This site is a support reference to the online and in-person Project Management and Project Leadership training offered by Calleam Consulting Ltd. The materials in this site focus on the causes of project failure and provide a platform for discussing the causes of failure and what it takes to make a project a success.

Some basics for new visitors

    1. Why focus on project failure more than project success?
      Projects can fail for many reasons and the path to success requires us to avoid all of those potential causes of failure. The key to improving project success rates is to understand the most common triggers and behaviours that cause failure. That insight allows organizations to structure their projects for success and provides the depth of knowledge needed to guide their projects towards successful outcomes. See also my blog post – Why focus on failure?


    1. What are the most common reasons for project failure?
      There are many reasons why projects fail. Have a look at our list of 101 common causes to get a flavour of things, or zoom in our top 10 themes in project failure.


    1. Is this website just for Project Managers?
      No, everyone involved in a project has a role in ensuring the success of the project.  The site is however geared more to those who hold leadership roles in projects, such as managers, sponsors, project managers, technical leads, architects, quality managers, business analyst leads, etc.


    1. I see many of the samples in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” have a technology component in them. Are technology projects more failure prone and if so why?
      Have a read of our feature article “What makes technology projects so hard to do?”


    1. What are patterns and why do you use them in this website?
      Patterns are a tool for codifying knowledge. Patterns can be thought of as “the generalised representation of a common sequence of events that lead to a predictable outcome”. The use of patterns allows complex events to be described and communicated. This helps bring to the surface underlying forces and mechanisms that are otherwise entangled in the complex chains of cause-effect that arise as a project unfolds. Surfacing patterns provides a platform for learning, review and discussion.


    1. Are the patterns in this website a comprehensive set?

      No, there are many others that exist and likely many we as an industry haven’t yet identified. The site does however include examples of the most common patterns seen in troubled projects. The idea of putting these patterns into a central knowledge repository is simply to help get people thinking about project failures from the right perspectives.


    1. Can others contribute to this site?
      The site is intended to be a platform for others to share their experiences and observations.  If you would like to participate please feel free to contact us.


    1. Do you think agile methods are the best way to develop a new system?
      When used effectively, the agile methodologies do offer significant value.  However, as with any other tool, such methods do need to be used wisely.  One of my favorite sayings is that a fool with a tool is still a fool and unfortunately poor application of the agile methods has at times harmed what otherwise may have been an appropriate methodology to have used.


  1. What percentage of projects fail?
    A number of studies have been done to try and answer that question. Visit the Facts and Figures page for some recent data.