The statistics relating to business project failure rates are shocking.
According to studies along the broad spectrum of project management, it has been found that…
In the past year, more than 66% of projects have not been completed on time or within budget.
And even more disturbing for the IT market—one that should be ushering our global economy into the future…
75% of IT professionals and IT businesses executives expect their current projects to fail.
Why is this happening? Why is so much time, money and energy being wasted on projects that are doomed for failure from the start? And how can you prevent your brand’s projects from suffering the same consequence?
Join me—I’m discussing what my branding agency witnesses on a daily basis.
The Reasons Projects Fail, straight from a Branding Agency
Why are your projects failing? Even if you’ve never experienced this heart-crushing experience—after you’ve invested weeks or months of blood, sweat and tears—you surely want to avoid having to ever go through it.
This isn’t to guarantee that every project will be a brilliant success; however, knowing some common pitfalls can help you to get your project off on the right foot.
Here are 9 common mistakes that come to mind:
- Starting without a WHY: When you don’t fully understand the reason behind the creation of your project, you will have difficulty bringing it to fruition. And after all, if you don’t know why you’re creating it, how will you know if your goal has been reached? Following the competition, making money and shaming a competitor are examples of poor WHYs. Helping others and following your passion are two legitimate (albeit very general) WHYs. And one more thing: Without a WHY that comes from deep within and that is fed by something you’re passion about, you will lose momentum before the project is finished (i.e. you will fail).
- Establishing idealistic goals: Dreaming big is important to success; however, too big too soon can be a huge contributor to project failure. In my branding agency, I see a lot of people trying to reach the level of their competitors within the first year…competitors who have been in business for decades. Ensure that your projects are designed to promote strategic, metred growth, and you will be more likely to succeed.
- Avoidance of painful choices: If you’ve ever read the story of the man who was forced to cut off his own arm to save himself from entrapment on a rocky mountainside, you can imagine how difficult it can be to scrap what you consider to be a vital part of the project in order the save the rest of it. It really can become that important. Sometimes we fall in love with a process, become dependent on it, and we grow more and more unwilling to admit that it’s not contributing to (or that it’s detracting from) the fulfilment of our goals. Commit, from the beginning, to being open-minded about adding and subtracting for the good the project.
- Poor communication: Open communication is essential in every stage of project management and execution. There’s a tendency to shut down upon the first sign of impending failure, when some swift action, prompted by open conversation, could have saved the project. Regular meetings should be schedule to discuss progress, as well as problems. And for issues that arise between meetings, there should be a system in place for reporting urgent matters, without judgment.
- A lack of dedication: Is this project something you can stick with and remain strong for? Even if it takes longer than expected, or becomes more difficult than expected? Gauge your commitment to the outcome, and if you don’t feel passion with longevity, adjust the project or stop it before it fails.
- Proceeding without securing resources: If you’re anxious to begin, but you haven’t taken the time to secure the money, personnel and professional consultation necessary for carrying out every stage of the project, you will come upon obstacles that may seem impossible to navigate. Imagine everything that could go wrong, and ensure that you have support (or a back-up plan) for each of those things.
- Working with an incompatible team: From hiring employees to choosing clients to teaming up with other brands, one thing should flow through all relationships: a shared belief in the values and mission of the brand. The same goes for projects. Everyone does NOT have to agree on every point; however, a common belief in the goals of the project is crucial.
- A lack of investor support: There’s more at stake here than money (although that has a lot to do with it). Remember that if shareholders don’t like the idea of this project, they could put a halt to future investments…or worse, work to make sure the project fails. And if it does fail, after they criticised it, they are sure to head straight to pivotal people and tell the story of how they knew it was doomed from the beginning…but you weren’t willing to listen. Remember that your investors are owners, too. If you find that your brand’s values don’t align with those of current shareholders, then you need to either re-examine the path of your brand or find yourself some new investors.
- Putting forth unclear expectations (or no expectations): Every project player needs to know his or her role, and exactly what is expected. When a project is kicked off with a “whoever takes the job” kind of approach, chaos will ensue. Responsibility and accountability are huge here…and knowing the difference is important, too. Responsible parties must complete tasks. Accountable parties must make sure that those tasks are being completed.
Have any of these things contributed to your brand’s failed projects? Or can you see how they could negatively affect your future endeavors?
Good. That means you’re well on your way to dramatically increasing the success rate of your projects.
Are you ready to learn more from other successful and aspiring business owners? Then why not join the How to Build a Brand group on Facebook? There’ll you’ll experience the type of support that can only come from those who truly understand what it’s like to build a brand. You’ll also be privy to all the latest branding advice from my branding agency, thanks to regular updates from me, including my weekly Facebook Live B.R.A.N.D. Breakthroughs sessions.