How do you identify a failing project?? Back on May 1, I wrote about why software projects fail. Thanks for the response to the post and the suggestions. Here is a great companion piece from Rick Cook writing for CIO – How to Spot a Failing Project. Rick introduces this paper by optimistically saying that project managers are getting better and more sophisticated at managing software development. However, even today according to Rick, only one-third of all projects are considered complete successes. He believes that a key to successful project management is to spot problems early while there is still time for course corrections.
I highly recommend his entire article. Here is a peek at a few of his potential pending-failure metrics:
- Lack of interest including missed meetings, not participating in discussions, or not paying attention
- A “No-Bad-News” environment
- Lots of overtime
- Diversion of resources
- Missing intermediate milestones
If you have a favorite “tell” that makes you uneasy about a project’s success or failure, please share.
July 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm
I have published a very short article on the symptoms of project failure. Following are some of my favorites:
* Repeated missed deadlines
* Constantly Changing Priorities
* Increasing levels of management’s intervention
“Waning Support” is probably the same thing as “Lack of interest”…
July 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm
Thanks for sharing Michael! I really agree with ” constant change in priorities”. Like your post on this!!
December 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm
I could think of some other ways to spot a failing project
1 no sponsor or project board – find one or give up
2 none accredited project manager with seat of the pants management style
3 no risk or issue management
4 no bottom up planning
January 6, 2012 at 11:41 am
[…] tasks are yellow flags to project managers that may signal the need to ask for help. (see: Spotting a failing project and How to create and use predictive project […]