Projects fail because the required People Change is not managed

The Standish Group was formed in 1985 and is based in Boston [MA].  The Standish Group is the recognised leader in analysing project and value performance.  Information on real-life IT [IS] failures is collated in order to assess a specific project against a database of cases and specific criteria (CHAOS 10 Success Factors).  The CHAOS Report monitors the % of projects that are:

  • Successful (completed On Time and On Budget with required Features and Functions),
  • Challenged (Late with Budget Overruns) and
  • Failed (Cancelled before Completion or Delivered and Never Used)

It is important to note that the Standish Group Methodology has been questioned of late.  There are concerns regarding the underlying data and measurement methods used as the basis of the study on IT project failures. The CHAOS data and methods of measurement are not available for verification. Without having the opportunity to examine the statistical aggregate data, we should acknowledge that the CHAOS report findings shown in the table below are their own independent benchmark:

These findings show that the percentage of Failed Projects is at the same level as 10 years ago.

In this period there has been significant investment in updating Programme and Project Management methods [Processes] and tools [Technology].

So why are projects still failing?

Projects fail because people aren’t bought in to the objectives and outcomes.

We communicate too many critical details verbally—Studies have shown that oral communication (speaking) is not only the most-often used form of communication, but it is also the least memorable. People remember only 10% of what they hear on average versus 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see.

How Much Do People Remember?

We only tell them “what they need to know” which often isn’t enough – Project Managers tell their team members only “what we think they need to know” but all too often we don’t know what they need to know.

We don’t properly explain the business objectives behind the projects – Team buy-in is important; if your team doesn’t understand how their work advances the business’ objectives then the chances that they might do something counter-productive increase.

So the main focus for this weeks posts are that you need to attend to People Matters if you want your project to be Successful.

Read on for insight and interventions that will help you to deliver Transformational Change.


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