Friday 4 February 2022

Rules for avoiding project failure

Every year, thousands of projects are completed with budget overruns, missed deadlines and exceeding scale. However, every year, project managers rush to start projects without making an effort to define the project and plan its implementation. 


By not paying enough attention to these critical components, they actually fail their projects before they even begin. So how can project managers effectively execute a project plan while meeting deadlines and meeting all the expectations of senior management? 


Next, we will provide you with three simple but critical tips for any project manager that will help improve the results of his work.

1. Ensure that all participants and stakeholders are identified

Starting any project, it is very important to identify all possible participants and stakeholders, to understand their interests in relation to the project. Many projects fail when the project manager does not take into account that a certain group of people united by common interests (for example, unions, environmental groups, etc.) may postpone or stop the project. The project manager must represent all interests in defining the project. 


In many cases, project managers have a general concept of defining work according only to the project sponsor (i.e. the client) and do not adequately understand the needs of the target groups / users at each stage of the project. Remember that project participants are defined as an individual or organization that is actively involved in the project or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the implementation and completion of the project. A participant can also have an impact on the project and its components.

2. Define, describe, and validate the project preparation phase

Many projects fail due to poor definition. Mainly due to an incorrect assessment of the scale, which leads to a lack of resources, extension of deadlines and an increase in the budget to meet all needs. Because the plan displays the work, resources, budget, and time needed to meet the scale, it's very easy to notice the importance of understanding the definition and description of the project. It is also important to ensure agreement between all project participants before planning begins. Have participants review the draft project definition document and sign it before you proceed to the project planning phase. It is also worth ensuring that they understand that signing an agreement to the definition of the project means only its approval, and not that they will be able to ensure compliance with the scope, schedule or budget. In order to achieve the goal of the project, detailed planning "from A to Z" must be completed by experts in this environment who will carry out the project. Only by creating a detailed project plan can we ensure the reality and achievability of its definition.

With regard to assessing the scope of the project, it is necessary to identify the main components that meet the scale conditions. In addition to this, the team must define what is within the scope of the project and what is not included in the scope of each core component. This is a difficult way to turn implied expectations into clearer ones by documenting them in a project definition document.

There are seven main elements that should be included in the project definition:

  • Clear description of the business problem and its solution
  • Description of the benefits of completing the project (regarding business)
  • Summary (25-30 words) definition of project schedule, scope and budget
  • A list of all the major parts (which will eventually fully satisfy the scale of the project), including everything that goes in and anything that doesn't go into the scope of each one
  • A priority matrix that gathers the priorities of sponsors regarding the scale, schedule and budget parameters that define the project
  • Target customers for each package
  • Project dependencies (required dates and dependencies on other projects)


The above definition of components does not exclude other possibilities that may improve the understanding of projects, such as:

  • A schedule that includes milestones, which may include the provision of intermediate results to sponsors
  • Define a project impact that can indicate what is affected by the project

Strategic risks
Constraints (e.g. timetable, environmental conditions, political, cultural or technological aspects)

3. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Work breakdown is the basis of the project plan. This structure is a logical hierarchical structure that displays all the work required to provide intermediate project results. Using it, you organize and determine the overall scope of the entire project. Work that is outside of this structure goes beyond the scope of the project. The structure should be sufficiently detailed, so the owner will also be responsible for planning and managing each action at any level. By understanding the desired outcome of each action, having a clear criterion for completion, the owner of each action can successfully develop realistic and persistent budget and timing assumptions.


In order to get the right resources at the right time, project managers need to have a clear definition and project plan. An experienced manager is not a hindrance to the project – rather, on the contrary, he is a necessary element for the success of the project.

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