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WHY PROJECT FAIL??????

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Charleston-Joseph...
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Why Project Fail????

Is it because of the guys setting next to you??

What is Fail, Failure

This is essential to know what is failure.

Dad, you are a failure.

Son, you failed me.

Boss, F>>k you, you fail me

Bu!lsh!!, it is not my fault. No nobody cooperated with me.

Typical message in Failure Environment.

Cheers,

Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant

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Gordon Blair
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I think possibly one of the reasons Project fails is that all of the Planners are in here navel gazing.

The outcome (less success / failure, more a sliding scale all the way from unmitigated disaster through to the dizzying heights of acceptable disappointment) should only really be judged as a lifecycle issue (many fine examples have been raised, from Oliver’s bridge through to the Nun’s scrum and beyond).
There are various frames of reference within this lifecycle which will give wildly varying answers depending on whose they are.
A contractor may feel a project is a success because he got paid and turned a tidy profit, but if the product doesn’t meet the Client’s need, or the requirements have since changed, the Project as a whole may be a failure.
A local hospital may be of great benefit to the local community, the PFI partner may be making a bucketload of cash, but the lifecycle costs to the taxpayer may push the business case into the realms of unmitigated disaster.


Perhaps a more appropriate question would be "Regardless of the wider picture, why were you not happy with the outcome of your projects, and what could have been done to make you happier without compromising the PRODUCT lifecycle?"


How’s that for navel gazing?
Alex Wong
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Charle,

Agree ! with the project management part

As for the project, being one of the seven man made wonder of the world, icon of Sydney and Australia. I believe the project is a success.

Regards

Alex
Mike Testro
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Hi All

Not many people outside Sydney know that the local name for their opera house is "The Nuns Scrum".

Lovely image.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Charleston-Joseph...
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Alex and to all,

The Sydney Opera house construction was a total TION re. F A I L U R E. Based on the tranditional paratmeters to measure project success.

The construciton PM should be ashamed on what they did. Event the original design architect was so ashamed on what become of his original design that,sucle he was invitted to attend the inaguaration, he declined because he cannot stomach what the politicos, the intrigers, procrastinators, beaureacrats, etc. had done to his original design.

The project management of that project is not exemplenary, it should be condemed to gain respect of the profession: CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT.

But then, project success maybe a different story. Pershaps some of our good colleagues have literatures, books regarding project success.

On the other hand, IMHO, project management success and project success are the same.

The idea of some mothballed projects gaining turaround and will become successful are indeed two issues since it will involve different concept, resources, timeline, finacial analysis, etc.

Regards,
Charlie
Alex Wong
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Hi All

That Sydney Opera House did sparked some good discussion.

My point being there is two destine success we are talking about in Project world (IMHO)

Project Management Success
Project Success

And a lot of time we mix the two up and go into a sprial discussion.

My question is whether these two destine factors have any co-relation with "PROJECT" success as overall.

And what Project Manager can do to ensure its a "PROJECT" success or of course how they can made it fail

Alex
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hello to All,

There is only one scenario for project success:

On time,

Within Budget,

Within specifications.

These are the traditional measurement of project success.

There should never be an alibi for Project Failure.

Knowing these parameters, it is only natural that project managers or project management burden for project sucess is very slim chance.

But on the other hand, there are project managers that really deliver project on time, within budget and within specifications. These are rare breed of PM. You seldom got involved with them in places where constructions are in peak, because a lot of fly by night, wanabees, or debious PM are abound like for example in country like UAE.

Cheers,
Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant

Dave Crosby
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Thanks Mike. I agree with you. All the benefits versus all the costs need to be considered. Ironicly a project can fail it’s original objectives yet still be a success for the customer and the supplier.

Oliver - great insight and so very true. If the project makes money, everyone gets paid AND the customer is happy and the community gets some kind of benefit then perhaps that means the project is a success.

Rav - you make several valid points. A project has by definition a specific end date. You can move that end date but at some stage the projects ends. The project then has to be evaluated up to that point.

The thing is that the PMBOK style definition of project success is too narrow in my view. Esp. for high risk / high return projects with lots of unknowns. I.e. projects that are very hard to define in the first place.
Raviraj Bhedase
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If success is measured depending upon the long term usage, then y v hav such a tight schedule, if its going to make profit tomorow or may be day after tomorow. Every penny is important for teh CLIENT / OWNER and as an employee, u r not supoposed to fiddle with it.

Then, as per ur say, WEMBLEY STADIUM shud be a grand success, even though FA Cup Final in 2006 was moved to Cardiff. Multiplex have made huge loss, I believe on taht project.

May be Clive Randall can throw soem light on the figures, but overall, as a construction project, ITS a BIG FAILURE, on account of time frame and huge losses.

Most of teh project Management Institute does say, 90% of the projects do FAIL as they were not completed on TIME and neither within BUDGET. So, as per ur say, its not the case. Evenif, project shows sign of success in yaers to come, it’s a success, weather it has met its tiem and cost objectives or not??

For most of us, Wembley stadium construction is a failure and will be a classic example of WHY PROJECT FAILs??

Cheers,

rav
Oliver Melling
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If there was a construction project with a major design flaw (at the employers risk) that only got realised near the end of the project and this resulted in massive rework, the employer loses, but the contractor may end up earning twice the work that they originally bid for.

Project fails for one party, but is beneficial for the other.

Success & failure depends on the person you ask and the view that ’if a project makes money its a success’ is only true for the capitalist stakeholder.

Imagine a hospital built late (contractor risk) and for twice the budget, a failure for the employer, court for the contractor, but a benefit for the local community.
Dave Crosby
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We are discussing project success and failure like it was a Boolean value. Either YES or NO. So to me the answer is YES even if it could have been better.

Let’s just assume for argument sake that it will not be ready for that 2009 tournament but it will be a great success for future events.

In this case it failed one outcome - the 2009 tournament. It also failed another outcome in the short term: to promote the SPORTS CITY PROJECT in 2009.

I don’t know how time dependant this second outcome is. However there are major cricket matches every year and I expect it wont matter in the long run if the SPORTS CITY PROJECT gets promoted in 2009 or later. As you say the stadium is expected to be a success in years to come anyway.

I look at it like this. Did the benefits out weight the costs in time/money etc.? In other words was the project worthwhile?

In this case I would say that it failed in some outcomes but it still eventually achieved it’s main outcome. Overall the stadium was still worth building even if it was late. Hence the project was still a success. It just was not as successful as it was planned to be.
Mike Testro
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Hi Dave

i have been following this thread with interest and you have finally hit the nail on the head.

If the project makes money it is a success.

It may lose money but bring aesthetic or social benefits to the community that can be valued - not necessarily in monetary terms.

I am thinking of the London Milenium Dome - a magnificent structure brought in on time and on budget - but it was a financial disaster.

Recently however it has been turned round into a concert and exhibition venue that equals any in the world and will begin to make money.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Raviraj Bhedase
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Thats tricky now :-)

In this case, Project Management team has failed to complete the film within budget, but so, the objectives were changed to earn more money.

My ex-boss used to say, CHANGES ARE BOUND TO HAPPEN IN LONG TERM PROJECTS AND U CANNOT AVOID THOSE. If the objectives are changed, then its OK, as u hav revised baseline and revised budget tragets. The maketing guys and districutors in this case, may change the launch objectives and can fetch more money.

So, it might hav been possible tat u can make a film in $100 million and can earn $400, so ultimately its a loss.

Consider one more nice project. Dubai Cricket Stadium is under Construction and was scheduled to host in 2009, next world cup pre-qualifying matches. Stadium is fantastic, nice looking, developed within a huge SPORTS CITY but may not get ready in 2009 and so, they may lose chance to host the pre-qualifying games.

So, they may loose this tournament, which is a not a good sign to promote SPORTS CITY PROJECT, but still it will be a huge success in years to come and thats sure.

So, thats SUCCESS or FAILURE. FAILURE to meet deadline and lost host to world-cup pre-qualifying matches OR SUCCESS in years to come.

What’s ur say??
Dave Crosby
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That is an entirely valid way of looking at it. However in my opinion it is an unsuitable view point for high risk / high return types of project.

You see it as a PRODUCT but I see it as an OUTCOME.

Take Hollywood movies for example. By your criteria the vast majority of Hollywood movie making projects are abject failures. Since Hollywood began, movie making projects take longer and cost more than planned in the majority of cases.

Your view point is that the projects failed but the films were a success.

Let’s say the film budget was $100 million. The producers expected to make $100 million in profit. The film project was $50 million over budget. The film made $400 million in profit plus people want a sequel to be made.

By your measure the project was 50% over budget. It was a major project failure by these measures. However rather than making $100 million the OUTCOME was $350 million in profit plus repeat business.

Did the project fail OR was it that the planned constraints turned out to be incorrect. If they had originally planned to spend $150 million then the project would be a success by your measure. However it would be the same project.

Raviraj Bhedase
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How opera house can be a success?

What a layman and politician or a common man is seeing, is not a project under construction but what they are looking at, is a PRODUCT.

Lets take the sample project of say, LAUNCH OF A CAR.

The car launch project may consume more time, and more money causing rise in teh selling price, but it may happen that CAR will be a huge success in the market.

Now, in this case LAUNCH project of this CAR has failed but not the product.

Same applies for SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE as well. As a cosntruction project, its a failure. Consider the example of BURJ DUBAI TOWER project, which is now the tallest building in teh world. Supposed to finsih in December 2008, but may get complete somewhere in September next year. But, the prices will never come down and it will remain major tourist attraction for years to come for DUBAI.

As a construction project, its a failure. But, when people will start using it, it will be a success.

So, one shud know the difference between a project and a PRODUCT to DEFINE failure / success.

Cheers,

Rav
Dave Crosby
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Everyone acts as if project managers do have crystal balls and can see into the future better than anyone else. We as project managers are of course painfully aware that we do not have crystal balls. We realise we have to make decisions on which risks are worth the effort to manage.

I had a theory based on my experience as to which risks needed to be managed to increase the chances of project success. Fortunately my research managed to prove that my theory is correct - at least for software projects. I expect it is also true for other industries but perhaps to different degrees.

I very loosely call these risks "relationship issues". Perhaps one day I will think of another term but for now this will have to do.
Dave Crosby
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I hope you agree that logically a failure to manage the right risks (of all kinds) is why projects fail. Just suppose you could see into the future and foresee which risks were the ones you needed to manage. If you managed those foreseen risks then the project will succeed.
(And of course if you had such a magic crystal ball, you would be the richest person on earth) :)
Dave Crosby
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Why do projects fail?
I can point you to research which give the most common reasons for software projects. They can be summed up as management failures. I have been working with construction and engineering project managers for the last year and they tend to agree that it comes down to management failures in their industries as well.
My analysis of these issues is that it is a failure to manage risks.
When you think about it, project management IS risk management - but in a broader sense.
Dave Crosby
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Yes Alex - an excellent example!
Was it a successful project? I say YES.
I justify YES because although it failed in terms of the defined project constraints it exceeded in terms of the benefits. I think a layman and a politician would also consider it a success.
Alex Wong
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Sydney Opera House

Project Success or Not
Dave Crosby
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Hi everyone!
After twenty something years in project management I returned to university and wrote a post-grad thesis on this very subject. I have been back at the coal face again for a year and sharing some of the insights I gained from my research. My focus was in software projects which by the traditional criteria fail at a spectacular rate.
What is project success?
This is a topic in it’s own right. Even in civil construction projects this is not as simple to answer as it once was. In software projects, on time, within budget and at quality doesn’t actually define project success. A software project can meet all of these as still fail. It could not meet any of these and still be a success.
Then there is the question of what is project success and what is business success? Where is the boundary? In public works projects this is not so simple to define as it was in 1970. Even in private business there is a grey area.
Alex Wong
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Hi Oliver,

What you discribe is project success. Agreed and exactly what I said earlier!!

But Project Management success is when you built the project and it have a finite start and finish. But the objectives and goals of the proejct might not necessary have a finite start and finish.

Regards

Alex
Neeraj Agarkar
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Hi Oliver and Alex,
I did gave an example of waterproofing with 20 yrs guarantee in my earlier post.
What I said was that long term effects can be considered for project success only if part of the project.. for example, bridge having 30 yrs of life. It is definitely spelled out in the contract as a deliverable and hence is a measure for project success.
End of project in this case is not end of construction. But when it ends, it ends. You cannot have someone calling it a project failure on 31st year if the bridge collapses. It has exceeded its serviceable life and civic authorities would be responsible for maintenance. Project was a success as it did survive 30 years. Project management was not a success as they should have said 40 years. (Scope definition is the starting point)
Anoon Iimos
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Alex,

some define Project(s) as a one time endeavor, and maybe most contractors (if not all) are profit oriented, so who cares? it’s either you win or you lose! life isn’t fair, is it?
Raviraj Bhedase
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I googled around for Pm and came up wit this site. May be more relevant for this thread.

http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/project-management-success-with-the-top-7-...

Just read the last sentance. "Following best practices cannot guarantee a successful project but they will provide a better chance of success. Disregarding best practices will almost certainly lead to project failure."

Cheers,

Ravi
Oliver Melling
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The measurement of the success of a project does not end when the project ends.
If you build a bridge to last 30 years and afer 29 years it fails, then the project has failed even though construction may have finished decades ago.

One of the largest programmes of work in the UK at the moment is the NDA’s cleanup of civil nuclear sites. Some of the measurements of success in addition to time, cost and quality include the environmental impact of the project and also the socio-economic effects of work on the surrounding areas. Also if you look at the APM site, they mention that the criteria for success is constantly evolving.
Alex Wong
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Neeraj

What you discribe is project management success. It ends when the project is completed

Project success is more than Project Management Success

Regards

Alex
Neeraj Agarkar
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Hi Alex,
Long term or cleint feelings will affect business, not the project.
I guess when joined charles in his discussion, it was about the objective "as specified and mutually agreed in the contract". When the project ends, it ends.
The project has got a definite life cycle and the scope (expectations) are as per agreement between client / contractor.
So long term effects and feelings, though very important, should not be a critera for determing project success.
If it has to be a criteria, it should be part of the contract, like 20 years guarantee for waterproofing or one year damage liability period etc.
The client and contractor might not find a way of finalising an agreement as far as long term effects are concerned.
Regards
Alex Wong
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Hi Anoon

Well Clients feeling might not necessary have immediate negative financial effects, however, in long run it might. And that is the invisible factors that is so hard to manage. Project success .... its too hard to measure and justify, and its a very subjective view.

Alex
Anoon Iimos
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a Project is a gamble between the Client and the Contractor, it is a question of who wins or who loses?

who cares about the Client’s feelings? was it specified in the contract?
Alex Wong
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Dear all

Well I do come across a scenario where Project Management is very success, time cost, scope, quality ....

However the final product just did not fulfil to project objectives.

Like Building a houser with 4 bed room with a specific specification. But at the end the some of objectives of the house cannot be measure and manage by the project management. Like client feelings, invisible objective and project manager can handle all visible, measureable factor but not the other one in the equation.

My question is, do you still call it a project success??


Regards

Alex
Charleston-Joseph...
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Having said that,

Project failure scenario 2

Project finish on schedule, cost is within budget,

QUALITY IS VERY POOR (materials and workmanship), not within standard specification.

Regards,
Charlie
Mike Testro
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Hi Charleston

We are now getting back to the nub of the thread.

If the contractor gets paid his $5 billion then he has had a succes.

If the developer can’t get his $5 billion back in increased recovery then he has failed.

Succes and failure in the same project - its heads and tails on the same coin.

I have not said this yet in this thread but in my opinion projects fail because of lack of foresight and lack of time and money contingencies to cover potential risks.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Charleston-Joseph...
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Mike,

That is your opinion.

on the other hand the 5 billion may not be nescessarily more work done.

it could be just waste or inefficiency, nobody knows.

My definition of failure will remains the same. It is a project failure for the the simple reason why the project management team did not foresee this happening in the project or why did there was no mitigation effort.

This can not be happenning for example if you are developing real property wherein the nets saleable area remains the same as originally plan, but your budget exceed 5 billion.

How can you justify to the customer that they have to shoulder the increase of 5 billion by increasing the cost per unit area.

How will you justigy to the bank of financial institution.

This sceanario is a PROJECT FAILURE. Project management failure.

Regards
Sensei
Mike Testro
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Hi Charleston

If the contractor has done $5 billion more work in the the same time at the same quality that is a succes.

The client has got more work done in the same time and at the same quality.

Best regards

Mike Testro.
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hi guys

The traditional way of measuring project success is Time, cost and quality.

Ok at initial stage, Project budget is XXX billion of dollars, YYY durations, and quality standard ZZZ.

Scenario of project failure 1:
At completion project budget is XXX + 5 billion of dollar, duration is YYY and quality standard is ZZZ.

Since the cost exceed the original budget by 5 billion, then, overall, the project is a failure.

Regards,
Sensei

Neeraj Agarkar
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Mr. Wong,
If you see all four cases, the conclusion is
project objective = project success.

regardless of project management. Does it mean project management makes no difference to the equation?
No, project management is a part of obtaining project objective.
Mike Testro
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Hi All

The matrix doean’t work if a multiplier x is applied instead of a +.

-1 x -1 = +1 so failure x failure = success.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Neeraj Agarkar
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Mr. Wong,
Perfect matrix, except, the last one.
Success + Fail = Fail.
then it is not success in project management. is it?
regards
Alex Wong
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May be we can put it in a martix

Project Management + Project Objective = Project Success

Fail Fail = Fail (??)
Success Success = Total Success (??)
Fail Success = Success
Success Fail = Fail
Neeraj Agarkar
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Most projects fail because of projects which are successful(?).
The bar gets raised with every successful project but not everyone can raise their standard, say like to get gold medal for the next big jump.
Frankly, there is no end to expectations. and so there is no end to failures. But by all means, reduce the failures, yes we can. Hence the planners, otherwise who needs us.
PM Hut
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Here’s another article that I would like to contribute to this thread: Project Management Tips to Avoid Failure

The article consists of the following sections:

- When can a project be considered a failure (definition of project failure)
- What are the reasons for project failure
- Solutions to the above reasons of project failure

The article is mainly titled towards IT Project Management, but with a few modifications, it can fit any type of Project Management.
Anoon Iimos
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Project Failure? In terms of what?

A certain project might fail in quality, but not necessarily financially, or maybe failure in management but not in delivery! so what failure are you talking about?

Is it total failure? Did you ask the contractor how much profits he made?
Lakshmipathi Rao
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Hi!

Mainly the project fails due to the Lack of long vision and poor management.

Initially when the project starts management considers lot of assumptions. Where project controls team come to the picture and needs to put them in sequencial manner and anlyse for the delays where the project goes wrong and where to take necessary actions to improve the same.

Purely depend the the long vision and the project management, refer "Strategic Sagari" Project Management beat, bliend man and elephant story.

Please add some more facts to this, why projects fail
Andrew Flowerdew
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Charleston,

Most projects fail because each party under most contracts have a different priority and agenda.

But although we spend our time on this site discussing problems, disputes, etc, etc, the vast majority of projects don’t actually end in big disputes.

In the UK, there are many thousands of projects each year, two or three thousand end up in adjuducation, a few hundred end up in arbitration and a few more hundred end up in court. The percentage that end in dispute are actually quite small.

It’s not all doom and gloom.
Carmen Arape
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Mike,

Regarding your homily "In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king" .
Well known in my culture as an opportunity for the only one eyed man to improve and set up new ways of doing things. If we planners are the one eyed man and we are not listened by the blinds (project manager (PM) ) , It could be for many reasons coming from both sides. ONE important reason for me is communication from planners to PM.

Hi Charlie,

I hope you had nice holidays in your native land.

“being pawns in the great wars being fought at the executive boardrooms” Agree with you. BUT I do believe that those executives are pawn in another wars being fought in highest levels boardrooms.

Lack of truth in projects . Of course, specially when we talk about money.

All project leaders are IDIOTS. You are not JUST with the good ones.

It seems that projects are sentenced to fail at the early stage of pre feasibility study.

Cheers,



Mike Testro
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Hi Charleston

The pay for delay analysis is high because not many of us can do it properly and it is based on a succesful track record.

You are only as good as your last case especially at the highest levels.

Best regards

Mike Testro

Charleston-Joseph...
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Hello Mike,

This is the natural reaction as per your quote: "If there is a better way forward then I do not know of it.."

You dont have to tell anyone. It is better for project to fail and it will give more jobs for forensic planner and claim specialist.

At least there is a big job out there from contractor or from clients becuase project fail hence possible claim for time extension and associated cost.

and the pay is very high, i think the highest. why

Cheers,
Charlie
Mike Testro
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Hi Charleston

If there is a better way forward then I do not know of it - despite the advice on PP from any number of threads on the subject.

Here is another little homily for you "In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king" in our case it is "Pity the man with vision in the land with Kings who will not see"

If you can’t change things then the quicker you get to live with the situation the better for your mental health and blood pressure.

Best regards

Mike Testro
Charleston-Joseph...
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Hi Mike,

Of course I heard of Cassandra ...

And that remind us of Failure.

The question remains the same ....

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD?????

knowing that project failure is just around the corner with us planners being pawns in the great wars being fougth at the executive boardrooms

Are you trying to say we will be just like Cassandra???

There must be a better way to move forward and to make a lot of difference.

Cheers
Mike Testro
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Hi Joseph

Have you ever heard of Cassandra - Daughter of Priam King of Troy - whose kindom was defeated by the the Greek invaders wooden horse.

She was the prophet who could foresee the future but was cursed because no one would believe her.

Does that remind you of anything in the planning - control world of here and now?

Best regards

Mike Testro
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Hi Carmen,

Long time no posting for me. I’m on vacation again in my native land or home country.

Project fail because the leaders of the project are IDIOTS.

These leaders comes from the top echelons of the project developments.

We planners/schedulers or project control specialists, etc., are only pawns to the great wars by project participants at executive level, in most countries I worked.

The ideals of project success: on time, on budget and within quality were, are, and will be compromised because no truth will ever be known regarding projects.

THE TRUTH, if ever, WILL ONLY COME OUT AFTER PROJECT COMPLETION.

SO PROJECT FAILS. How to move forward?????

Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant
Carmen Arape
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Thanks,If your comment is a wish for my success
Oliver Melling
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I think you’ll do well.
Carmen Arape
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Yes, to project manager
Oliver Melling
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Project management requires people to be full of s£"% because if they weren’t then most projects would never get funded. It requires a special type of person who is both optomistic and realistic. As all engineers are pessimistic we have to intrinsically think everythin will be fine in order to balance thing out!

Have you considered a career change?
Carmen Arape
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Hi Chris,

""A decision may give disbenefits as well as benefits AND both can be quantified.””” Fully agree.

YES, but the ones taking decision do not like to hear the disbenefits, they just want to hear benefits. In the case of no benefits at all, they just invent WHATEVER and try to bullshi…..., everybody. Sorry, I came from some unsuccessful projects where all your statements were no realities.

My comments sounding like Charlie’s : well I like to read Charlie, I have always admitted. WHY ?? may be because I share the opinion that projects is a business full of …...

Cheers,
Arnold Puy
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Hi Guys,

A lot of reasons why Project Fails, one of this is the absence of COORDINATION between the Project Management Teams.


Arnold
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Carmen,

Whether the example makes you smile or not, it is fact and verifiable as such if you care to check it out.

I disagree when you say that establishing whether a decision is for the benefit of the project is subjective. A decision made about the project either has a demonstrable benefit to the project or it doesn’t. Quantifying the benefit may be subjective, and it is equally possible that a decision may give disbenefits as well as benefits which will need careful evaluation.

In the organisation I work for, the Project Manager manages the project on behalf of the Project Board, and has to report to them on a regular basis. If the Project Manager starts taking decisions which are not demonstrably for the benefit of the project, he or she would be replaced in very short order. I’m not entirely sure what you mean in your last statement, it sounds rather like something Charlie might come up with, could you clarify it a little?

Chris Oggham
Carmen Arape
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Chris,

Keep reading too much your posts #19 and #24 and at the same time smiling with your example.
With the example, I do agree your statement “Women are vulnerable in ways men are not”. Hidden contradiction: So vulnerable that we can manage a project of having a baby by our own while you can have only ideas and words.

Decisions and benefit of the project: To establish this link is very subjective. As you mentioned : benefit of project in terms of resource or cost or schedule OR quality OR…whatever.

I see the option of project success unapproachable when I have project managers taking wrong decisions supported by excuses such as for the benefit of whatever they want to say.

Cheers,

Chris Oggham
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Mark/Oliver,

Now we’re getting down to solid reasons why projects fail, decisions are made which are not for the benefit of the project. If you check out the rather dramatic example of the mixed sex strike team in my post #24, this is exactly what happened. A decision was made which was not for the benefit of the project but for the benefit of a project resource.

Chris Oggham
Oliver Melling
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Couldn’t agree more. Personality traits over gender.
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I thought I’d take a step back & look at it;

I believe a project may fail, when the majority of decisions made are not "best for project"

If all who work on a project make their decisions based on "is this best for project" & cast aside personal preferences, prejudices etc, then I believe you have a good chance. Whether these decisions are made by men, women or monkeys is irrelevant...

My two cents for what it’s worth. :-)

Cheers
Mark
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Carmen,

I think you may have been reading a little bit too much into my post #19, what I actually said was where practicable bringing women on to a project team can have a positive effect both on team morale and performance.

It doesn’t happen automatically, sometimes there is no difference, and at other times bringing women on to a project team can have a profoundly negative effect. Whether using mixed sex teams or single sex teams always we must match the skills and charactaristics of the team to the requirements of the project.

As for not being able to imagine why you would need single sex teams for military/security operations, I’ll give you one brief example:

A mixed sex section of seven soldiers carrying out a surgical strike to destroy an enemy installation. A minimum of four are needed to reach the objective in order to successfully neutralise it. Casualties are expected. On the way in, a female soldier is wounded, not seriously but enough to incapacitate her. In this particular scenario two other members of the section will remain with her probably one male, one female, while the rest go on towards there objective. Note that the section is now down to its minimum effective strength, one more incapacitated or killed and the mission/project fails.

Same scenario all male section, the wounded soldier is left behind alone to be picked up when the section returns after the mission/project is complete. Of the six one more is incapacitated/killed on the way in, still above minimum effective strength mission/project can succeed.

Same senario all female section the wounded soldier is left behind possibly with one other depending on circumstances (women are vulnerable in ways men are not) to be picked up after mission/project is complete. Of the six/five one more is killed/incapacitated on the way in, still above or at minimum effective strength, mission/project can succeed.

These actually happened with units of the Israeli Defence Forces.

Chris Oggham
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The word should actually have been ’impoverished’.

Past tense.
Carmen Arape
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Chris,

You have started in this business with wise words regarding Parkinson, Murphy and Sod being part of the team.

Fully agree with you regarding that I (as a woman) have a positive effect on team morale and performance among other values.

I can not imagine which specialized projects (security/military) you need single sex project team. Well, I take your comment for valid BUT in normal Oil&Gas&Mining&Chemicals … projects, both sex project team will improve project performance.

Oliver,

The word is impoverish, to make sth worse in quality.

Cheers,
Oliver Melling
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Carmen,

To clarify why i asked the previous question; i am trying establish what traits you believe a female can bring to a project that a male cannot and vice versa.

Thanks
Oliver Melling
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The following is not my opinion but more something that has been joked about by people i have worked with in the past.

Do the personalities of women that choose to go into male dominated industries such as engineering/construction tend to be more ’male’ in their traits than the people who have ’impoverised’ the industry for the last 30 years.

(Not sure if ’impoverised’ is the right word, or even a word at all!?)
Chris Oggham
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Hi Carmen,

I didn’t think a throwaway one-liner about being puzzled why projects still fail would be taken seriously. I agree with you that even if we covered every possibility for failure that was known, people being people would find a new one. When I first started in project planning I was told "Remember that Parkinson, Murphy and Sod are alive and well and working on your project."

As for all male project teams being a huge mistake, I think it rather depends on the industry. There are still some industries where there is still little or no female involvement, so your project team is all male by default. I do agree that where practicable bringing women on to a project team can have a positive effect both on team morale and performance.

Having said that there are also certain specialised projects largely within the security/military area where single sex project teams are essential to project success. While these are very specialised, they do bring home the need to match the skills and charactaristics of the team to the requirements of the project.

Chris Oggham
Carmen Arape
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Oliver,

100 % male participation in project teams impoverishes the team relationships. Gender mix will add value, especially in decision making (not only secretarial work).

Being puzzled with tendency to fail, how can it be different if we keep doing project with the same male domain teams as 30 years ago.

EGO: simplistic to say it is related to personality. I can not add more Because I am changing my perception of EGO after reading the book “The monk and the philosopher” . Occidental and Oriental opinions on the subject: EGO.

Cheers,
Oliver Melling
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So what you are saying is that gender doesn’t effect success, but the effect gender has on the project team does effect success?!

This seems to be a contradiction.

As for EGO, i don’t believe this is something we in the west are trained in, it is more something that directly relates to personality.

Carmen Arape
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Oliver,

I am not saying that gender has an effect on success or failure of project.

I do believe that gender mix has a positive effect on project team relationships. This will contribute a bit to project success.

About EGO. Our western education is based on developing our EGO. Important is to recognize when our over-inflated EGO is leading us to hell on earth.

Cheers,
Oliver Melling
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I don’t think gender has any effect on the success or failure of project, but people with the perception that it does are usually the ones with the over-inflated EGO.
Carmen Arape
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Chris

Why being puzzled about WHY projects are still going down the tubes.

Projects are executed by human being. If we think that having technology, knowledge , thousands of analysis of WHYs, we will end with the tendency to FAIL, forget IT.

We still have the human being with common problems in any culture. For instance, poor communication (if any), being selfish at the moment of sharing information and working with the team, huge EGO in some key project players ( the ones taking decisions) and so on.

Besides, 100% male project team, huge mistake, and we keep doing the same, especially in Europe.

Cheers,
Chris Oggham
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PM Hut is, of course, absolutely correct and the articles quoted make many of the same points as a review commissioned by the British Government in 2004. The Office of Government Commerce published the findings of the review as a set fo guidance for project reviewers called Common causes of programme/project failure

Since we know why projects fail and why they succeed, I must admit to being a bit puzzled why they still go down the tubes.

Chris Oggham
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Projects fail for a lot of reasons, and these reasons really depend on the maturity of the project. Check this article by Russell Archibald: Failure Causes in IT Project Management (at different maturity levels), although this article is mainly written for IT, I think engineering and construction PMs can relate.

There is this article that I think is very interesting Why Projects Fail , the first reason being Lack of Support from the Executive Level.
Carmen Arape
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Chris,

Thanks for the links.

Agree with you regarding to the group pf people who expected the project to fail. Very important to identify this group in any party, client, epc contractor or contractors.

Your last paragraph is an expression of the WHY and WHAT FOR way of thinking. In brief, the WHY question makes us to look backwards, searching for someone to blame. Why project fails ??


WHAT FOR question makes us to look forward. To know how to make projects succeed allows us to look forward succeed.

Cheers,

Chris Oggham
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So the project fails because people’s expectations were not met? What about the group of people who expected the project to fail, does it count as a success for them? Their expectations were met, so following the converse of Charlie’s reasoning it must be, so we are left with the ludicrous situation where the project is both a success and a failure.

We might be better off looking at successful projects and what we can do to make them successful. As Duncan Haughey points out it’s not rocket science.

For anybody who wants to go into things a little more deeply, there is a white paper on why projects succeed available free by registering with this site.

Knowing why projects fail won’t give you a successful project, but knowing how to make projects succeed just might.

Chris Oggham
Carmen Arape
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Hi PP members,

Reading Sensei’s comments gave me the opportunity to think about project failure having more chances to occur that project success.

My comments are based on the following:

The psyhology of Failure is very simple.
"UNMET EXPECTATION"
Everyone did fail to deliver everyone’s expectation
And that is failure “

Everyone’s expectation: In project, we have important every ones such as: client, epc contractor and its contractors. Do we all share same expectations in terms of budget and schedule. We should BUT ….

In Project

The traditional measure of success is:
Within Schedule, within budget and within quality.”

What happens when the schedule is unapproachable for many reasons.

What happens when the budget is unapproachable due to the budget was based on estimates +/- 30% accuracy.

Cheers,

smiling shagger
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maybe...
stakeholders/owners borrow money fr bank for their projet investment.
investment need return in investment and also to pay their debt to bank.
also to secure their investment contract were put up and seal betwen owner(client) and contractor; or pmc with designers and contractor.
ROI need timeframe.
PMI somehow function indirectly to secure the whole system which could secure the money lender i.e. the bank which they give loan in digital amount and not gold.
so, if the whole ’security’ process failed to benefit the money lender,it will be termed as FAILURE ( ref: time)

maybe,
if somebody have ready money , real money , not borrowing from bank, the pressure is not there (ref:time)in paying the debt (or digital debt to money lender/bank).
most likely the definition of project fail is not really there.

intoxically,
smilingshagger


Abhijit Kale
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Lack of commitment, efforts n zeal to success
Ife Olyke
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why do projects fail? a very interesting question? i think it’s neccessary to define the boundaries of project failure... a building project completed 4 years ago on schedule and within budget may fail today if quality of materials was not put into consideration.

MIT’s Gehry building will throw more light on the above. Refer to the link below:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7055232,00.html

Chris Oggham
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Why do projects fail? Possibly because they’ve got a dork for a project manager who does one or more of the following:

  • Doesn’t spend sufficient time or effort doing the job he’s paid for;

  • Antagonises or patronises the people he has to work with;

  • Doesn’t give straight answers to straight questions;

  • When asked for an explanation, either becomes evasive or spouts a complete load of horse puckey;

  • Imagines that software and paperwork will manage the project for him;

  • Has an overinflated opinion of his own intelligence and abilities;

  • Is unable to accept criticism;

  • Has preconceived ideas about people based on stereotypes of race or nationality;

  • Is unable to admit it when he doesn’t know something;

  • Wastes people’s time with trivia and irrelevances;


Not an exhaustive list by any means, but at least it’s a start.

Chris Oggham
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One of the new kid in town that have cost impact in project is the theme "GREEN"

Do you heard about this??

The point here is that the project must be environmentally friendly.

For housing project, this translate there is more to concrete structure. The housing project must be environmentally friendly.

The project that will not meet the criteria of "GREEN" thing is a failure.

Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant
Charleston-Joseph...
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In Project

The traditional measure of success is:

Within Schedule, within budget and within quality.

Not anymore,

There is more to the traditional measure of success, to much more than.

by this influence, project has a slim chance of success.

ONly the very best will succeed, no way for mediocare, no way.

Cheers,

Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant

Charleston-Joseph...
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The psyhology ot Failure is very simple.



"UNMET EXPECTATION"

Everyone did fail to deliver everyone’s expectation

And that is failure


Cheers,

Sensei
Successful Project Management Consultant