Why do Projects Fail?

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Why do Projects Fail?
Edward, Member, Other, United Arab Emirates

Solution of Project Failure.


Project failures have become a common term that every project manager or business executive wants to separate themselves from. We tend to point the finger at one reason or the other being the cause of the failure. No one wants to take responsibility for the failure as it may tarnish their performance records. Would it? If it did, then most project managers and other managers would be in the hot seat for bad performance. As a matter of fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a project manager who has not had their fair share of project failures.
A study was recently done by the Standish Group 2015 Chaos report (based on the criteria of on time, on budget with a satisfactory result for 50,000 projects around the world, ranging from tiny enhancements to massive systems re-engineering implementation) indicated that only 29% of all projects were successful, 52% were challenged, and 19% failed1. It is important to note that smaller and moderate sized projects, as well as those that took an agile approach, had a higher rate of success. Larger projects, on the other hand, had a very high rate of failure.
These numbers are quite scary and beg the question: what is causing all these project failures? And why is it that project organizations just can’t seem to get their arms around these failures and improve results? Is the problem tied to projects by nature? Or do PMs and their organizations have something to do with the outcome?
To answer the above question, we need to first understand what project failure is, then what contributes to project success or failure, and finally how we can attempt to eliminate or reduce project failure and increase the level of success.

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