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.
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 was a fresh 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 so I know you’re not a fake profile). 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.
Sauder School of Business – Continuing Business Studies Project Management program chair
Adjunct Professor – University of British Columbia
Principal Calleam Consulting Ltd
This website is maintained by Robert Goatham of Calleam Consulting Ltd.