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How to Fail a Project

79 replies [Last post]
Christian Adrian ...
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To all

Why do projects fail? It’s no myth to all those who have been involved in the their respective industry, however, just for the sake of discussion, can you cite an example as to what reasons and/or factors that contribute to its failure based on your experience?

Replies

Zq qz
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AGREE WITH YOU OLIVER............

with minor modification....

......An good planner spends 10% of his time on the computer and the other 90% correctly translating the responses of others.
Oliver Melling
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Mark,

Physical PC doesn’t tell how far you are through the job, it tells you how much of the required effort has been expended.

Duration PC tells you how far through the job you are. (i.e duration)

To argue about which is best is pointless.
Each type has its place, duration is good for linear activities such painting a wall and physical is good for other things, such as activities that may require more effort upfront but cannot be claimed as finished until a small thing is done at the end of the duration.

The important thing is that the planner understands what percentage the workforce are telling him/her.

I have tried to explain the difference to engineers, but they just look at me all weird and sheepish.

An good planner spends 30% of his time on the computer and the other 70% correctly translating the responses of others.

Oliver
Dennis Hanks
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Mark;

I agree that once the po is issued there is a significant loss in direct access to information. At that point, expediting and progress pay (a form of EV) have to suffice.

EV evolved because personal evaluations were flawed - too subjective. Most design/construction people are optimistic - tomorrow will always be better, we will work harder. the info/eqpt. will arrive, the approvals/dwgs are on their way. If you can easily determine the state of progress, you do not need EV. A walk around the job site or design floor will tell you all that you need to know. The design lead or superintendant knows more about his work than anyone else, but he has to contend with self-interest and optimism. EV attempts to remove both.

In this example the durations are so short as to be easily verifiable, but what do you use when they are not (rhetorical)?

You are right, there is "no one-size fits all." But, inadequate measurement/control robs the PM of reaction time. The time to address problems while they are small and manageable. I think EV, in all its variants, helps to provide the required insight - early warning, if you will, that subjective progress measurement does not.
Oliver Melling
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To any new members reading this thread,

Charlie (Sensei) is not a successful PM consultant.

He isn’t even a successfull data entry clerk.
Mark Chapman
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There are a few blinkered people on here. Firstly, we are here to learn from others. What is right for some may not be right for others. For instance, I have found EV for procurement unreliable and therefore misleading as the information flow was unreliable and often non-existant and mainly out of our hands but for others the results could be good.

Going to the Physical % complete discussion. If you are 20% physical complete but with 5 remaining days left; Which is correct? Answer the one which is most accurate and only you can decide this. With Uly’s example it’s possible they had difficulties at the beginning due to inexperience or setting up time and although the jobs is only physically 20% complete they feel there are only 5 days remaining!

Now physically PC is best for EV or when it’s the only way to determine how far you are through the job. I always ask the team leader when will they finish. They have the experience and may use PPC to come up with the end date. I will question him if I feel the estimate is questionable.
Rodel Marasigan
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Uly,

I totally disagree with you. Play with your P5/ P6 and using combination that I just mentioned and you will find that durations, remaining duration and At complete are both updatable. There’s a lot of combination that you can used to automate update on other related fields.

For your more accurate information please refer to your PM Reference Manual.

To have a clearer view of the arguments based on your cited example regarding Painting.
Qty = 100SM, OD = 10 day = 80hrs = 8 hrs/day
Actual Progress = 40hrs, 20SM

As a experience planner, after the progress update is done which of the following are the proper presentation of the schedule update and why?

a)     % Physical = 20%, OD = 10 day, Remaining Duration = 5 days, At completion = 10days,Budget Units = 80hrs, Actual Units = 40hrs, Remaining Units = 40hrs, At completion units = 80hrs
b)     % Duration = 50%, OD = 10days, Remaining Duration = 5 days, At completion = 10days, Budget Units = 80hrs, Actual Units = 40hrs, Remaining Units = 40hrs, At completion units = 80hrs
c)     % Duration = 20%, OD = 25days, Remaining Duration = 20 days, At completion = 25days, Budget Units = 80hrs, Actual Units = 40hrs, Remaining Units = 160hrs, At completion units = 200hrs
d)     None of the above


Charles,

Thanks for your concerned but emotion is not involved on this issue. One of my trainie raised this question that where I explained the logic and uses of % duration type and its importance on the schedule.

Regards,
Rodel
Charleston-Joseph...
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HI guys,

Kabayan (Countryman)

Please Please we will not get emotional about this.

It is very easy to faila project.

I think it is better to understand

WHY PROJECT FAIL?????

I’ll start a thread to break whatever????

Cheers,
Sensei
Successful Project Managemnent Consultant
ulysses garcia
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Rodel,

Your statement:
Ex: Duration Type = Fixed Duration and Units combined with Duration % complete type.
These setting synchronise the remaining durations to % Duration Type and actual units which allow the user/ planner have an automatic update on the % duration field and Actual unit field when remaining duration change.

You mean in P3.I agree, that’s it becuase P3 tool is not so refined and not completely developed, unlike the P5 or the new release P6 .

In P5, when your % complete set-up is in duration ,you cannot enter datas in both variable ( % and Dur.) . Possible only to Physical % .
Uly
ulysses garcia
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Hi rodel,

Using % duration type is stupid”---Don’t absorb it seriously...it is a subjective issue , remains controversial...
uly
Rodel Marasigan
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Uly,

Thanks for the response but you’re not answering the questions arise from your statements.

“Using % duration type is stupid”

I agree with you that Design and Engineering can be measured as “AGREED” by physical weighted percentage but not quite correct because the basis of measurement are still durations by months, weeks, days or hours as used for budgeting. Drawings can be measured by quantities but specification, data analysis, approval and major design activities are measured by duration. For example Management and Staffs is duration base which used when preparing a bid or estimate for budgeting same for equipment and small tools etc…. Those are present within the duration of the project which normally estimate by month, days or hour and or durations.

A good example is a planner for the project: How do you measure the planner within the duration of a project? Can they be measured as “Agreed stages/ parameter” or Physical progress?

Again as for your example for painting works: As an experience planner or should I say as qualified planner, it is their responsibility to update the remaining durations to reflect the actual progress and each trend/ productivity to have a correct duration progress and not just entering 50% duration complete on the % duration field. Planner responsibility is to reflect the correct estimated remaining duration based on the current trend/ productivity of the task.

Karim state exactly the point that we are trying to portray where % complete type are only progress indicator and planner have options to use defending on the case to case basis or available information when the baseline schedule was done. Again it is not a perfect science and one of the major responsibilities of a planner is to reflect the actual scenario and update as required to envisage a correct status of the project.

For my understanding the selection of % complete type or progress indicator options on the planning tools like primavera is for planners comfort specially when combining with the correct Duration type and synchronisation of related fields when updating the progress.

Ex: Duration Type = Fixed Duration and Units combined with Duration % complete type.
These setting synchronise the remaining durations to % Duration Type and actual units which allow the user/ planner have an automatic update on the % duration field and Actual unit field when remaining duration change.

Open for suggestion, comment…
Rodel
ulysses garcia
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Hi Rodel,

Rodel said : Design, Engineering, Management and Staff are measurable of course by durations or like what I mention earlier, hours can be used if details are required.

I opposed this statement..

Take note in Design and Engineering, can also be measured by physical or in terms of quantity. like; conceptual design stage , drawings, submittals , approvals, revisions and etc. The only thing is to agreed by all concern as to what physical % at certain stages of work accomplished in a certain time. ex. drawings . civil complete=20%, archi complete=30% …etc. this can be measures in physical as agreed.

In duration type of measures, as what I said to my earlier post can be subjected to abused, let us look to this example.. a drawing task has already consumes 50% of the total ManHour, whereas, the actual work being perform in physical is only 20% ,

Rodel said: Equipments are also track by hours or durations but not physical.

Again ,I opposed this statement.

Equipment and Manpower resources are similar but not in terms of productivity, this is “self explanatory”, in my previous simple example a 100 sq.m. painting works , say an equipment paint consumes 50% duration , whereas the physical % is only 20% . this again mis-leads you.

You made mentioned also about accepting the default in software. In P3 autocost rule either you link or unlink the rule no 1 the input of variables are the same.. not like in P5 , P6
Karim Mounir
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Hi all,

Progress % complete whether units, duration or physical are just indicators.
Assessing progress can be done used more than 1 method, ie. cost, activity duration, manhours, physical quantities, ..

Adapting any method in the assessment of your project progress will not lead to a project failure, the most important thing from my POV is to use a method which is:
1- Logical.
2- Can be derived using the data you have at the beginning of the project.
You should also adapt this method till the completion of the project.

Regards,
Karim
Rodel Marasigan
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Uly,

I’m looking forward for your comment and hoping for your fruitful endeavour that may enlighten us and learned more about planning technique that we might be missing.

Dennis,

Sorry if you misunderstood my statement or the (meaning) intension of measurable item that I stated. It points to the Physical construction measurement like square meter, linear meter, cubic meter etc…

Design, Engineering, Management and Staff are measurable offcourse by durations or like what I mention earlier, hours can be used if details are required. There also production step that can be set as parameter of measurement like the example that you mentions. But all of these are normally measured by durations which has been estimated and submitted together with the bid defending on the type of contract where client and contractor are engage with.

Normally the contract have the organizational chart and staffing to know the budget intension for Management, Staff and Supervisor and their durations which is the one of the basis to use when required to claim for prolongation costs.

Also please note that CPM use duration for calculations. EOT using time measurement for claim and all planning tools are using durations for calculation but these are not the issue here.

The issue is the statement where : "using % duration type is stupid"

If the planner/ Scheduler undertand the logic and proper use of planning tool then what is the stupidity of using % duration type? Why all planning tools use durations as type of measurement?

Regards,
Rodel
Anoon Iimos
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In my opinion, the initial settings for a certain program / schedule has to be agreed before even trying to run that schedule. There are options to consider and the parties involved must evaluate on which option will best fit their requirements. Whether it is based on duration, cost, resource units, physical etc., as long as you got a measuring tool that was set-up and agreed that would give you a figure to report on...i think it’s fair. I don’t believe that accuracy of calculating percent progress lies only on one of the mentioned options.

Uly, how are you?
Se de Leon
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Hi Uly,

Where did you hear that a project failed because they used a flawed progress measurement? Was there a case wherein the planner was blamed for using duration as progress measurement? I think this is absurd.

I would not agree or disagree with anyone on the issue because for me, the topic of % complete is a very subjective issue. The progress measurement you’ve mentioned are just mere indicators, it’s not an exact science that’s why it’s pointless to argue which one makes sense or doesn’t makes sense. It only indicates for something. As long as you can defend your position to anyone questioning where you got your numbers, then you’ll be ok.

On top of the % indicators, making a report on Critical Path Analysis gives more sense to those managing the projects. Percentage for a number people are sometimes misleading and doesn’t really give a clear picture of where you are. It only indicates for something, unlike CPM delay analysis. Who cares if it’s 50% or 60%, what PM wants to know is if the the project is delayed or not. if delayed, what can be done to recover the delay. If the delay is unrecoverable, then this is an entirely different ball game.

IMHO,
Se
Dennis Hanks
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Rodel;

The two examples you site - design and procurement, lend themselves quite easily to earned value. Both have deliverables - drawings and purchase orders. Both have measurable steps - start, review, issue for approval, incorporate vendor data, isssue for construction, as-built (not recommended); material requisition, rfq, bid tabs, issue po. Each step can be assigned a value in hours. As each step is accomplished those hours are measured against hours expended. The step can earn partial credit up to the amount budgeted for the step - no more.

I harp on this because we are brought back to why projects fail. With inadequate information (project controls), the project manager is unable to respond quickly to a worsening situation. Without data he is blind. Blind men cannot lead.

Elasped time is no measurement. If you cannot measure an item, you cannot control it. You make no attempt to control level of effort functions (project management, for example) because they generally have little impact on the outcome of the project. Controllable items do.
ulysses garcia
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Hi Rodel,
Your statements are totally flawed, and absolutely wrong. I would proved it for sometime, im quite busy rigthnow...
uly..




Rodel Marasigan
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Hi uly,

Sorry you’re not striking anything. I just want to correct your wrong statement for the sake of new planners. In addition regarding to your example, If you are an expert/ experience planner you should update your remaining duration based on the trend to have a correct duration percent complete and not just accepting the default and having a 50% duration complete because from the example given, 5days remaining durations (40Hrs) are not possible to complete the task.

Rodel
Mehdi Rashidi Ala...
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Hi,
I think any company must go through as idealized theory meets practical reality. And yet, even with the problems these companies experience, there is a load of valuable information to be learned, particularly when it comes to understanding the nature of such failures.
ulysses garcia
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Hi Rodel ,
Maybe i have striked your ego. i would answer you then, im just busy right now.
It’s a very interesting conversation,anyway..
Uly
Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Ulysses,

I totally disagree with your comments and I would say it is misleading. I suggest that you should think twice before making a statement.

Not all task or activities are measurable by physical progress and that is why the planning tools like primavera are designed to have this option for planner to decide the best option to use when creating a schedule. Majority of the planner/ scheduler are programming their schedule based on the available information during the process and corrected as the detail reliable data/ source became visible.

Good examples of duration activities are design stages. Design is normally track and measure by duration and not by quantities. Sometime it is measured by hours if details are required. Another good example are indirect labour such us management and staff. Again those are measured by durations and not physical quantities. Equipments are also track by hours or durations but not physical.

Units or hours are also a good tool of monitoring progress. It is more meaningful and useful by converting physical progress quantities into man-hour per unit of measure which is a good tool when using earned value management. From this you can measure the productivity factor of each activity against the budget.

Physical are very good only for all measurable task and having a productivity steps to weight each steps for much more accurate progress.

Looking forward on your opinion…
Rodel
ulysses garcia
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Hi Adrian,

The concept of using % duration has remained a nightmare.

Take this simple example;
Suppose you have a task of 100 sq.m. painting work, then let us say 80 MH to complete the job,in 1 painter @ 8 hr/day = 10 days to complete.

Then, assuming you have consumed 40MH , which is equal to 5 days . You then say the duration % complete is 50 % do you agree?. OK

Whereas, the actual % complete in Physical is only 20 sq.m which is 20% in physical status, then I would ask you. which one is the correct status of the project???.

In other words, we can say 100% complete duration = 40% physical, assuming the trend is constant.

Physical % is more accurate and convinient if based on performance index to earn value approach.

In fact, sad to say that in P3 some can manipulate and abuse the use of autocost rule that violates the true meaning of planning..

Uly




Christian Adrian ...
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Ulysses

based on you practice, could you further elaborate as to why the use of duration is a Stupid idea (just to enlighten the readers) and eventually become a cause for a project failure?

ulysses garcia
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Hi Anoon how are you ? someone feels falling...anongbalita dyan..

Anoon Iimos
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i’m sorry, this is really going to fail!
Johny Kesserwany
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Is there a way to stop receiving notification emails on this subject?

Dennis Hanks
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Ulysses;

Not sure I would agree that ’most’ planners use duration to status their project. In the process industry, we have been using some form of earned value since the early 1990s. Since then, EV has become pretty much the standard, I think.

Regardless, if your original schedule is flawed, no methodolgy will save it. It may make the flaw evident sooner, but unlikely to change the outcome.

I agree that percent complete based on the passage of time is ’stupid’ and extremely hazardous to the credibility of the project. It may well aggravate the problem, but IMHO is not an underlying cause. But then, I could be wrong.
ulysses garcia
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It fails; because planners failed to use the right unit of measurements.
What I want to say is , most planners use duration % complete , and keeps on sitting inside thier office until the duration consumes. Instead use % physical
This type of measurement(%duraton) has no-way in my practice , which I considered it Stupid....


James Barnes
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Yes, some fluff, I agree. I would post some pictures of kittens, but I’m not sure the tags are supported.

anyway, eventhough I’m new to PP I rekon Charlie’s attitude toward himself is fairly transparent. I’m personally always wary of such circumstances so I’m good, ta. Perhaps being old has something to do with that though :P

I cried when they shot old Bessie...
Jerome Atkin
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A farmer named Clyde had a car accident. In court, the
trucking company’s fancy lawyer was questioning Clyde.

Didn’t you say, at the scene of the accident, ’I’m fine,?"
asked the lawyer.

Clyde responded, "Well, I’ll tell you what happened. I had
just loaded my favourite mule, Bessie, into the..."

"I didn’t ask for any details", the lawyer interrupted. "Just
answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ’I’m
fine!’?"

Clyde said, "Well, I had just got Bessie into the trailer and
I was driving down the road...."

The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to
establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the
Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after
the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please
tell him to simply answer the question."

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Clyde’s
answer and said to the lawyer, "I’d like to hear what he has to say about his
favourite mule Bessie".

Clyde thanked the Judge and proceeded. "Well as I was saying,
I had just loaded Bessie, my favourite mule, into the trailer and was
driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop
sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one
ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn’t
want to move.

However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew
she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the
scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After
he looked at her, and saw her fatal condition. He took out his gun and shot
her between the eyes.

Then the Patrolman came across the road, gun still in hand,
looked at me, and said, "How are you feeling?"

"Now what would you say?

Just thought i’d lift the mood in this room !!!!
Chris Oggham
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Charlie,

At the risk of repeating my earlier post, I really do suggest that you accept situations as they are and not how you would like them to be.

As I stated previously, I don’t hate you; I think that you are rather silly and immature with an overinflated opinion of your own abilities and intelligence and an apparently inexaustable supply of opinions which range from the mildly bizarre to downright insane.

You can be an irritant in the same way as a stone in the shoe, but people don’t hate the stone, and people don’t hate you, so do us all a favour Charlie - grow up.

Chris Oggham
Charleston-Joseph...
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CHIS,

YOU MEAN YOU LOVE ME???

YOU BECOME A HOMO

as in Homo Sapien,

I CANT BELIEVE IT.

Chris Oggham
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Charlie,

Sorry to disillusion you, but I don’t hate you, but what I do find unacceptable are your attempts to pass yourself off as something you are not. As Oliver pointed out, this could be misleading for people who are new to Planning Planet.

I really do suggest that you accept situations as they are and not how you would like them to be.

Chris Oggham
Oliver Melling
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Charlie,

I only post such replies because I fear that some of the people that are new to PPlanet might mistakenly think you know what you’re talking about.
ulysses garcia
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IT NOW STARTS OF HAVING WAR ...MY GOODNESS
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hi Karim,

Thank You.

You save lots of soul.

TO Chris and to some extent to Oliver,

Your hatred to me only show your level.

I dont have to waste my time with your post.

Also please don’t waste your time with my post.

It is not for both of you anyway.

This draw the line.

Cheers,

Sensei.
Karim Mounir
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Sensei’s definition:

Sensei (先生, Sensei?) is a Japanese title used to refer to or address teachers, professionals such as doctors and lawyers, politicians, clergymen, and other authority figures. It is also used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill: accomplished novelists, musicians, and artists are addressed with the title in this way; for example, Japanese manga fans refer to manga artist Osamu Tezuka as "Tezuka-sensei." Sensei is also one of the common Japanese martial arts titles.

The Japanese expression sensei shares the same characters as the Chinese word, pronounced xiānsheng in Mandarin. Xiansheng is a courtesy title for a man of respected stature; its English equivalent is gentleman, or more commonly,– mister. It can also be attached to a man’s name to mean "Mr." Prior to the development of the modern vernacular, Xiansheng was used to address teachers of both genders; this has fallen out of usage in Standard Mandarin, though it is retained in some southern Chinese dialects such as Hokkien and Hakka where it still has the meaning "teacher" or "doctor". In Japanese, sensei is still used to address people of both genders. It is likely both the current Southern Chinese and Japanese usages are more reflective of its Middle Chinese etymology.


Uses in English

Sensei has also come to be used in English outside martial-arts and other similarly cultural contexts. In business and industry, sensei is often used to refer to an outside, third-party expert who coaches or advises on operational and organizational excellence. In particular, James Womack’s book Lean Thinking advises companies to seek out a "lean sensei" who can provide expert coaching on how to achieve organizational effectiveness. Lean sensei has since become a common for describing an expert who can provide advise on operational and organizational strategy.


Wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensei
Chris Oggham
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Hi Oliver,

I couldn’t agree more. This time, though, I think it could be a little more serious, Charlie has taken to calling himself Sensei (when he spells it right) Sensie (when he doesn’t).

I could say unkind things like he’s delusional, believing he has abilities that he clearly doesn’t, but somehow I can’t. I get this picture of Charlie instructing his project team to call him "Sensei" and I imagine the reaction of a team of British brickies and I fall about laughing. They’d call him something alright, but it wouldn’t be Sensei - I wonder if Planning Planet could offer a prize for the most imaginative suggestion?

Chris Oggham
Oliver Melling
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Typical Charlie, talks out of his @rse.
Chris Oggham
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Typical Charlie, can’t answer a straight question.
Charleston-Joseph...
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Chris,

Learn a little oriental language and....

You know the answer

Cheers,

Sensei
Chris Oggham
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Three interesting posts; but what happened to Charlie/Joseph and who is Sensie/Sensei?

Chris Oggham
Charleston-Joseph...
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do not hire the engineer to run the project,

instead,

give it to the housewives, labourer,

Downgrade the project manager to foreman

Assing ehem, ehem, ehem, etc. from planning planet to to run the project

Cheers,

Sensei
Charleston-Joseph...
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F..K around with the client
Charleston-Joseph...
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What is project?

What are the fundmental of project?

The traditional way for measuring project success

Project completed within budget, within quality and within schedule is considered project success.

How to fail????

BLOW THE BUDGET TO THE SKY by adding unreasonable variation orders.

DO NOT PREPARE BASELINE SCHEDULE in Primavera P3, the 12 months project schedule will extent to 5 years

DO NOT SEND THE QA/QC guys/gal to the site. Bribe them, intoxicate them with alcohol, give them lot of girls/lady/woman to play around at site office, organize a gmabling den at project site.

Best ingredient to fail a project.

Cheers,

Sensie
Hazem Rady
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there is a say
" YOU FAIL TO PLAN YOU PLAN TO FAIL "
that’s simple
Vamsi Kolliboina
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On a different level, I would list out three major reasons

1.Wrong People
2.Wrong Place
3.Wrong Customer

Cheers,
Vamsi
David Smith
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Plan for a year or more!

Not work your plan!

Your Project Will Be!!

Unsafe
Late
Over Budget

You will have to get everyone to buy into the plan. Show them why they need a plan. This is one way to Fail a Project! You would be suprised how many time I get asked why do I need a plan, I been doing this for 20 years.

Thanks Rodel, for reminding me of the basic reasons for planning.

Rodel Marasigan wrote: Ref: Project Management - A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Eighth Edition

There are four basic reasons for project planning:
 To eliminate or reduce uncertainty
 To improve efficiency of the operation
 To obtain a better understanding of the objectives
 To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work
Rodel Marasigan
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Ref: Project Management - A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Eighth Edition

There are four basic reasons for project planning:
 To eliminate or reduce uncertainty
 To improve efficiency of the operation
 To obtain a better understanding of the objectives
 To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work
ulysses garcia
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Rodel,
In your list, not even a seasoned planners could follow those rules,
So what is the use to have planners? NOTHING!!, CONSIDERED AS FUTILE.
Rodel Marasigan
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Ref: "Project Management - A System Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Eight Edition.(Section 11 - Planning)"

"11.15 WHY DO PLANS FAIL?"
No matter how hard we try, planning is not perfect, and sometimes plans fail. Typical reasons include:
 Corporate goals are not understood at the lower organizational levels.
 Plans encompass too much in too little time.
 Financial estimates are poor.
 Plans are based on insufficient data.
 No attempt is being made to systematize the planning process.
 Planning is performed by a planning group.
 No one knows the ultimate objective.
 No one knows the staffing requirements.
 No one knows the major milestone dates, including written reports.
 Project estimates are best guesses, and are not based on standards or history.
 Not enough time has been given for proper estimating.
 No one has bothered to see if there will be personnel available with the necessary skills.
 People are not working toward the same specifications.
 People are consistently shuffled in and out of the project with little regard for schedule.

Anoon Iimos
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for me, it all rest back to decisions; if the desicion maker decided to use a bad plan, then the project fails; otherwise it won’t
ulysses garcia
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Project fails , if the owner gives you the unrealistic completion date.

Take this case, A project is suppose to finish one year duration , then the owner will tell you, I need it to complete it within one month.

I would ask you , can you do it?

Even, you allocate thousands of battalion resources , this won’t work, if it has space constraint.

this is just a simple example...
Sure ,all got what i mean.....
Johny Kesserwany
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Christian Adrian ...
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As most of the reasons/factors for delay are the same, can we rank it as to which one is the least and the most? For me the most is too much politics.. :-)

Devamalya De
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Adding to what I had said, Cost Overruns possible due to Scheudule Overruns in the form of very high IDC (Interest During Construction).

Devamalya De
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Dear All,

Are we broadly in unison as regards once thing that NPV <0 or IRR(Actual) « IRR (Projected) necessarily implies project has failed?

If that is so, then Cash Outflows has necessarily far outstripped Cash Inflows.

Cash Outflows can be phenomenal if project has suffered Cost Overruns and Schedule Overruns.

Schedule Overruns possible if :

a. Delay owing to wanting of Statutory Approvals, Design Changes or Held-Ups, Insufficient Good for Construction Drawings in time, delay in payments (Consultant, Contractor etc).

b. Insufficient resources: equipment, manpower, materials. Can be due to improper lead time management.

c. Acts of God holding up project progress.

Project Management fallouts not considered since this is self-correcting in most cases.


Cost Overruns possible if:

a. Change in scope, variation, legislative changes, unbudgeted expenses (improper budget)

b. Project rendered operationally unproductive (exorbitant operational & maintenance cost)


Now, low Cash Inflows possible if:

a. Significant shift in target market due to change in demography, change in taste

b. Cheaper, better alternative(s) available in the market owing to technology shift


I have noted the maximum points I could generally visualize. Any more from your end would be most welcome.

Thanks and Regards,
Dev


Johny Kesserwany
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Oliver Melling
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After 20 ish replies on metrics, i think we can now move onto the threads actual question.
Devamalya De
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Dear Oliver,

I had specifically noted let us first note in the first posting to this thread that let us first note the metrics or measurable parameters or identifiable signs for a project tending towards failure or failed. We can go into the specifics later.

I have not downloaded the information. I have only taken the liberty to extrapolate the ratios which we normally use to monitor the performance of our projects.
Oliver Melling
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The threads asks why do projects fail.

A schedule variance just indicates that you are late, it doesn’t explain why.

Low productivity tells you that staff aren’t producing to the level of effort budgeted in the baseline, but it doesn’t explain why.

A bad planner can tell you there is a delay.

An average planner can tell you the reason for a delay.

A good planner would know the reason for the delay and would suggest a course of action.
Oliver Melling
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The threads asks why do projects fail.

A schedule variance just indicates that you are late, it doesn’t explain why.

Low productivity tells you that staff aren’t producing to the level of effort budgeted in the baseline, but it doesn’t explain why.

A bad planner can tell tou there is a delay.

An average planner can tell you the reason for a delay.

A good planner would know the reason for the delay and would suggest a course of action.
Jerome Atkin
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Where did you download that information from !!!
Devamalya De
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Plzzz note the corrections:

Metrics for project failure as follows:

1. Milestones Achievement Ratio (MAR) [Actual No. of Milestones achieved / Planned No. of Milestones Achievement] is consistently less than 0.70 (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

2. Schedule Variance (SV) [BCWP – BCWS] « 0 or < 0 ie., behind schedule consistently (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

3. Cost Variance (SV) [BCWP – ACWP]] « 0 or < 0 ie., overrun by more than 33% and the because of the overrun the project shall never have an NPV > 0 and / or IRR (Actual) shall be sufficiently less than IRR (projected).

4. Efficiency Ratio (ER) [Actual percent completion factor / Planned percent completion factor] is consistently less than 0.70 (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

5. Staff Productivity Ratio [Total Value of Work Done (including materials used in project) / Avg. no. of Engg. & Supervisors on site] is consistently less than USD 0.01 million (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up sufficiently to finish the project in the remaining 25% duration.

Machine Downtime Ratio etc. can further included as a metric.

Devamalya De
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Dear All,

Can we note the metrics for project failure as follows:

1. Milestones Achievement Ratio (MAR) [Actual No. of Milestones achieved / Planned No. of Milestones Achievement] is consistently less than 0.70 (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

2. Schedule Variance (SV) [BCWP – BCWS] « 0 or < 0 ie., behind schedule consistently for more than 0.70 (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

3. Cost Variance (SV) [BCWP – ACWP]] « 0 or < 0 ie., overrun by more than 33% and the because of the overrun the project shall never have an NPV > 0 and / or IRR (Actual) shall be sufficiently less than IRR (projected).

4. Efficiency Ratio (ER) [Actual percent completion factor / Planned percent completion factor] is consistently less than 0.70 (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up in the remaining 25% duration in spite of crashing the project.

5. Staff Productivity Ratio [Total Value of Work Done (including materials used in project) / Avg. no. of Engg. & Supervisors on site] is consistently less than USD 0.01 million (throughout 75% of the project duration) and can’t be made up sufficiently to finish the project in the remaining 25% duration.

Machine Downtime Ratio etc. can further included as a metric.

Please revert with your comments, suggestions, etc.
Armando Moriles
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sory, I mean Johny, not Jhonny...


Jerome Atkin
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Some very good comments,
But one missed which we see every day “Blame The Other Guy”
There are too many managers who do not take actions against idiots who can not do there job.
I have given up counting the actions which so many people let slip, "they did not have time" and "I forgot"; meanwhile the project is slipping as well.

Actions should be followed up promptly.
Blame should be added to the correct person.
Project Manager should cut off useless people from the project, send a message that if you do not do your job your out.
Armando Moriles
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Jhonny,

"Planning was performed by a planning group"

Maybe you should give them a break!!!


Regards,


Arman
Zq qz
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Remove one of the item in the equation:

Success = 4M+C

M1 : Material
M1 : Manpower
M1 : Machine
M1 : Method

and
C : Commitment

I’m sure your project fails.....
ashraf alawady
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-unproper and unsufficient design during design stage.
-selection for unsuitable contractorduring tender stage.
-during construction stage:-
-lack of resources.
-lack of professional staff.
- bad management.
-no proper following up.
- no actions.
- slow actions.
- physical obstructions.
-adversed climatic conditions.
Oliver Melling
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All,

As the metrics by which project success is measured constantly changes, how do you know when you’ve failed?

Environmental impact and socio-economic impact are now just as important as measures of success as cost and schedule.
Devamalya De
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Dear All,

Can we list down the specific metrics based on which we can say that a project has failed or is heading towards failure?

Rgds
Karim Mounir
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Hi,

Some basic terms:
1- Future value
2- Cost/Benefit ratio
3- Net present value
4- Feasibility studies
If misunderstood, can lead to project failure.

Regards,
Karim
Chris Oggham
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Hi Guys,

You seem to have covered quite a lot of ground already, but I don’t think anyone has mentioned projects which never should have been started int the first place. Usually these are a ’dream’ or an item on the wish list of a member or members of the Board of Directors.

These ’projects’ are usually not essential, frequently really bad ideas and sometimes downright disasters. It can be obvious, right from the start, that they are going to fail but because a member of the Board is pushing them, they get first call on resource. It’s not until a lot of money has been wasted that somebody with sufficient clout realises "Oops, we shouldn’t be doing this" and pulls the plug.

Chris Oggham
Johny Kesserwany
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No matter how hard we try, planning is not perfect, and sometimes plans fail.
Typical reasons why plans fail include:
Corporate goals are not understood at the lower organizational levels.
Plans encompass too much in too little time.
Financial estimates were poor.
Plans were based upon insufficient data.
Planning was performed by a planning group.
No one knows the ultimate objective.
No one knows the staffing requirement
No one knows the major milestone dates.
Project estimates are best guesses, and are not based upon standards or history.
Not enough time was given for proper estimating.
No one bothered to see if there would be personnel available with the necessary skills.
People are not working toward the same specifications.
People are consistently shuffled in and out of the project with little regard for schedule.
Andrew Dick
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Well this most certinly will be an interesting discussion thread to read indeed.

From my small amount of experience (6 years), the top ones are, in no particular order;

The management (PM’s, Resource managers, Maintenance managers, the whole lot of them), making rash decisions without considering the consequences.

The project team members doing extra work because they’re not fully across the scope of their work package.

The customer trying to slip in some extra scope, and the management allowing it so they appear to be helpful, and then the customer expecting this everytime. (and the management doing it everytime, then questioning why we’re 3 times over budget)

People thinking that planning is only a nice to have or worse still a hinderence to propper project management.

The fact that when you look at the mathematics in the schedule, 1 plus 1 will always equal 2 unles your the PM and then you want to make it equal ’E=MC2’, because that’s how fast you will have to work to recover the schedule because they weren’t familiar with the scope, specs, requirements or anything else to do with the project when they told the customer they could have the whole thing designed, built, installed & commissioned a week from Thursday just before lunch.

Then we could talk about lead times on equipment, and the PM that always asks why there is a lag of 6 months on ther logic between ordering and receiving the bits and pieces.

Then someone inevitably brings up the fact that we don’t have enough resources. Of course this is explained away by the fact that everyone always over estimates the jobs, so they put graduate engineers on the job and expect the design to get through on the first pass.

So as Dennis said in his post ’This should be a great discussion/rant’

So lets see what else we can list

Andy
Armando Moriles
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Hi Guys,

I haven’t participated in a project which really failed. Although there were major serious problems or issues encountered, but those were resolved along the way.

The following is my the top 4 issues that were causing serious threat to the project(s):

1. Engineering & Design Issues for Construction contract only;
2. Poor management of Major Changes Orders/Variations;
3. Flawed Estimates/Budgets (Denis).
4. ROW Acquisition (New Expressway Construction).

Some other factors that if not properly taken into account that would potentially influence the outcome of the project:

1. Supervisors or members of the project management team especially new members that are not familiar with the manpower and equipment norms of the company;
2. Availability of competent skilled workers suited for the project;
3. Improper & Insuffecient construction Equipment and Tools (i.e. Insuffecient Tower Crane Hours for High Rise Bldg. Construction);
4. Physical Working Conditions;
5. Access to Work;
6. Construction Programme incl. Resource Loading & Unaccounted interruptions;
7. Materials Coordination & Availability;
8. Communication;
9. Workers Labour Union.


Regards,

Arman
Dennis Hanks
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This should be a great discussion/rant.

For me, it has always been the project manager. Sure, there can be flawed estimates/budgets, unrealistic expectations, and foolish clients, poor communication, but the PM is ultimately responsible. He has to address those issues. It is his team, his project.
Hazem Rady
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there is another simple way to fail a project
GO TO SLEEP !!!