Nobody wants a project to fail. Well that is not exactly true. Some stakeholders do want a project to fail because of the impact the project will have on them but, as a project manager you of course, would not want your project to fail. You are probably going to do the right things to ensure your project succeeds. You will want to consider looking for signs that your project is failing. Here are three high level signs that your project might be failing.
- Communication is breaking down. This is a sign the project is failing. When teams are working in silos then information might not be shared. When decisions are being made by one group and those decision are not being shared with others then communication is not flowing and people will not be informed. If the project team is asking questions about information that should be well known, then something is wrong. Communication is one of the key ingredients for a successful project. As the project manager, if you are seeing communication breakdown then you should mitigate the issues immediately. Refer to any communication plans that have been developed. Ensure meetings are open to the appropriate stakeholders. Continue to broadcast to everyone information and where info can be found such as meeting notes and status reports.
- Variances are another high level sign the project is failing. For instance, the project is not tracking towards a deadline and the gap is starting to get larger. This is problem but not uncommon. Variances will be a part of any project. But If your project schedule and budget are both having many variances, then your project could be failing. This seems obvious but so often project schedules and budgets are not being maintained and reviewed on a regular basis. Variances could be occurring, but nobody is aware. Regular review of schedules and budgets should be a constant activity for project managers to avoid failure.
- Scope Creep is a clear indicator your project may be failing. Just like variances, scope creep will occur on projects but if it is frequent or has major impact then this is a sign the project is a failing. Every project should have a change management process to formally deal with changes. When changes do not go through the change management process then scope creep is occurring and could potentially have a negative impact. As a project manager, when you become aware of scope creep, you should consider the changes might have major impact on the project and insist the item go through change control. The more the project team and stakeholders are aware of the importance of change control the more often everyone will comply.