The Eight Keys to Project Management Failure

Project managers are always looking for success in their projects. No matter how simple or how complex, the project must be designed for success. But sometimes, in the execution of the project, we forget to maintain the path toward success.

But if, by chance, a project manager wants to fail, these are the keys! If you want to succeed instead, then use this list as a checkpoint to make sure that what you are doing doesn't appear on this list.

1. Take Your Time. Project managers who are bent on failing should let their team know that there is no rush. Letting the project become the victim of competing priorities for team members is a step toward disaster.

2. Give Responsibility But Not Authority. Project managers are adept at taking responsibility, but not delegating authority to them as well invites failure. Having to check at every step along the way with superiors for resources and to make decisions will so hamstring the manager as to make his or her job nearly impossible,

3. Project Sponsors Must Be Passive Participants. To attempt to engage sponsors, stakeholders and others in the implementation of the project is too open and communicative. Sponsors should be kept in the dark all along the way in order to keep a project destined for collapse.

4. One the Project Starts, Stop Planning. For a project to flop, the planning process should stop when the project begins. To continue to modify the project plan based on realities during implementation is too flexible. To ensure difficulties, refuse to adjust the plan to reality.

5. Focus on Process, Not People. It does not take good people to doom a project. They are only essential if you want to succeed. Find the poorest people you can, and then put stumbling blocks in their way to test their abilities. Making the process cumbersome and spending valuable time on bureaucratic procedures is a project death knell.

6. Forget About Quality. Everyone knows that project are all about time and budget. Do whatever it takes to meet these factors, and ignore the need for a quality output. Quality is tough to measure, anyway. Measuring inputs is easy and defensible.

7. Avoid Being Specific as to Outcomes. If you are vague in your definitions of the projects deliverables, you cannot be held accountable for not meeting them. Scrimping on the time to give definition to the project up front will give you more time to correct mistakes later.

8. Operate in a Vacuum. With multiple projects underway in an organization at any given time, a project team may be pulled in many different directions. By ignoring these other projects and working the one that is most important to you will engender resentment and inaction for the team members with multiple duties. When your project is unresponsive to others, it also will be the lowest priority.

Operating in this way will ensure that project managers have projects that fail, and that they will not be asked again to manage an important project. Success has always been vastly overrated anyway!