Thirty One Ingredients of Failed Projects

Failed projects have a lot in common.  Here are the things I most commonly find in failed projects, the lower the number the higher the impact:

31. Focusing on the mechanical part of planning (critical path calculations, the schedule model, etc)

30. Ignoring proper definition of “project success” and “project and product quality” by all involved

29. Making promises you cannot keep

28. Lying

27. Thinking you are smarter than everybody else

26. Dealing with the client as an inconvenience

25. Focusing on finishing the project (instead of providing value to the client)

24. Not reading every single project related document (especially business and high level technical)

23. Being oblivious to project developments

22. Disconnect between project manager and client

21. Disconnect between project manager and sponsor

20. Uncommitted client

19. Uncommitted sponsor

18. Uncommitted team

17. Trying to win popularity contests instead of holding everyone accountable

16. Ignoring subtle and not so subtle messages from stakeholders especially client

15. Avoiding the client and how satisfied they are of your work personally and the project

14. Getting stuck in busy work and ignoring big picture (like an ostrich sticking head in sand)

13. Being afraid to say no

12. Ignoring the contract and project documents

11. Rough attitude (thinking that by being cruel people will fear you and do what you want)

10. Soft attitude (unable or afraid to reprimand)

9. Hiding in your cubicle

8. Taking progress reports as accurate (without double checking)

7. Victim mentality, refusing to take responsibility for mistakes and errors

6. Blame game, blaming others and not standing up to your part

5. Hogging credit, and not giving credit to the team and other stakeholders.

4. Mistrust others

3. Assuming you can win alone, and let client and suppliers and team lose

2. Quitting early; assuming there is nothing you can do and letting the project go south

1. Fear of failure; you will never get anything meaningful done

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