When more of your company's projects fail than succeed, company policies or processes may be putting projects at risk.
It's not you. It's them.
If your company is consistently grappling with why your project failure rate is high, it's time to look inward to determine the root cause.
SEE: Project failure: 10 excuses your boss doesn't want to hear (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Here are three signs that company policies—not project managers—may be the problem.
1. Most of your project managers fail to deliver success
If you have multiple project managers leading your company's projects, yet most projects keep ending in disaster or with undesirable results, the project results may not be due to a lack of performance by multiple professionals. The common link is more likely something internal that is creating a roadblock or barrier to success. To get to the root cause, schedule time with all of your project managers to discuss where they encounter issues. Ask them to come prepared with documentation to support any and all issues that impact the ability to meet expectations.
2. Many projects suffer roadblocks tied to the same issues
When the same issues keep cropping up odds are it might be attributed to a process or policy that has been in place for a long time or a newly implemented process, depending on how long the issue has existed. This is another opportunity to gather facts from project managers and potential leaders from the functional areas where issues exist. Common issues should be a clue that one or more internal roadblocks are jeopardizing your projects.
After gathering facts relating to the identified problems, make sure to also identify and document the impact on each of the troubled or failed projects. This will help you quantify losses, wasted resources, and the overall impact to your organization.
It may be surprising to find that the impact does not end with just project failure rates. Internal policies and processes are likely negatively impacting other areas of the business operationally, vendors, customers, and your bottom line.
SEE: Vendor relationship management checklist (Tech Pro Research)
3. Your project managers complain about how things are done
Odds are if the same issues are raised often, your company's processes or policies aren't working as well as intended. Pay attention to the commonalities in complaints; these are a red flag that internal issues are putting your projects, resources, and company goals at risk. Projects will likely continue to fail or at least suffer.
There's a popular saying that, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." This holds true for companies that expect different and better results when they choose not to remove known roadblocks or change known issues impacting progress.
Remaining open to the possibility that project failure may be due to internal issues gives your company a chance to resolve problems, remove risk points, and turn project failures into successes. Make sure you're willing to see and accept your role in ensuring project managers and your company are set up for success.
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