7 Reasons Why Project Fail and How to Avoid Them at All Costs


Starting a new project is thrilling. You have your team, your goals, and your process all ready to go.

Then, disaster hits. One small change totally derails your project.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year.

That’s not the most confidence-boosting project management statistic.

The question is, how do you avoid project management failures?

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The top 7 reasons why projects fail
  • Project failure examples to warn you
  • How to prevent project failure

Let’s get to it.

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7 common reasons why projects fail

Failed projects aren’t just bad for company success or team morale. They’re also costly.

For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance.

Here are the top reasons why projects spin out of control.

1. Missing resources

The lack of resources is the main reason for project management failures.

While in theory resources should be allocated at the start of the project, due to lack of communication between a project manager and senior management, this step is often missed.

Or, halfway through, it becomes clear that a project doesn’t have the team or tools to get done on time.

And when resources aren’t provided properly, the project doesn’t fully function.

2. Poor scope

Before a project begins, a clear objective must be created. You should use SMART project management goals to set a finite direction and zero in on your project’s scope.

A subpar project scope, or lack of one altogether, is one of the main reasons why projects fail.

Sure, it seems like most projects begin with defining it’s objective and requirements.

But in fact, only about half of project managers take the time to define the project scope.

Without an objective, there is no stakeholder buy-in, no direction for the team, and no real understanding of what’s within or outside of scope.

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