #1 reason for project failure – inadequate requirements.
Project managers should be very careful of taking on a project that has not been properly scoped out and designed with all stakeholders having been consulted and a part of the design process.
But even with such a solid foundation, projects can still fail.
My #2 reason for project failure is the lack of a proper change management process.
Some project managers will think that they can avoid change. Some will mistakenly think that their projects won’t experience change. They are all wrong. Things change. We all know that.
Changes during the project lifecycle that are mishandled or simply ignored will cause project failure most of the time. Project managers in all project management environments must have a well-established change management process in hand to deal with these inevitable occasions.
Hopefully a good project manager will be able to anticipate potential areas of change or even key people who will probably start changing everything in mid-stream. But even with all the pre-work and the requirements analysis, modelling and user sign-offs, something, if not many things, are going to change.
The key is not what will change but rather how are you going to manage it when it happens?
Let’s start with the usual panic, anger, head-hunting, blame laying and more. None of this will work in your favour and in fact will probably find you a door… out.
Instead, the great project managers will go into a project with questions like these pre-answered:
- what happens when something changes?
- who needs to know?
- what will we be documenting, how and where?
- What is the communication plan around change?
Having a process that we can turn to when something changes will ensure that this key reason for project failure will be listed in the post mortem as a slight hiccup that was handled well, allowing the project to move forward to a successful completion.
Next week…. #3 – Egos!!
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