Focal Imbalance Failure

The following entry is part of the Pattern Library. The Pattern Library records the common patterns of behaviours and events that have the potential to lead to project failure.

Pattern name : Focal Imbalance Failure 

In brief :
Project team focuses their energies into certain parts of the project while paying insufficient attention to other critical aspects of the project.

Description :
Project success requires all critical aspects of the project be addressed. Failure to address one or more critical components creates weak links in the overall chain of activities.  Those weaknesses lead to failure of one part of the project that ulimtately ends up compromising the complete project.  Common examples include;

  1. Failure to provide sufficient training to operational staff in how to use a new system
  2. Lack of deployment planning
  3. Insufficient quality activities result in low grade deliverables
  4. Failure to address culture change issues when implementing a new system or process
  5. Focusing on parts of the project that are familiar and well understood while ignoring portions that are less familiar

Examples :

  1. When British Airways moved into Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 in 2008, lack of staff training resulted in a chaotic transition (BA T5 move)

Negative effects :

  1. Portions of the project receive insufficient attention resulting in the failure of the complete project
  2. Chaotic deployments (deployment is often the time when the imbalance shows through)

Related patterns

  1. Techcentric Myopia
  2. Left shifting
  3. Gravitation
  4. Quality kaboom
  5. Voila failures

Suggested Actions :

  1. Ensure all critical activities needed to achieve success are included in the project plan and schedule
  2. Actively review the project schedule and budget to quantify how much effort and money is going into each critical activity.  Many projects never consciously consider the relative percentages.

Leave a Reply