Why do projects fail so often? Top 10 reasons!

Especially large projects are threatened by failure. Construction projects, but also other major projects are at risk. What is the reason for this?
Andreas Rüter, head of the management consultancy AlixPartners in Germany, says in an interview with Finance-TV: "Time and budget overruns are the rule for large change projects". But why is that?



Major projects often fail and just as often it is due to the same problems. We have summarized the top 10 most common reasons for you:

  1. Missing expectation values: Projects that affect several company divisions and then have to be handled, usually in addition to day-to-day business, are often particularly susceptible to the annoying overruns. Delays and miscalculations are particularly frequent when there is no precedent project or experience.
  2. Redundancies: Major projects often change their scope several times over time and/or the project participants do not agree on the goal. Work is done for nothing or, in the worst case, redundant.
  3. Long planning horizons: Time and project costs are interdependent - and the time required is usually underestimated. Interestingly, this is especially the case when projects are planned for a very long time. The longer the planning period, the more likely it is that the original framework conditions will change.
  4. Lack of involvement: Major projects require constant involvement from the management level or project management - and this is often not possible in addition to day-to-day business. Thus, decisions remain open and cause further delays.
  5. Importance not known: Major projects are often neglected and project progress is often only tracked by Controlling. The individual project team members are not aware of the explosive nature of the project or do not know what the overall performance is like. This is how projects petering out.
  6. There is no bottom-up feedback: Especially the project staff at the grassroots level usually know why something is currently not working. However, traditional and hierarchical systems do not allow an effective flow of information within the project.
  7. There is no bottom-up feedback: Especially the project staff at the grassroots level usually know why something is currently not working. However, traditional and hierarchical systems do not allow an effective flow of information within the project.
  8. Mismanagement of consultants: External project staff are inadequately managed. Budgets increase abruptly and companies become dependent.
  9. Transparency: Employees are insufficiently involved in projects and are only sporadically informed about project progress in meetings.
  10. Knowledge management: Experience only flows fragmentarily into new projects and is acquired anew each time.

It is not easy to get each of these reasons for failure under control. But even a sharpened awareness of possible weaknesses can help... and Falcon too! Try it out! Simply write to us at info@nordantech.com.