Top reasons a project management plan fails

A project can fail, and project management can fail too. What are the steps to avoid these issues? Do you know enough and trust your skills to prevent a project management plan to fail? There are skills that every PM must have and should follow to execute a project management plan flawlessly.

A project management plan indicates with the maximum amount of details the how of the project, defines the execution of a project and develops the strategy to complete the project efficiently and within the pre-established parameters.

This article presents an overview of 5 reasons why a project management plan fails.

1. Scope Management

Clearly one of the top reasons if not the top, the project management plan fails is related to the unclear scope of work. The project management plan needs to have defined, clear and achievable scope that can be tracked and completed with the tools and resources assigned to the project. Project management plans fail because the team members do not have clear expectations about the scope and budget. Make sure the project kickoff and project charter is socialized and shared with all key stakeholders. Do not gold plate areas of the scope just to please other people, be consistent with the scope as it has been agreed and do not go beyond the scope if there is no need to.

2. Communication Plan

It is well known that a project manager spends most of the time communicating goals, expectations, issues and progress. However, project management plans can fail due to the lack of communication between the project members. The industry is evolving and now we can see a majority of virtual teams and groups formed with individuals all over the world. Having the right tools and processes established to communicate is critical for a project management plan. The plan needs to have frequency of communication, type used of to communicate, individuals receiving the updates and clear guidelines to communicate up and down depending on what the issues are.

3. Do You Have the Right Resources?

A project management plan can easily fail because the resources assigned to the project are not enough. Schedules and goals are developed with the assumptions that certain amount of people will collaborate in different tasks and activities. The project management plan must clearly identify the resources since day one, secure those resources and assign budget to those key components. Managers can ask for specific assignments that will stretch your resources, so be sure to follow and update through communication the amount of resources devoted and assigned per activity. Also, the situation arising out of a project management failure is not only the amount of resources but also the production expected out of those resources, so you can easily end up with twice the amount of resources if they are not getting the expected results.

4. Project Management Fails Because of Planning

Planning can be another decisive factor that affects the outcome of the project management plan. Having teams and sub teams divided so they can work effectively increases the opportunity for your project management plan to succeed. Take the time to follow up on pending items, assign individuals to be responsible for follow ups, prepare contingency plans and evaluate the risks as they appear. The planning process shall never stop and must be an ongoing item that the project manager must track and be responsible for. Take time to revisit the planning sequencing of activities and clearly communicate those to the project team.

5. Monitoring is Key on Project Management Plan

Avoid micro-managing and your results will get better. Micro-managing and overseeing too closely some of the action items can be detrimental to the project management plan. Be assertive and clear about the expectations, ask for reports and updates, instead of having you verifying everything. Relying on your team can free time for you so you can spend time managing the project plan. The project management plan must set the expectations in terms of frequency and quality of results during the monitoring process, set the expectations as to when have back up plan and establish the non-conformance requirements. Monitoring Is critical on a project management plan as it contains the acceptance criteria, tolerance accepted and steps on how to prepare corrective actions.

These are just a few areas that have been confirmed as the top 5 reasons a project management plan fails. Be sure to prepare for those, and plan the project as detailed as you can, that way the scope, communication and cost will always be your best ally.

What steps do you take to avoid a failed plan? Help out your fellow professionals in the comments below.

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