Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3 Reasons for Project Failure

Last week my daughter called me for some help. She's working on a degree in Ancient History from the University of Leceister, UK. She's entering the final phase--the thesis--and she was struggling with the move from researching to writing.

Two weeks ago I spent time with a former AT&T project manager for large portions of the west coast. His specialty was organizing projects. He said there are three reasons that a large percentage of projects fail

Reason #1 - Missing or inadequate time/task outline.
What has to happen, in what order and in what critical time frames? This is the easiest piece to rectify. You make a list of all that has to happen, rank order your list by importance and time, assign each item a number, and place them in your timeline.

Reason #2 - Breaking the 20/80 rule.
Yes, it is 20/80. We're not used to hearing those numbers in that order. It means spend 20% of your time analyzing, planning and preparing and 80% of your time in action. What often happens in failed projects is 80% of the time and energy is spent getting reading to start. By the time activity begins there are not enough resources remaining to actually carry out the project.

Reason #3 - Failure to start.
Sometimes projects fail simply because no one pushes the start button. Don't let the fear factor rule. Push the button and go.

My daughter and I laid out a simple plan: begin writing something now, write your hardest chapter first. Do a research blast to fill in holes. Revise. Repeat with the next chapter. Write every day. She knows her due date, she has a task/timeline. She's pushing the start button. I think she'll accomplish her project. Now get yours started!

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