Project Failure: 4 Early Warning Signs to Watch Out for After Business School

October 19, 2021

A quick overview of key project failure indicators

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Project failure can be understood as the moment when projects no longer meet a set of previously agreed-upon conditions. This failure to fulfill stakeholder expectations and satisfaction can occur at any stage of the project lifecycle, making failure detection an important aspect of successful project management.

Professionals completing an MBA program in Project Management are able to further enhance their business and leadership skills, discovering effective ways of managing the diverse interests of different project stakeholders. Being able to detect the early signs of project failure with these high stakes becomes an imperative skill, enabling project managers to cut costs and save resources. In order to better reach project goals and ensure a successful project delivery, professionals can review the following early signs of project failure. Read on to discover these insights!

1. Poor Organization and a General Lack of Clear Guidelines

Organization is an absolute must in successful project management. Projects that are poorly organized often result in failure, particularly when team members have no clear guidelines to follow. Without specific agreed-upon deliverables, project milestones can easily be missed. This makes organization incredibly important, allowing project managers to prepare the right resources with the right timeframe and budget in mind.

It should be noted that changing the scope or focus of a project can also pose a notable risk. These changes are typically made to redirect efforts towards specific milestones. However, they can impact the overall goals of the project—which now may differ from the agreed-upon objectives set in place by key stakeholders.

2. Addressing Communication and Leadership Issues after Taking MBA Courses

Poor communication is one of the most alarming indicators of project failure. Here, key information can be blocked, preventing the free-flow of knowledge among different teams. This can also prevent project managers from identifying errors and correcting them in a timely and effective manner. Without strong communication, collaboration is drastically reduced—impacting the productivity and success of a project.

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Open and consistent communication can help prevent project failure

Professionals earning an MBA in Project Management are able to enhance their social and communication skills, which are particularly useful when working to avoid project failure. By establishing open and regular communication, project managers can ensure that projects are progressing smoothly. They also become better able to respond to any deviations, addressing key changes more efficiently.

3. Increasing Urgency as a Result of Poor Planning

Another key indication of project failure is a sudden sense of urgency. As a result of poor planning, new tasks may take longer than anticipated to complete. This creates a scheduling conflict, where teams need to work overtime in order to meet milestones and avoid further delays. Project managers can address this urgency by reprioritizing certain tasks, guaranteeing that the most important ones get completed first.

Increasing urgency also negatively impacts resource management and productivity—making it more difficult for teams to meet expectations in a realistic framework. To avoid these issues, professionals can rely on the skills they developed in business school to reconsider and asses their team’s abilities and limitations. This includes managing team experience, budgets and timelines, as well as project complexity in order to prevent project failure.

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Project managers can reprioritize tasks to ensure that key goals are met

4. Decreasing Interest and Engagement among Team Members and Stakeholders

Low interest or engagement can be a big indicator of project failure. Team members who are actively involved in the project typically contribute information and feedback more readily, creating a positive work environment. Those who are not as interested or engaged often hold back the team—making it more difficult for project managers to motivate other members and promote progress.

This disinterest can even be detected among key stakeholders at the executive level, who may be less engaged in the decision-making process. This can be particularly harmful to the success of a project, particularly since executive stakeholders provide the necessary leadership. Professionals in project management can work towards establishing a work culture that actively promotes open communication and collaboration—using their strong leadership skills to guide and motivate their team.

Are you interested in taking MBA courses in project management?

Contact WU Executive Academy for more information!

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