5 Ways Your Projects Could Fail and How to Avoid Them

Many of us have experienced first-hand how certain issues can negatively impact project decision-making. Below are some tried and tested tips on how to address them.

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 1: Lack of group cohesion

This is often demonstrated by differing or overlapping agendas within the project team. This also causes confusion in terms of the perceived end state and everyone has a different view on how to get there

a) Create a shared understanding of the project goals and objectives at the outset by producing a ‘Terms of Reference’ document

b) Distribute to all parties including the Project Sponsor in draft form for review and feedback within an agreed time-frame

c) Edit, amend and revise as appropriate and publish the final version to all project team members and key stakeholders.

2: Role Confusion

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In a multi-functional project situation it can often be challenging to understand the various project roles, responsibilities and associated boundaries.

The result?

Poor decision making by the wrong person or at the wrong level, which in many instances causes the project to fail.

Pre-agreed terms of reference can address this problem by providing an overview on scope of individual roles and responsibilities and clarity on decision making levels.

3: Lack of senior management buy-in

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Numerous projects are initiated on a daily basis with no clearly defined business case!

It is critical that a business case is prepared and includes the ‘risks’ and ‘benefits’, as well as the costs to the business in both financial and non-financial terms.

4: Limited skills and expertise within the project team

Create and maintain a skills inventory, determine potential training needs as part of the analysis conducted while developing the business case. Include proposals on how best the organization can plug any gaps for essential skills required for project success.

5: Lack of visibility of new risks, issues and changes

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Consider using tools such as IBM Notes to develop and implement a risk, issues and change management system. This provides both project and senior management with first-time visibility in these three areas, enabling them to decide on the required corrective action, avoiding rework, time delays and extra cost.

Images: Shutterstock

This article first appeared in the ICIA Journal Spring 2015 Edition  http://www.guildoficia.ca

About Jenny Okonkwo

A MESSAGE TO VICE PRESIDENTS IN FINANCE You know how you are continuously frustrated with trying to balance external compliance requirements with supporting the business internally? I solve this. I do this by using my natural talent for detecting and eliminating waste, duplication, inefficiencies. Documenting procedures, streamlining business processes to help define and clarify roles and responsibilities. Automating manual outdated systems, designing and implementing new ways of working, analysing business data to improve decision making. I help companies develop and improve the internal controls over their financial reporting by assisting in the delivery of Sarbanes Oxley (SOX 404) readiness programs. This allows focus to be placed on compliance and knowing that internal business is taken care of, helping to minimize financial risk to maximize commercial opportunity. Even though I am an accountant by trade, I’ll always be a problem solver at heart, which is shown here. I’m always looking for a new problem to solve, so if you’ve got a doozy you need a hand with, feel free to contact me directly at 647 838 9606 or drop me a line at jenny@transform-consulting.ca I have also helped local business entrepreneurs and sole proprietors prepare their voluntary disclosure applications, computerize their manual accounting systems, remove their record-keeping backlogs, automate their processes using both cloud based and desktop accounting solutions, prepare their personal and corporate tax returns. Join my LinkedIn Group now to brainstorm and collaborate from any of these perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter and Linkedin.
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