The very first project I had an opportunity to observe at close quarters ran into very serious trouble. What should have been a relatively simple software development project (it was planned as 6 months in duration with a team of 6 people), turned into an 18-month slog in which much of the original design had to be scrapped and the code rewritten because it didn’t work properly. Although the project did eventually end (after an extended period of post production release bug fixing) the problems encountered were all fully avoidable had an effective leadership structure been put in place.
As a fresh graduate recruit more than 20 years ago, that project was a real eye opener to me. The problems the project encountered sparked in me an interest in the causes of project failure and what it takes to make a project a success. That interest has stayed with me throughout my career and is what led me a few years ago into switching from being a 20+ year veteran of Project Management into becoming an educator and researcher.
Since that first project, I’ve found that project failure is far more common than I thought when I first joined British Airways as a graduate recruit. As my career developed I’ve witnessed a number of failures up close and have meet hundreds of people who have had the same experiences. In fact in class when I ask how many people have witnessed or participated in a troubled project, pretty much everyone with any significant work experiences puts up their hand.
Each one of those hands represents money wasted, time lost and opportunity squandered. Add that up globally and we are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Just a small improvement in success rates could be a very major contributor to the global economy.
As a contribution to improving the situation I use this website as a support reference for the training I provide my students. Open to the public as well, the site is intended to act as a platform for discussion and a vehicle for raising awareness of the causes of project failure. I hope you will find it useful and am open to feedback.
If you would like to stay in touch, please feel free to send me a Linkedin request (please denote that you found me via this website). If you are an academic institution interested in joining the group of universities who license my online classes please review the brochure for my latest online course offering. If you are simply browsing, have a read through and I hope you find some ideas that will help you improve the chances that your projects will be a success. If you would like to read my bio, click here.
Brig Henry: Brigden (“Brig”) Henry, PEng, CCMP, PMP is a contract management consultant, specializing in professional services contracts for public and private entities. With just over ten years of project engineering in the Royal Canadian Navy, followed by fifteen years of project and contract management in private engineering firms, Brig brings national and international contracting experience to the table. His consulting firm, Writek Technologies, offers a range of contract management educational and training courses as well as consulting services in contract negotiating, terms fulfillment and conflict resolution. Brig can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.