Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project Failure Reason

When we think of reasons for project failure and search the very trusted net, a number of reasons pop up. They can be broadly classified into the following four categories:
- People related
- Process related
- Product related
- Technology related

A number of issues and challenges need to be addressed in order for successful management and delivery of the project. In this blog post, I will be sharing a personal experience regarding the importance of stakeholders in the effective development and completion of a product/ project.
Being from IT background myself, I have seen and experienced a number of reasons responsible for failure of different projects. Reasons ranging from some general issues like lack of motivation of the resources or some unidentified risk etc or some very specific concerns like lack of expertise, budget constraints or lack of processes and procedures etc. However, the reason that I would be discussing in this post is how a project failed because of the lack of involvement of the stakeholders i.e. the end users.

I was part of a ten-member team working on a project for an internal client, wherein the product was to be used and implemented within the client’s department. Since, the beginning of the project this client was the single point of contact for the team. However, he was not the only stakeholder involved and this product was to be used by many more people. Like for any IT project all the necessary procedures were taken into consideration and the necessary steps performed. The requirements were gathered and analyzed and the feasibility study was conducted. Later, the development and the testing were done. Along with these steps the documentation was completed and the processes were followed. However, on the date of delivery, over a conference call, it was not only the client that was present but also the intended users. The discussion that followed was not very encouraging either for the end users or for the team. As the conversation began the team realized that the stakeholders expectations were different from the requirements specified to the team. It was recognized that in order to complete those expectations it would require a considerable amount of time and effort from the team. As a result at the end of the conversation this project was scrapped. At the end of it there are a number of questions that rose - What if this was not an internal project? What if the scope of the project was larger? What if the organization’s reputation was at stake? Could then we afford such a shortcoming? The answer probably is – NO. The basic learning from this project is that
- Stakeholder involvement is utmost important for the success of the project.
- Not only the developing team should be clear of the expectations, but also the different stakeholders should be on the same page.

Prepared by NG