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Whose fault is it when a project fails?

(by Luc Moens)

When a project fails, who is to blame? Is it completely the fault of the project manager? Or is a failed project the result of others who aren’t doing their job? Whether those were the users who didn’t provide clear requirements or the business analysts who failed to validate the requirements during analysis. Maybe the developers dropped the ball when designing the solution, or maybe the stakeholders didn’t provide the right resources or not enough of them for the project and endangered the project that way.

Generally there is enough blame to go around when a project fails. But it is the project manager’s task to manage and deliver the project and who is responsible for all problems and obstacles in the way of successfully delivering the project in time and on budget. So, at the end of the day, there’s only one person at fault for a failed project: the project manager.

Or maybe there’s somebody else who’s actually to blame? William Deming has a clear opinion:

“95% of the problem is the process, only 5% the people.”

Maybe that’s not always true, but more often than we would like to admit, project organisations have much better people skills and tools than they have work processes.

When you approach the failing of a project as a defect in the process, it works much better for the project organisation than yelling at the project manager and calling him every name under the sun. Because then you have pinpointed the problem!

Mojeo is specialised in analysing and improving the processes within your project organisation. We can help your organisation to establish and manage the PMO (ProjectManagementOffice), guide your organisation in the transition from the Waterfall method to the Agile/scrum working method, or design a coaching course for your project managers.

Interested in hearing how Mojeo can make the projects in your organisation manageable? Fill out our contact form here, and we’ll contact you!