Why do projects fail?

Simplistically speaking, a project fails if it fails to deliver the required scope, to the required level of quality, on schedule and within budget.

So if the project manager keeps a vigilant eye on scope, quality, cost and time, there’s a decent chance of success.

What’s the biggest underlying cause of failure? That question was discussed on a podcast I listened to this week. The interviewee was Neal Whitten.

Neal’s worth listening to – more than 2 decades at IBM and more than 2 decades since running his own consulting, mentoring, training & speaking business. Neal has found that the number 1 reason why projects fail is that the project managers fail to manage to their top 3 priorities every day.

I listened and immediately thought to myself – this applies to business failures too!

What are your priorities for today?

If you can’t immediately say what they are, then deciding on what they should be is a good place to start.

If you do know what they are, are you working on them?

If we know what our top 3 priorities are each day, and if we work on them those same days, then we’ve no guarantee of success. But we’re eliminating a possible cause of failure!

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