This last 2 years has seen me visit Switzerland (4 times), Northern Ireland (twice), Amsterdam, USA (3 times) and UAE. (This is in addition to the many different visits to various parts of mainland UK.) The experience has been good and the groups very passionate about learning and project management.
I usually include a session on what goes wrong in projects. What is interesting is that all of the points raised are not new and are covered in most of the countries visited. They include:
- scope creep
- sponsors/project management roles not being clear
- unclear objectives
- poor risk management
- the need for well trained resources (not necessarily project management skills)
- competing priorities
- too many projects
- failing to engage effectively with stakeholders & lack of engagement by stakeholders
All the above were given as indicators of project management problems.
This leads me to ask several questions:
- Why am I getting repeat project management problems – why aren’t companies sorting out these issues?
- Where is the leadership (and ownership) in companies? A strong word about the need for say better scope management is surely better than sending someone to a project management course for a few days?
- Why are risks so poorly managed exposing companies to many possible scenarios?
- Besides sending a few people on a 2 day course what else are they doing to try and create a culture where project management is values and used?
Sir Michael Gershon said when referring to project management failures: “Failure for novel reasons is still a novelty.” In other words, we know all of the reasons why projects fail however we fail to do anything about them.
I will write next week about learning and the different ways people think learning can be shared within their companies.
But, my question for you is this; why are we repeating the same mistakes over and over again?