Project failures are all too common - some make the headlines, the vast majority are quickly forgotten. The reasons for failure are wide and varied. Some common causes are...
Lack of co-ordination of resources and activities
Lack of communication with interested parties, leading to products being delivered which are not what the Customer wanted
Poor estimation of duration and costs, leading to projects taking more time and costing more money than expected
Inadequate planning of resources, activities, and scheduling
Lack of control over progress so that projects do not reveal their exact status until too late
Lack of quality control, resulting in the delivery of products that are unacceptable or unusable.
Without a project management method, those who commission a project, those who manage it and those who work on it will have different ideas about how things should be organised and when the different aspects of the project will be completed.
Those involved will not be clear about how much responsibility, authority and accountability they have and, as a result, there will often be confusion surrounding the project. Without a project management method, projects are rarely completed on time and within acceptable cost - this is especially true of large projects. A good project management method will guide the project through a controlled, well-managed, visible set of activities to achieve the desired results.
PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) and Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) adopts the principles of good project management to avoid the problems identified above and so helps to achieve successful projects. Some key principles of these methods are..
A project is a finite process with a definite start and end
Projects always need to be managed in order to be successful
For genuine commitment to the project, all parties must be clear about why the project is needed, what it is intended to achieve, how the outcome is to be achieved, and what their responsibilities are in that achievement.
Nevertheless, experience has taught us that all businesses are different and require their own set of rules. This is not to dismiss the many methodologies that have been documented over many years but to suggest you should draw on them, and customise them, utilising them all as appropriate. The outcome in knowledge and base practice is to develop a process that meets your business requirements a 100%, using technology where appropriate with the proviso that it exists to serve the business not change the business to suit technology.