Avoid Project Failure (and survive it)

by Diego Salinas on Oct 5, 2017 1:14:15 PM


Face it. Projects fail and fail badly, losing resources and demoralizing teams and collaborators who might’ve labored diligently. Even the best-laid plans can go sour; a project manager needs to spot the warning signs of an imminent project failure. Now, sit tight, take a look at these three reasons, and learn how to avoid them.

Poor Scope

All that’s well ends well. That’s why unclear objectives can break a project, even if it’s been carefully planned. Forget about the “we’ve always done it that way” mentality, and don’t use the same approach for every project. Keep your teams posted and up-to-date, helping them understand their responsibilities and position in the project.

Invest in flexible processes. We all like to think of goals as something set in stone, but sometimes we need to manage changing expectations to face problems. This means choosing and adopting a powerful methodology that lets you take the lead and steer the project back in place before it goes off a cliff.

Also, if, you happen to fail, enact a failure plan where you can enact corrective measures and restrict progress until everything’s been dealt with.


Broken Communications

It takes two to tango, and a studio has enough dancers to be a full ballet. You need to organize and centralize everything because it’s more than possible that not all the stakeholders understand information in the same way.

Once a project is at full speed, communication can dramatically decrease as every person is concentrated on their job. When you lose context and start thinking of others as assets, we start communicating less information than we think we are.

Bridge the gaps and create a decision-making process where the team is on the same page and teamwork is a must. Don’t just say things, mean them, and carry them further. Use as many channels to avoid breaking the message.

Empathy can break silos and help you understand how others work to avoid misunderstandings that cost not only time but also money. Speak the right language because there’s nothing obvious in a project.


Lack of Quality Control

Many project managers will create a schedule and just never update it. If they do, it’s only a number or a percentage. Failing to keep an eye on what’s going on derives in faulty products and deliverables. This also shows the staff that the PMs don’t care about their work and don’t even try to push the quality of the firm to an acceptable level.

While it sounds simple, quality management is more than just checks and balances. In the AEC industry, it means being proactive and spot the stakeholders’ expectations and allocate the resources in a way that shows commitment and exceeds what the client wanted.

Go beyond checklists and audits. Collect information, perform walkthroughs, test, and make your team members feel their work is not only evaluated but also valued.


Afraid of Losing Focus?

Frank is a cloud-based, project management platform designed to support Architecture and Engineering studios. Find documents, financial information, workflows, and keep track of your staff’s time, all in one place.  Let Frank take a load and avoid failing once again.