Why do projects fail – pictorial 

If we keep facing the same problems, why do we keep behaving in the same way to them?

Do we really take the time to learn from our past similar experiences to avoid repeating them? 

There are some things that are completely out of our control but there are also things which are completely in our control. 

There are times when we need to hit the breaks, stop the cycle and critically learn from our past. The pictorial above shows some examples of why some projects might have failed – a mixture of behaviours, systems, processes, leadership and methodology. 

Do you ever sit with your team and before building for the future, learn from the past? Being action focused, mile stone tracking and rigid in the focus for “doing something” isn’t always the right thing to do. Project teams need to LEARN more about the problem and past attempts rather than just race ahead. Traditional action plans list out “who, what, when” but fail to include why. 

Let’s focus less on what and how others should be doing  – how about focusing on what we should be doing as individuals?why don’t we lead and show the way? The purpose of this pictorial is also self-reflection. If there is one thing we can control, it’s how we behave and how we develop. There is little point in telling people what “they should be doing” – it does not work for many reasons. You need to show the way, become one of them, build trust and together go on a route of discovery. 

Fire fighting problems is a clsssic response to long term complex problems. It’s not easy balancing the pressures of today and the vision of tomorrow. One key ingredient that I see missing alot is investing time, training and support in staff to build the vision of tomorrow. It is not the project team that should be using their skills to bring and create the improvements, they should be using their skills to bring improvements through those who deal with the “problem” on a daily basis. Sustainability comes through the people who run the systems. If you ever come across someone who knows a solution before knowing the staff involved, chances are, it’s not the right solution. 

I’m writing to many words now, so I’ll finish by saying: there is nothing greater than learning from the past, from behaviours and experiences. These are things that no statistics, project plans or mapping different states can give you. 

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