Reasons why projects fail

Why do Projects fail? 1

Why do Projects fail? 1 700 400 Comidor Low-code Automation Platform

Project leaders and their teams have to pay attention to several factors in order to deliver their projects on time, on budget and with the expected quality.In this first part we see through specific examples what may go wrong with project’s Plan, Resources, Team and Risks Mitigation and lead the project to fail…

  1. Poor Project Planning

    As Ian Henderson,CTO of global language service provider Rubric, has noticed, “it may seem simple, but many times, organizations and project teams do not have a plan in place to ensure a successful outcome”Carlos Nunez, Founder of, presents a typical case in IT sector: “Instead of meeting in the beginning to really flesh out the reasons for the projects existence and the scope of work that actually needs to be done, they get their heads down into the work and deal with issues as they come”! 

    Let’s see why this is happening.. According to J. Todd Rhoad,  Managing Director at Bt Consulting,“organizations often do a poor job of bidding the project, such as underestimating the work involved or cutting the price too low to win the project”.Poor planning can also be derived from lack of proper training (Tom Casey, Certified Management Consultant and member of Mentors Guild) and lead to “bad project requirements that are either incomplete, inconstant, ambiguous, or that do not sufficiently reflect consensus among all relevant stakeholders” (Didier Koffi, Business Architect and Business Systems Analyst Consultant and member of Mentors Guild). 

  2. Limited Resource Dedication

    Projects often fail due to lack of resources, including people, time, budget, equipment etc. This can happen because of Executive Level Non-Support or Unreasonable Expectations (Tom Casey).

    Carlos Nunez describes that“some managers place extremely tight deadlines on deliverables to appease or relieve pressure from their upper management. Consequently, people on the project work harder and longer, which causes stress and lower quality of work. This also results in critical stages of the project (like testing) to get drastically shortened or eliminated, further reducing quality. By the time the project is delivered, it will likely be late and need tons of rework (and money) to fix issues that could have been fixed by easing deadlines”.

    Todd Rhoad refers that“programs fail because companies decide to develop products on a project budget that doesn’t fund it. Many companies don’t have the ability to utilize capital projects to create new products, so they develop the products on their existing programs. Product development on these programs almost always ends in late deliveries, budget overruns and unhappy customers”.

  3. Improper or Insufficient Team/Staff

    Todd Rhoad, Ian Henderson, Tom Casey, Mary Elizabeth Murphy (CPCC, ORSCC and CEO of S.T.A.R. Resources), Ford Kanzler (Managing Partner of PR Savvy) agree that “a team composed of people with lack of experience, lack of motivation, insufficient skills, personalities or role preferences that are not a good fit for the project can result late deliveries or/and cost overruns making customers unhappy and tarnishing the company’s brand”Nick Espinosa, CIO of BSSi2 LLC, recommends tohave our team vetted” considering “what past project completions say about their ability and competency and whether they can pass a simple to complex test in the field our project is in”.

  4. Poor Risk Mitigation

    Nick Espinosa considers risk mitigation as critical. He explains that “oftentimes you may be able to assign technically qualified people to the project however there is no guarantee they will be proficient at understanding or intuitively assessing issues that may arise during the project”Keith Johnston from True North Leadership agrees that usually“project teams fail to adequately define and manage common risks such as a) inexperienced project team b) technical complexity of the project c) limited resources (including time, budget, equipment, etc)”. Didier Koffi claims that “the teams actually fail to use Agile Methodologies to tackle and mitigate project’s complexity and risk”.

Read also what may go wrong with projectStakeholders, Communications, Scope and Progress and lead the project to fail… and keep in mind that Project Management Tools and Methodologies can help us to deliver successful projects only if they are properly used!