In today’s world, technology and the solutions it provides are ever evolving, and with that there are always changes and concerns that need to be addressed in order to make the most of your resources and tools. Recognizing why projects might fail is important knowledge to avoid these 10 common project risks, these reasons were highlighted in a recent study by the Standish Group. First things first, A lack of User Input. The user has a valuable insight, and their feedback can provide you with a perspective you may not have considered. How the product is used, and by whom, where and why, these are the questions that your users can answer. All you have to do is ask, this will mitigate user adoption issues at deployment. The next reason projects can fail is due to incomplete requirements. Requirements are there to help you guarantee that your product performs at its absolute best with optimal conditions. Good requirements will result in a good solution design.
This is followed by changing requirements. One of the best practices is to stay on top of the ever changing needs and requirements for products and services. Keeping an eye on these can prevent further issues down the line such as costly change orders (e.g. scope creep). Another common issue that can lead to project failure is lack of executive direction and support. Executives understand the strategic direction of their organization, as well as the steps that need to be taken to accomplish the goals in between. Active participation, not delegation, is necessary. As an executive you know your business, you know its needs, and your insights are a valuable part of the process. Enterprise software implementation always involves strategic decisions along the way. Executives should be attached and engaged in decision making. Technology Incompetence may also lead to an unsuccessful project, due to the simple fact that, you cannot truly perform the task required with the wrong tool. Choose the right tool for the job and put it in the hands of the right team.
Looking towards another major reason many projects may not come to fruition, Lack of Resources. Preparation is key, and allocating the right resources for the project should be one of the very first steps in your project management strategy. With insufficient resources, especially staff resources, you paint yourself into a corner and are unable to execute the project properly if at all. Tying directly to the previous point, as well as the lack of executive direction and support, is Unrealistic Expectations. Quite simply, without the proper resources or executive guidance you will have to manage your expectations. Expectations tie directly into timelines, budget and objectives; properly discussing and setting realistic achievable deliverables with your team will foster a potentially successful project!
To the point of deliverables, Unclear Objectives are also common factors that prevent you from completing a project. This can be solved through strong management and reasonable expectations as mentioned above. Clear project objectives will drive an informed solution design. To further these three previous points and factors, Unrealistic Time Frames can really hinder the quality of work that is being done, thus affecting the possibility of success. There will come a time when the deadline for a task or project simply cannot be met, due in large part to a lack of communication in the planning stages.
Half of these issues can be mitigated or prevented long before a project begins by undergoing a diagnostic (or pre-project assessment). The balance of them can be mitigated by using good project rigour and methodology. Taking a look at an upcoming project with your team prior to the proposed start date can keep the aforementioned problems at bay so that the focus and effort can be directed towards achieving goals and a successful software implementation.