After managing projects for over 20 years, I’m still waiting for project management to meet the expectation that it will help businesses be more productive, efficient and cost effective. While it helps in many cases, it still falls short in many areas. The Standish Group’s Chaos Report has repeatedly shown that far too many projects are failing, despite the best efforts of project management. To be fair, not everyone agrees with the Standish Group. While not an easy read, you will find Samad Aidane’s article, The Chaos Report Mythbusters a pretty thought provoking critique of the Chaos Report. Based on my experiences though, it is easy to conclude that project management practices could be improved. I don’t think you will find anyone that would deny that there are many pitfalls associated with project management and that in many cases, it still hasn’t lived up to its expectations.
When we look at project management, there are many underlying reasons for project failure. If you google “project failure”, you will find hundreds of articles on this topic. I want to focus on just one. When looking at project failure, I believe it comes from a lack of leadership in all cases.
Poor leadership = Poor project execution
Here are the main culprits when it comes to leadership breakdowns in project management:
- Lack of Executive Alignment at the C-level on how projects are governed
- Inadequate project selection methodologies at the organizational level
- A PMO methodology that doesn’t support the organization’s culture
- No strategy to improve the organization’s project management maturity
- Inadequate training for ALL staff (Executives/Sponsors, Middle/Line Management, Project Managers, Project Staff)
- No consistent definition of project success across the organization
- Inconsistent oversight of project teams
- Low Emotional Intelligence of project team members
- No accountability for project results above the project manager
- Too heavy focus on processes instead of leadership
What are your thoughts?
All the best!
All the time!