Project & Resource Management

Private and Public Project Problems: a Guide on How to Avoid Them


Major projects are necessary to make big changes, but often some of these projects risk to go over budget, overdue or fail completely. This is often partly due to inaccurate initial planning and estimations. Even for very experienced project managers, and teams as a whole it can be a mind-boggling task to attempt to get all of these factors accurate. This is where intelligent software comes into play. Humans are exceptionally good at tackling the soft-side of project management, and this part will probably not be possible to successfully assist by a machine anytime soon, but the hard-part on the other hand is very well conducted by hardware.

Project managers in both major private, and public organizations are faced with these problems on a daily-basis. How do you estimate time, budget and not least how the whole process is going to plan out - even before the project has begun its initial phases. Estimates like time spent on each feature of the project, budget allocated to each feature, utilization of team members (i.e. employees), and prevention of over-allocation.

Besides, the hard data initial planning - there are also often four other factors in play when a major, often public, IT-project is doomed to fail. These include, lack of a set specific goal of the project, lack of specification or what needs it should fulfill in the end, lack of involvement of the actual users, and last but not least changing requirements and needs during, and after the development and implementation stages. These are all major problems, since it can often take years to develop systems on a public scale, and at the same time they are sometimes following the waterfall-approach and delivered at the end stage. That’s usually not how IT-projects should be developed.

Most modern IT software projects are continually developed, adapted and controlled through an agile project management method. Agile makes sure that new requests are welcome, and that users are involved in the product development. It is open to new, or revised feature requirements, and thus hopefully serves a better product on a continuous basis. In an environment of rapid change and development it is paramount to operate with an agile mindset.

A 2016 report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), shows that for every 1 billion USD spent, 122 million of these will be wasted due to a lack of project performance. A further analysis by Geneca suggests that up to 75% of initiated projects are doomed to fail from the beginning. KeyedIN suggests that 50% of all Project Management Offices (PMOs) shutdown within the first three years, and fewer than 1/3 projects were successfully completed on time and budget in 2013, according to Standish Group. Furthermore a very crucial factor in project management is to have a set plan, stick to it as long as it makes sense, and track the progress on a continuous basis to know exactly where the specific project is in the process compared to what was initially planned out. Though, 1/3 projects (34%) do not have a set baseline to keep it all on track, according to Wellingtone. This obviously needs to change.

What exactly can you do, in order to avoid some of these problems?
We made a simple list with things you should definitely take into consideration.

  • Intelligent estimations
    Use intelligent software solutions to estimate and plan your projects. This way you're able to make better justified decisions, based on verified data, for your business.
  • Specify a project goal
    With a shared goal in mind - everybody knows where the project should be heading. Thus, you make sure that the project stays on track, and actually gets the job done in the end.
  • Determine needs to fulfill
    Determine which needs the end product should fulfill. Which gap is it exactly that this specific product should help to close. What should it improve, make easier, more effective, etc. This should usually align with the overall business mission.
  • Involve the actual users
    Who knows best which needs they have? The end user.
    The actual user should always be involved in the development process. Feedback is crucial, and adaptation is needed.
  • Project management method
    Make sure to use the right project management method. Agile is most often the best fit for projects which are influenced by rapid industry changes. Waterfall is often the best fit for more traditional projects that doesn't necessarily change requirements later on.

Below, we will provide you with a figure of just a chosen few of either completely failed projects, or projects that ended up overdue, and / or over budget. This happened at least partly due to the lack of inspection of some of the points mentioned above. The examples are collected from Denmark, UK and the US.

There are of course various reasons why some of these projects failed either completely or to a certain extend, but what is certain is that artificial intelligence could most likely have assisted the project, managers and teams in their work, and made a more solid foundation for the project to built upon.

Now, all failed projects are not just bad, and a total waste of resources. Many of these projects provide lessons learned, and might be included in another product later on. We always learn new stuff, and it’s certain that some projects will always fail, but with the assistance of artificial intelligence - it’s also certain that at least some of those risks can be limited or completely avoided in a much earlier stage, if applied and used correctly by all team members that is.

We at Forecast, are currently developing a brand new type of project management software that brings some of the more advanced features from major software solutions into a more simplified environment. Thus, making it easier for everybody to manage their projects in an effective manner. At the same time the everyday management is supported by artificial intelligence based on verified data, making your projects more reliable and your business decisions more justified.

Written by

Hello! I'm Kasper, and I'm doing Marketing at Forecast. Apart from that, I enjoy experimenting with various projects to see where my imagination brings me.

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