Whenever a project is started, it may either succeed or fail. Successful projects are those that are completed within the project timelines, with the forecasted budgets, and are likely to satisfy the clients. Failed projects are those that are late, are expensive than expected, and are unsatisfactory (Kerzner, 2013). An example of a failed project I know entailed the construction of a water supply project for the world’s poorest-in Africa. Various factors led to the failure of the project. The first aspect entailed lack of stakeholder input. The water supply project was to be funded and sponsored by a non-governmental organization to supply water to the local community. The project failed because the relevant stakeholders did not input the necessary efforts and resources. The second reason for failure was unclear objectives. The non-governmental organization foreseeing the project did not have a clear understanding of what it wanted to achieve with the project once it was complete. For example, there were no piping project or storage facilities in place to help in the distribution of the water. Besides, it was not clear who the targeted community were.
The third reason for failure was insufficient planning. There was no clear indication of how the resources for project would be channeled and who would manage the project. Besides, there was no local community involvement, which led to incoherence and thus failure. The fourth reason for failure was unrealistic timeframes and schedules. The project managers allocated little time than required for the project of that nature, which meant rush and thus poor quality of work, which did not meet the recommended standards. The final reason for the project failure entailed inadequate resources. The project was started, but it stalled midway reason being that the resources need to finance such an expensive project were not available.
The project management processes in which the project failure occurred were scope definition and resource planning. In defining the scope, the project team failed to define the exact resource requirements in the sense of time, finances and skills. Had this stage been comprehensive, then the project would not have failed from inadequacy of resources and time. Besides, poor resource planning comes into play. The project team should have initiated a project whose resource requirements were consistent with those at hand. Had this been done, the project would have succeeded without a complaint for inadequate resources.
To prevent failure of similar projects in the future, various recommendations can be adopted for project plans and project management activities. Firstly, a project should be well planned before initiation using a project definition document. A project team should not jump in and start a project, but it needs to first describe the project and define its deliverable (Kerzner, 2013). The planning should make clear of objectives, scope, and risks. Secondly, project teams should ensure that they have the right technologies, adequate resources, and are well equipped with skills and expertise. With these, there is no chance that the project will fail. Finally, project failure can be prevented by encouraging collaborative participation by all stakeholders (Kerzner, 2013). Duties, roles, and responsibilities should be well defined so that each stakeholder is assigned to particular assignments, and failure or success is merited at the stakeholder’s level. When the stakeholders are well informed of what they are supposed to do, the project is more likely to succeed than fail.
- Project Failures. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wflrating.org/project-failures/
- Paulson, T. (2013, January 25). The problem of cheap water (fixes). Retrieved from http://www.humanosphere.org/basics/2013/01/the-problem-of-cheap-water/
- Smith-Nelson, M. (2013, August 23). Guest Op-Ed: Water projects everywhere, but little accountability. Retrieved from http://www.humanosphere.org/basics/2013/08/guest-op-ed-water-projects-still-lacking-accountability/
- Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.