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The Five Reasons Consulting Projects Fail
Posted on May 6, 2013
Author: Ron Woodlock, Performance Architects

Five characteristics seem to have the greatest impact on the success of a project.  The table below summarizes the results of the 2012 Standish Group “CHAOS Report” representing each of the five characteristics as continuum moving from successful outcomes on the left to failed outcomes on the right.

The results of this study might seem obvious; however each of these characteristics presents unique challenges.

  1. Garner Executive Support. Project teams have difficulty getting time with executives, and – more importantly – making good use of this time.  The gap between executives and project teams can be enormous.   Enlisting the help of project sponsors can help to bridge this divide.  The key is tailoring the message to the executive’s point of view (easier said than done).
  2. Promote User Involvement. Identify the key stakeholders (end users are definitely one of these groups!), and ensure their active involvement throughout the project.  Engaged stakeholders are key to success.  Unengaged stakeholders are more likely to undermine the project.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations. Setting proper expectations is done early in the project lifecycle by the project’s leadership.  Disconnects at this stage will come back to haunt the effort.
  4. Establish Proper Planning. Project planning can be expensive and at times too regimented.  The key to the right amount of planning is figuring out what is most likely to challenge the project and make plans to overcome it.  As Dwight D. Eisenhower so famously said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
  5. Define a Clear Statement of Requirements. From a strategic point of view, linking the detailed requirements to the project’s charter ensures that what is delivered is what was asked for.  It is easy to get off track if the team doesn’t make sure that each requirement accepted is working toward the ultimate project objectives.


This post was posted in Business , Technical and tagged Ron Woodlock , Successful Project .
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