Why You Keep Failing to Solve Production Failures in Time
Every team in the history of IT has dealt with more project failures than they’d like to admit. It always starts out the same way too—you’re presented with a project, you gather your team, research, plan, and schedule meetings.
Then, down the line, something goes wrong, whether it be production bugs, software failure, missed deadlines, overextended resources, and so on.
It always ends the same way too—in total dissatisfaction.
But why do you keep failing to solve simple production failures in time? Read on to find out what went wrong and how to prevent project failure in the future
What Exactly Makes a Project a Failure?
Technically, a project is considered a failure when it doesn’t deliver the required features and specs upon deadline. Of course, in most cases, it’s ultimately the client or stakeholder that decides whether or not the project was a success based on their overall satisfaction with the outcome.
Projects that don’t meet the financial forecast or don’t meet the target ROI are also considered a failure.
Regardless of the reason why the project didn’t deliver on its promise, once your project has been deemed a failure, it’s your reputation that takes a hit.
The good news is that there are a number of specific reasons why projects fail, which means they can be addressed appropriately and therefore, avoided.
Check out these most common reasons for production failures—and how to prevent them:
Your Goals and Objectives Are Unclear
One way to guarantee the failure of a project is to begin working on it without clear objectives. The culprit is usually a lack of proper planning for said project, which is both the fault of the client and the team working on it.
IT techies like to work fast and keep busy, but without an understanding of the scope of the project and its intended outcome, you’re looking at a long road of production bugs and ultimately software failure.
Remember, the physical delivery of a finished product does equal success. Luckily, this can easily be prevented on both sides with plenty of communication until there’s a clear project outline in place as well as clearly defined roles and a management structure in place.
You Didn’t Map Out Your Resources
We tend to plan everything from meetings and appointments to structures, themes, and interfaces. However, it’s rather common to neglect our resources during all that project planning. This is actually a HUGE reason why so many projects end up failing.
Project management involves resource planning and management. This often means taking other successful projects into consideration to use as a template in terms of their planning and resources.
For example, most of us understand the importance of financial resource planning. But what about the human resources you’ll need? Who’s available? What’s the timeline? Will you be needing any outside vendors? Are there enough physical resources, i.e., facilities, meeting rooms, office spaces, computers, production areas, etc.?
You need to map out all of the resources you’ll be needing at every stage of the project and ensure they match your timeline before getting started.
There’s a Lack of Project Visibility
When we say project visibility, we’re talking about the transparency involving task status, clear communication, document management, the aforementioned resource planning, and so on.
It doesn’t matter how well-planned your project is. If it’s lacking in its visibility, it’s going to create confusion for all your team members.
To avoid project invisibility, you need to ensure that all team members know the status of each project task. That way they can assist and adjust accordingly. For example with error resolution, if everyone can see where the project hit a bump, they can focus on error fixing before moving forward causing more issues with a component that isn’t working.
All you need is a document management platform that’s centralized—like a digital storage place for all project documents that everyone has access to and can communicate through.
There Are Gaps in Communications
It goes without saying, but communication is the key to team success—especially for project management. Not only should your team be willing participants in communicating every step of the way, but they should also be provided with the tools to do so.
To avoid communication gaps, it’s necessary to make sure that everyone on the team understands exactly what’s expected of them and understand how to use the technology being provided. Whether you’re using email, texting, chat services, or a combination of communication methods, everyone should have an understanding of how and when they should be communicating with each other.
Two Words: Scope Creeping
Scope creeping happens to the best of us, and that’s primarily because it usually starts off so innocently. A simple client request to add something here, an inspired idea there, and before you know it, the scope of your project has outgrown the resources you’ve assembled and your team is over-extended.
Scope creep happens for very specific reasons:
- The objectives and parameters of the project were not well-defined
- There’s pressure from either clients or bosses to take on tasks that weren’t part of the original plan
- The client is trying to take advantage of you and your team
Scope creeping almost automatically equates to project failure because it extends you and your team beyond your budgeted time and resources. The only way to prevent scope creeping is by having a clear project outline—such as our first point—and understanding when to simply say no.
Even if you have the budget for extra time and resources, additional tasks may still contribute to project failure, especially if they don’t fit in with the objectives.
There Are Unrealistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations have destroyed many projects. What’s worse is that they’re usually disguised as whimsical optimism. Unrealistic expectations are usually the byproduct of unclear project objectives and outlines on both sides, which is why it’s critical to present clients with a clear picture of what your team can accomplish and in what time frame.
Project expectations must align with reality, which must be communicated to your clients and more often than not, your bosses. The only way to prevent this is to painstakingly communicate with everyone involved until the expectations are realistic and crystal clear.
It’s a whole lot easier to learn from your mistakes than it is to avoid making them—most of the time. But once you realize what’s causing project failure, you can implement strategies to avoid it. Remember, it’s your reputation on the line, so it’s crucial that you follow the above tips and learn to manage expectations appropriately.