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Topics: Agile, Consulting, IT Project Management
March Book Club - Project Management, Denial, and the Death Zone: Lessons from Everest and Antarctica.



New Question for everyone! What is your experience of failure in projects?
Tolitha (PMI Book Club Moderator)
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Interesting question. I found a survey from PMI that may shed some light. The most relevant facts are:

54% of projects finished on time
54% of projects finished on budget
38% of projects finished on time and within budget
65% met original goals
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1 reply by Chad Harris
Apr 14, 2016 1:16 PM
Chad Harris
...
And if you look at a study conducted by KPMG called "2013 Project Management Survey Report" (https://www.kpmg.com/NZ/en/IssuesAndInsigh...urvey-2013.pdf, 2013), that organizations utilizing formal project management methodologies are outperforming their counterparts consistently in all industries. Organizations with PMO's demonstrate a strong correlation for better project outcomes.

Chad Harris



1) Manager gains respect if the project is success, so obviously if failure then its a shame for manager in front of his team mates, friends ...
2) Demoralized team and manager
3) Less innovative ideas arising from team, as fear of failure is high now
4) Broken stakeholder relationship ... trust is lost
5) Long term relation with the client is in question
6) Failure of strategic objective for the organization. Specially if its a first of its kind project.



I think most organizations these days are constantly impacted by changes in external conditions (market/industry/regulations etc.) that impact projects. If projects do not account for these possibilities and respond appropriately when they do happen, they may be considered failures even if the time and budget commitments are met. One may argue that the PM and Project team are not to blame in this situation, but regardless, the project did not help the organization. Continual strategic alignment – and making it an integral part of the project plan – is critical



Apr 14, 2016 2:43 AM
Replying to Eduard Hernandez
...
Interesting question. I found a survey from PMI that may shed some light. The most relevant facts are:

54% of projects finished on time
54% of projects finished on budget
38% of projects finished on time and within budget
65% met original goals
And if you look at a study conducted by KPMG called "2013 Project Management Survey Report" (https://www.kpmg.com/NZ/en/IssuesAndInsigh...urvey-2013.pdf, 2013), that organizations utilizing formal project management methodologies are outperforming their counterparts consistently in all industries. Organizations with PMO's demonstrate a strong correlation for better project outcomes.

Chad Harris



Failure in projects - great topic!

Not with reference to producing statistics, but from the human side of a project manager.

Every one on your project team is a human being - we are not automatically wired for failure. We are wired for recognition, and innate satisfaction in achievements, however small. So failure in any form can throw us off.

A project manager, in my mind, is like the captain of a boat. The boat and the crew being your immediate environment. Given the conditions the project manager encounters, heavy rain, strong winds, excessive sunlight and sunburn, scurvy....your ultimate goal is to reach land!

Sadly, in a corporate world, we are no longer able to visualize a project and failure hits us hard - because our perspective is so muddled we do not have the visibility to identify and understand the end goal.

The way the captain of a boat would think on his (her) feet, the project manager should address the situations to drive the project.

The way your reach land - one way or another, boat in one piece or another, as long as you can claim safely having reached, I believe nothing else matters. It is in the reporting.

Sa failure will not look like failure any more, but another step towards success, with your definition of success changing along the way.

That is what we need as PMs....the ability to align ourselves to the need of the organizational goal and deliver, while success has to be measured relatively, and not with reference to the original goal.

Come to think of it, the captain of the boat always starts with intent of reaching destination safely.
...
1 reply by Bala S Duvvuri
Apr 14, 2016 10:10 PM
Bala S Duvvuri
...
Great stuff Venkataraman.



Apr 14, 2016 3:37 PM
Replying to charu venkataraman
...
Failure in projects - great topic!

Not with reference to producing statistics, but from the human side of a project manager.

Every one on your project team is a human being - we are not automatically wired for failure. We are wired for recognition, and innate satisfaction in achievements, however small. So failure in any form can throw us off.

A project manager, in my mind, is like the captain of a boat. The boat and the crew being your immediate environment. Given the conditions the project manager encounters, heavy rain, strong winds, excessive sunlight and sunburn, scurvy....your ultimate goal is to reach land!

Sadly, in a corporate world, we are no longer able to visualize a project and failure hits us hard - because our perspective is so muddled we do not have the visibility to identify and understand the end goal.

The way the captain of a boat would think on his (her) feet, the project manager should address the situations to drive the project.

The way your reach land - one way or another, boat in one piece or another, as long as you can claim safely having reached, I believe nothing else matters. It is in the reporting.

Sa failure will not look like failure any more, but another step towards success, with your definition of success changing along the way.

That is what we need as PMs....the ability to align ourselves to the need of the organizational goal and deliver, while success has to be measured relatively, and not with reference to the original goal.

Come to think of it, the captain of the boat always starts with intent of reaching destination safely.
Great stuff Venkataraman.



Thank you all for the great comments and replies!!! Please keep the discussion going!! I'll respond in greater detail to comments tomorrow. Thank you!!!
Tolitha (PMI Book Club Moderator)



2016 March Book Club - Project Management, Denial, and the Death Zone: Lessons from Everest and Antarctica.
New Question for everyone! Is the success rate of projects improving sustainably in your organization?
Tolitha (PMI Book Club Moderator)



2016 March Book Club - Chapter 1 Question:
Our author, Grant Avery, traveled to Antarctica in the early 2000's. On what ship did he sail?
Tolitha (PMI Book Club Moderator)
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1 reply by Syed Nazir Razik
May 02, 2016 5:03 AM
Syed Nazir Razik
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Akademik Shokalskiy



That was an exciting trip - a great example of good luck helping risk management(!) (and luck that wasn't with the ship on its 2014 voyage which I fortunately wasn't on!) One of the ways to reduce the role of luck in the success of our projects is to workshop our projects' 'risk context' - this may be a half-day workshop for a large project, or a 30 minute conversation for a smaller one. Do you see risk workshops happening very often for projects in your world Tolitha (or other readers)? and if you do, how many start those workshops (or conversations) with "Identify risks" as opposed to "lets discuss our project's context" as the first step?
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