Large projects are difficult mainly due to their complexity and scale. That aside, today we have all the tools and techniques at our fingertips that should negate the complexity and reduce the risk of scale to very manageable proportions.
I don't pretend to have all the answers as to why projects can be so difficult, but let me have a stab at the main reasons.
To all the project experts out there: what would you add to my short list? This isn't a post about why projects fail: I think there's a lot already out there on that topic.
Unrealistic expectations. As Project Manager, you should've asked more questions at the start, but it soon becomes apparent that your expectations and your bosses expectations are different to the point where, had you known, you would've given this project a swerve and found something else. You thought you had complete authority didn't you? Now you know differently.
Virtual Teams means no reality. Project Leaders that are new to virtual teams can feel lost and unsure about the team and how to develop working together. Traditional approaches of team building tend to lose their edge in the cloud. A lack of visibility can be stressful and the lack of control overwhelming.
Under Funding is a main cause of a Project Manager's stress. Organisations want what they want, but want it done cheaper and quicker than ever before. All the best tools and techniques in the world won't overcome this financial drag on a project. When budgets are too tight, this slows down decision making.
People don't work for you. They have been "volunteered" onto your project to get it off the ground. When you really need them, they are off somewhere else doing their boss's bidding. Getting people to work on your project is a bit like trying to put kittens in a pen: It doesn't work and neither do people who have a different boss to you.
People play politics with your project. Meetings are the place where vested interests come to play politics with your project. From environmental through to finance, everyone wants to slow you down or make a point at your expense. Organisation culture wins every time in a politically-charged environment.
The Final Phase of your project comes around too early. Even though you've planned for it, you still are unprepared for the issues you face in this final phase. You assumed that people would work at the same pace, even towards the end of the project. You discover that people slow down when they don't have another project to go to, didn't you?
That's my list. What do you think?
Have your best week ever!
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Mervyn is an international leadership development specialist and keynote speaker delivering inspirational workshops and talks around the world.
For more information go to: www.nextleveltraining.co.uk