Project Management: Avoiding Failure

Columnist Andrew Gager discusses four steps for successful project management

By Dan Hounsell, Editor-in-Chief  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Project Management: 4 Steps to SuccessPt. 2: This Page

Needless to say, the scoping, estimating, and scheduling were not completely thought through. Scoping was done poorly. The contractor should have scoped the roof out more thoroughly for spongy spots.

There was emergent work that required more resources and unexpected events that caused extra costs. There were delays in start-up. The final cost for the new roof was 18 percent greater than the estimate. The cost of the damage to the house was borne by the contractor, but it remained unfixed for weeks, putting the final project well behind schedule and causing undue stress.

Let’s relate this situation to your facility projects. Have you experienced any of these issues? Here are the most common reasons for failure of facility projects:

Project deliverables differ among stakeholders. Stakeholders are those persons or organizations who are actively involved in a project or whose interests might impact the performance or completion of the project. Stakeholders might exert influence over the project, its deliverables, and its scope. Overlooking the negative stakeholder can drive up the likelihood of a project’s failure, so it is important to manage expectations because stakeholders might have conflicting objectives.

Poor scoping and estimating. Stakeholders want the project on time and under budget. Contractors want the work. They obviously want to receive the contract, but some contractors lack the necessary due diligence in order to correctly scope the project and then attach estimates. This includes time, materials, and resources.

Failure to plan for contingency work. Contingency planning involves making sure you have a Plan B. When I was a project manager, I always had to have a contingency plan to help our organization respond to unplanned events that could happen. Managers can use these four steps to develop contingency plans:

• Identify the risks. These are the areas that could cause issues or risks down the road.

• Prioritize the risks. Once risk areas have been identified, managers need to determine which could cause the most significant damage to the project and prioritize them.

• Create a contingency plan. Determine what mitigation workers can put in place or actions they can take to limit the loss to the project’s objectives.

• Manage the project plan. Our goals and objectives are to deliver successful projects. The only way to achieve this kind of success is to manage the plan and execute. But if hiccups occur, you’re also prepared to respond.

Poor project management. Murphy’s Law holds that whatever bad that can happen will happen. The difference between successful projects and failures is the project manager and team members. Having the right project manager with the right supporting team will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Each member of the project team must have a clear role and responsibilities and be highly motivated. Having the right people with the right skill set ensures the processes and actions required for a successful project are defined, prepared, integrated, and coordinated.

One of the most common reasons for project failure is the lack of a consistent methodology for scoping and estimating project work, according to Project Management Institute. The group also point out that four essential steps — developing a project charter; formalizing the scoping and estimating phase; analysis; and submitting plans to stakeholders for final approval — will yield a greater chance of achievement. Scheduling and execution is the next phase that managers must be sure is well managed and controlled.

If my contractor had done a better job of scoping and estimating and had developed a plan B, then I wouldn’t have been hit with an 18 percent budget variance and, therefore, afforded to upgrade to gutter guards. Now I get to do the worst job in the world come autumn and clean out dirty gutters.

Continue Reading: Management Insight: Andrew Gager

Project Management: 4 Steps to Success

Project Management: Avoiding Failure

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  posted on 10/23/2018   Article Use Policy

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