Failing Hard, Failing Easy

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

Many projects fail--it’s just a fact of life in project management. Some projects fail for big reasons like money running out, and some fail for a thousand small reasons that all contribute to an overall failure of the project--otherwise known as crashing and burning. When a project is not going well, everyone tends to turn to the project manager. This, of course, is in direct contrast to when a project is going well and everyone ignores the project manager entirely. How the project manager handles the project failing will make a big difference as to how the failure impacts the people and organizations involved.

The project manager can work to make the fallout from the failed project easy or hard. While nothing is easy about a project failing, there are many things that a project manager can do to make the entire event easier on the staff and the organization. On the other hand, the complications involved can lead to a lot of problems. If those problems tie the project manager up in knots, then the entire team will suffer from failing the hard way. As is usually the case, most project managers will fall somewhere in the middle between the two extremes. Evaluating the dangers of handling failure the hard way can help a project manager handle it the right way so that the team recovers and can move on to the next project or job better prepared for a successful outcome…

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It's like deja vu all over again.

- Yogi Berra

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