Project Failure is one of the issues business owners always are worrying about. They invest huge amount of time and money in order to reach their final deliverable and complete their projects. Lacking the experience in managing the project of hiring employees with poor skills will lead definitely to disaster and project failure. This article discusses the project failure topic and show some potential reasons of this problem and it also mentions some of the prevention stratifies that could be applied by concerned people in order to guarantee project success. I think knowing the causes of failure and preventing them is the first strategy of success. (1)


2 Causes of Project Failure

There could be many different reasons behind the project failure, some of them will be described as follow;



Lack of Good Planning3

Poor planning could be the main reason for project failure. If the project manager did not confirm the project scope, objectives, deliverable, time frame, resources…etc. the project activities will not be aligned and it will fail. (1)

Lack of Resources

Different types of resources such as raw materials, humans, machines, time…etc. are important to make the work done. Missing the appropriate resources or distributing them wrongly will put the team and manager in bad situation and fail the project. (2)


Team Related issue5

If there is a lack of clear duties and accountabilities it will result in confusion, errors and omissions. Team members are the main player in the project and if the members are insufficient to complete the work that has been committed to the project mostly will fail. A successful project manager must be able to take the maximum efficiency from the team members by motivating them and encouraging them to perform better job all the time. (3)

6Poor Cost Estimation

If the project cost is not planned correctly and the cost is increasing with a big difference, thus the resources will be wasted and the stockholders will request canceling the project. So it is important to plan the cost correctly to avoid the failure and consequences. (1)

Poor Monitoring

One of the main roles of the project manager is to keep monitoring the performance of the different parties in the project. If the monitoring process is week or the project manager underestimate this tasks then things will be out of control and results will not be met. (2)7

Poor Risk Management8

Different risky event could take place in during the project cycle and the good planning could be the prevention strategy of these risks. When risks are not planned correctly the whole project might fail and close. (3)


project failure prevention :

For sure no one wants his project to fail and be in troubles.  Project managers’ main goal is to close the project and deliver the objectives. So there should be some prevention steps to be taken to minimize the chance of project failure; (4)




Manage the Goals and Scope 

It is critical task for the project manager to manage scope instead of trying to control it, also he needs to document the decisions and never depend only on his understanding, and he should give users what they need rather than what they want.  (4)

Manage the Expectation11

The manager need to make sure to agree with different parties about realistic expectations for his team by assigning them tasks based on their abilities and skill set.


Correctly initiate the project

It is not recommended to start a project early just so that you can finish it early. Missing the suitable start, rushing to launch will only make problems for the manger and the project team. Proper project initiation needs discussion, looking for agreement, and documenting the expectations of all the stakeholders. (4)


13Check the Resources

Limited staff and other resource constraints will result in missed milestones and deadlines, throwing any estimated completion date into jeopardy. To avoid project failure due to lack of resources, make sure to check the availability of the required resources before the project kicks off. (2) 

Prepare Recovery Plan

Project managers has to prepare recovery plans to determine what actions are needed in order to be taken in case of certain risks happen. This will save time, resources and effects and prevent failure. (1)


Success Story

In my opinion, i think project failure is avoidable. A project manager needs is to be trained effectively in using these methods not only to recover a failing project, but more significantly, minimize the probabilities of creating one themselves in the future. More educational session should be given to project members and the scope and objectives of the project should be clear.

In summary, the right planning and the time you spend to think effectively about the project at the different phases will raise the probability of success. There are several reasons related to many factors that could damage your project. However, when a project starts to fail and move in that diction, there are several techniques to identify it, reduce the extent of the project failure and make the project retrieval as successful as possible.


  1. Bruce Beer, B. (2014). How to Avoid Project Failure through Project Planning and Effective Project Recovery. [online] Project Smart. Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018]2
  2. Williams, T. (2013). 5 Project Management Techniques to Avoid Project Failure -. [online] Leadership & Business Management Blog. Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  3. James, J. (2016). 5 Tips on How to Avoid Project Failure. [online] Activia Training. Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].
  4. Dennis, S. (2004). Project failure–12 mistakes to avoid. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2018].

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