Why are nearly 50% of all Strategic Projects Failing?

We need to address this challenge immediately and stop so many strategic projects failing by changing our project approach

Can you venture a guess as the number of Strategic Projects Failing? According to a recent PMI report* nearly 50% of all projects fail globally, across all sectors and all industries. This is a shocking statistic! What is not surprising is the huge sigh of relief we all feel when we look at our own basket of project driven initiatives and acknowledge that this global stats probably accurately reflects our status-quo.

The question that emerges is “Can industry continue to support this level of success? “. In a word, No.  In a world were innovation , renovation and transformation is required by the bucket-full we cannot be losing nearly 1 out of every 2 dollars (Rand) spent on  these projects. These arrays of quick-sand projects severely hamper the ability of the organisation to pivot to market demand, competitor activity or new opportunities. We need to address this challenge immediately and stop so many strategic projects failing.

How to prevent Strategic Projects Failing:

  1. Review the way projects are defined, measured and controlledHow much tolerance is acceptable to maintain scope and budget? At what point should a project be considered nonviable and be terminated.
  2. Define a list of “kill point” criteria applicable to the project at its definition.
  3. Hold stakeholders accountable to the results of their decisions which result in scope and cost deviations.
  4. Dramatically improve they way projects are planned; initially and continuously throughout the life cycle of the project.
  5. Ensure the project teams are sufficiently educated in the project approach which the organisation has chosen, and not their own definitions of what or how something needs to be done.

To implement these changes within established project organisations will require complete buy-in from senior management. But the number speak for themselves; the strategic projects failing are simply too high and require a drastically new approach to find success.

*PMI, 2014, The high cost of low performance.

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