How to Avoid Project Failure

I found this article, written by Vance VanDoren, of Control Engineering. He discusses how system integration projects don’t always go smoothly. He lists the 10 signs of impending failure and 7 ways to stay on track. For instance:

Ten reasons for failure

  1. Incomplete requirements;
  2. Lack of client involvement;
  3. Lack of resources;
  4. Unrealistic expectations;
  5. Lack of executive support;
  6. Changing requirements and specifications;
  7. Lack of planning;
  8. Didn’t need it any longer;
  9. Lack of management; and
  10. Technology illiteracy.

Industrial automation projects may or may not fail as often as software development projects, but the reasons for failure are very similar, according to a less formal survey recently conducted by Control Engineering. All 1,800+ system integrators listed in the Automation Integrator Guide were asked to describe why an automation project might fail, what signs point to impending trouble, and how those problems can be avoided. Not surprisingly, several respondents agreed with the Chaos Report’s finding that “incomplete requirements” is the #1 problem.

Pass Along to Your Clients

While directed toward the end users, he offers some good tips that integrators should also be (painfully) aware of. Perhaps, the article is something that you can even point your customer to.

By the way, I’ve discussed many of these topics in more detail on this blog. Check out the Table of Contents as a convenient way to find them.


3 Responses to How to Avoid Project Failure

  1. execufish says:

    Absolutely! Interesting observation. In my current business, I’ve seen requirements and support as key factors in project failure. Moreover, even when initiatives were sufficiently resourced (and adequately developed), those staff were oftentimes significantly over bandwidth and overly frustrated due to decisions over priority conflicts.

  2. alfredolores says:

    I agree 100%. I work in the field of building automation and I think you are absolutely right: set priorities first and have team members agree on them.

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