Project execution failure rate highest in decade

Insights | 23 November 2009

Only a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year – the worst failure rate recorded by the Standish Group’s CHAOS report.

PM-Partners believes this is a direct result of project managers failing to implement scope control and failing to identify correct requirements as part of their project management methodology. Project management success relies on excellent planning and meticulous follow-up and assessment throughout its duration.

One of the most common aspects missed by project managers in their project management planning is the complexity of a project. No matter the size or cost of a project, the most fundamental things to understand is its structural, political, social and technical complexity.

Structural complexity primarily relates to the number of people required to complete the project, the skill sets they possess and their ability to work together (political complexity). Social complexity is also a very important factor as the culture of an organisation can be a major hindrance to a project, especially if it involves substantial change to the way the business operates.

Understanding technical complexity includes assessing whether a project is in fact a program of projects. Sometimes a client’s goals lend themselves to several projects rather than just one. Program management is different to project management – it requires a broader view.
With each project management contract, talk to your clients about how the project could benefit other parts of their business and adjust the project scope accordingly. Find out how they define a “successful project” then work backwards to figure out your project execution plan. Exceeding your clients’ expectations should always be the goal so look for ways to bring value-added benefits to their business in your project delivery.

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