According to a detailed study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, that involved more than 10,000 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries, only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed 100% of their projects. Another study conducted by Standish Group indicated that only one-third of projects completed inside the deadline and budget. Project managers who are serious about minimizing the project failure must be aware of common causes of project failure.

In this article, we will shed some light on some of the common causes that can lead to project failure.

1. Lack of a Scope Document 

Almost 75% of IT executives think that their project is doomed from the beginning. Do you know why? The main reason is regularly changing project scope and requirements. How can you expect your team members to perform well when they are not clear about the project’s scope?

In the absence of a proper scope document, you can never assign tasks, let alone monitor the performance of your team because you’re not sure about the scope of the project in the first place.

Making a detailed scope document that highlights all the stakeholders’ requirements is imperative for a successful project delivery as it enables your team members to understand what they have to do and sets a clear direction and objective for them to achieve.

2. Inconsistent Communication

survey conducted by Spike Cavell shows that 57% of projects failed due to poor communication. This makes it one of the major causes of project failure. To save your project from failure, you need to establish a clear communication channel. Additionally, you should use a project management system which enables smooth communication within your project team.

Effective communication within any organization is important to keep all your team members on the same page, avoid confusions and keep them motivated. By communicating with your team, you can develop an environment of trust, proactively kill conflicts, which would bring the best out of your employees and eventually lead to a successful delivery of the project.

3. Poor Planning

Lack of planning or poor planning can easily lead your project to failure. Spike Cavell’s survey also revealed that 40% of projects fail due to poor planning and lack of resources. Spend time for making a solid plan for your project and it will help you in executing each phase of project smoothly. Brain Tracy sums it up brilliantly, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 100% return on energy!


4. Unrealistic Expectations

KPMG Canada conducted a study and the results showed that 60% of the failed projects have a deadline of less than a year. Setting an unrealistic deadline and expectations dragged all these projects down the drain. Consider all the factors and constraints involved that might adversely affect your project and then set a deadline.

Instead of having unrealistic expectations, keep a buffer that gives you the liberty of completing the project without rushing through it. Having a buffer not only reduces the workload of your team member but also let them focus on each task in a better way.

5. Incompetent Project Manager and Team

Selecting the right project manager and forming a competent team is critical for your project success. Unfortunately, 70% project managers in small and medium-sized businesses have no certification and lack formal training, which is why most projects they manage, fail to achieve their objectives. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers Insights and trends report, certified project managers supervise 80% of successful projects.

You can easily overcome this issue by hiring experienced and certified project managers. Although, the trend of hiring certified project managers is gaining popularity but there is still a long way to go before the number of certified project managers exceeds the number of non-certified ones.

6. Lack of Cohesion Between Your Team Members

Things can easily go from good to bad very quickly if there is no cohesion between your team members. Consider a scenario in which all team members are moving in different directions. Could you expect a positive result to come out of this situation?

There could be many reasons for a lack of cohesion from personality differences to conflicting interests. All of them contributes towards taking you one step closer to project failure that is where team collaboration software like TaskQue can help you. It is the prime responsibility of project managers to unite the team members to achieve a common goal.

7. Poor Monitoring and Risk Management

Just assigning roles to all your team members is not enough, you have to constantly monitor the progress and hold your team members accountable to what they are doing. Once they are responsible for their actions, they will perform better and deliver better results.

Most project managers will tell you that risk management is an important part of project management yet, you will find many projects in which little or no emphasis is put on risk management. As a result, these projects fail to achieve their targets and go well beyond the specified deadline or budget.


Most senior executives believe that successful projects are critical for their business success and help them gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. Keep an eye on aforementioned factors and try to overcome them to reduce the risk of project failure. This will help project managers to complete more projects on time and within the allocated budget.

Credit: Taskque

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