Learn 4 Reasons Projects Fail and How to Avoid Pitfalls!

Why Do Projects Fail? (And How to Avoid Pitfalls!)

Helen Warren

Jan 11 2017

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Corporate employees have operational duties that they complete daily and project performance duties based on a corporation’s large-scale objectives. The strategies and methods for completing each project are different due to costs, deadlines, and other factors that vary from project to project. Although a company may use its best resources to complete a project, there are still chances of the project failing. The reasons are deeper than just mismanagement and incompetent employees.

1. Risk Calculations

When it comes to complex and technical projects, focusing on results is highly important. Project managers have to keep their eyes on the finish line in order to help employees stay on track. One part of successful project completion is calculating and preparing for potential pitfalls.

Project managers give a lot of attention to budgets and resource allocation so that the company avoids execution risk. However, what managers do not know is that more risks still lie ahead even if all tasks finish on time. One such pitfall project managers encounter is a failure to complete the smaller tasks they pushed aside earlier.

The importance of these tasks emerges near the end of the project when there simply isn’t enough time before the deadline. This risk makes it important for project managers to predict requirements at the beginning when they analyze a project.

The failure to bring together all parts of a complex project is what can bring about its downfall. This risk makes it essential for project managers to properly think through a plan to integrate all the various aspects of a project.

2. Communication Between Project Members

Effective communication between all the people involved in the project can prove crucial for successful execution. Information about updates and progress should be available to everyone who’s on board. Executive managers should be given information regarding the project’s status as well.

The major problem is that sometimes, team members don’t have complete access to all the necessary information, particularly if the project manager denies them access. By the time they do receive an update, it is too late to change the goal. As a result, the project might get canceled.

While the project manager isn’t really at fault, the reason for failure is that managers are spread thin and have to focus on multiple projects simultaneously. After a basic overview, they are unable to dedicate sufficient time to each project.

The same issue applies to members that work on project tasks. Since each team member is working on tasks for a different project, they don’t know which one to prioritize, while their project managers don’t know which task a member is completing on a specific day. These problems may make it necessary for team members that work on a project to conduct daily meetings to discuss progress and task completion.

3. Prioritizing a Project

Many corporations deal with the dilemma of having more opportunities than they can manage. There is a chance they take on more projects than they can handle. Prioritizing and completing all projects according to their given deadlines can be difficult.

This step leads to a lack of clarity regarding which task you need to do first. Making this worse, at times executive managers don’t offer sufficient guidance if they provide unclear instructions or don’t provide information about goal priorities.

Project managers have no option but to move forward when it comes to completing a project. Putting project managers in charge of multiple projects at the same time will be faced with the same issues as mentioned before. Most of them are highly critical of the unrealistic timelines and budgets they face.

4. Estimating Timelines and Budgets

Estimating timelines and budgets is crucial for planning any project since these are a project’s roadmap. Some projects remain incomplete due to unrealistic timelines and inaccurate budget estimates. There is a major difference between a late completion and setting a later date, as any delay will lead to an increase in the cost of the project.

The main reason for this is a failure to identify and predict situations that may arise, and this pushes the completion date behind schedule. Furthermore, inaccurate budget estimates and timelines are often a result of looking at records of previous projects the company executed successfully. This approach is ineffective since it might not be suitable under the current circumstances.

At that time, the company may have allocated different employees and resources to the project, all of which change the scope of the work. A better approach is focusing on the current situation of the company. This step proves effective in estimating proper values for a budget and an ample amount of time to complete project tasks.


Many of these factors that cause a project to fail are avoidable with effective project management software. The software acts as a database to store information and project solutions. It will allow all authorized personnel to have easy access to project updates and details.

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