How to Deal with Project Failure – Helpful Tips for Moving Forward
Malcolm Forbes once said, “failure is success if we learn from it.” As a project manager, you are bound to deal with a failed project at some point in your career. Whether it be a single event that leads to a project’s demise or a multitude of issues, these failures can serve as an important learning experience for future projects. Although no one wants to admit failure, acknowledging it can help you move forward and better prepare for new potential projects.
In this article, we’ll identify a few helpful tips for preventing future project failure. Implementing these will help prepare you from running into unexpected problems in your new projects.
Don’t underestimate planning and preparation
Preparation is key in avoiding project failure. If you have a clear picture of what your project is going to look like from the very beginning, you have less chance of going off track. It is important that you take the time to have a thorough meeting at the beginning stages in order to discuss timeline, costs, and expectations. If you make preparation a priority from the start, you’ll be able to set up a clear plan and help to ensure everyone is on the same page. Be sure that you don’t underestimate the amount of work that will need to go into planning and managing a construction project! Construction projects are complex and involve many people working together to get the job done.
Make sure your cost estimations are accurate
When you are in the planning stages, take the time to outline your resources. Rushing through cost estimations will likely lead to money running out which means no resources and no project. If you can identify costs accurately from the beginning, you avoid the risk of running out of resources.
Utilize a project management software
With so many advancements being made in the construction industry, there are now many new tools to make project management easier. Implementing a project management software can help you streamline and manage tasks such as payroll, tracking, and documentation on a mobile app. This lessens your chances of project failure because the software allows you to keep all your tools and information stored in one organized place.
Train your employees
Do your workers have technical knowledge? What is their performance level? Whatever it is, build on it. If you think that you don’t have time to train your workers, think again! Training your workers properly and instilling in them the knowledge they need to get the job done, helps ensure your project’s success. Try to take advantage of any planned meetings and include 20-30 minutes of training. This doesn’t take away much time from work but helps your workers build on their knowledge.
Document and track
Keep careful documentation of everything that you do. This documentation lets you know whether you are on track to finish a project or if you’re falling behind. As a project manager, it is extremely important to monitor your progress on a project. Failing to track milestones within your project can lead to disorganization, missed timelines and disgruntled clients, which are all things you want to avoid.
Look for project warning signs
If you keep a watchful eye out for project warning signs, there is still a possibility for you to save your project. Warning signs are often obvious, and as project manager, it is your job to spot these. If you spot a warning sign, take action right away! If you can fix the problem immediately, you can save your project from failing.
As always, communication is key. Poor communication across all levels, including managers team members, and stakeholders, will result in project failure. This is one of the most important areas to work on if you want to prevent your projects from failing. If everyone collaborates and feels free to express and share their thoughts, you will be on the path toward project success.
Take part in a project management training course
As great of a project manager as you may be, everyone can use a little brushing up on their skills. Taking part in a project management training program can help you bounce problems and ideas off other project managers, leading to great collaboration. A seminar or course could be just what you need to freshen up your project management strategies.
Implement an active management style
Try to implement an active management style instead of a reactive one. This means looking ahead and making decisions instead of waiting for problems to occur and then fixing them. By planning for any potential bumps in the road, it keeps you on track and prevents any major disruptions in your project.