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Ten Ways to Ensure Project Failure

By Demetrios Gianniris,
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

As a project manager, I work with hedge funds on a day-to-day basis, assisting them as they launch a hedge fund or relocate to a new office. My team has a proven process that has been used to successfully launch or relocate more than 1,000 hedge funds and investment firms. We utilize all steps of the project management lifecycle, including IT Requirements Assessment, IT Infrastructure Design & Development, Bid Evaluation, IT Construction Management, and Technology Integration.

According to the Standish Group's "CHAOS Summary 2009", only 32 percent of all projects in 2009 actually succeeded (delivered on time, on budget and within scope). Another 44 percent were challenged (completed late, over budget, missing scope), while 24 percent failed outright (cancelled prior to completion or never delivered).

That is an eye-catching statistic. Are project managers really that unsuccessful in today's world? Project Management Failure

Suppose we poke a little fun at this statistic by playing a small role-playing game? Envision yourself as the ultimate project management failure. That's right. Your boss has hired you for one purpose and one purpose only - to ensure that no project is ever a success. What would you do to ensure that your project doesn't have a prayer?

Well, here are 10 sure-fire ways to be the best...of the worst:

1. Scopeless means hopeless: Make sure you spend as little time as possible (preferably none) defining your project scope. If your project doesn't have a purpose, nobody involved will ever know what theirs is. This way, when clients "hope" you'll get the project completed, they'll find comfort knowing everyone else on your team is doing the same.

2. Just get it done: Projects always get done faster when everyone works quickly. So don't waste precious project time putting procedures in place or worrying about checks and balances. Just send as many people out on a mission to get it done as quickly as possible. Just remember that the key is assigning the fastest project members. Besides, it's a lot more fun challenging yourself to finish this project faster than the last one. If you don't, that is a clear sign that you are losing your touch.

3. Summon your powers of knowing: Although you are too humble to admit it outright, the fact is that you are a lot smarter than anyone else on the project team. The so-called "experts" clearly aren't as qualified as you to make the right decision. That's why you are in charge, and they aren't. So why listen to them in the first place? Use your smarts to confidently make decisions on your own without consulting with anyone (especially the so-called "experts").  Besides, the true essence of leadership is being able to make the call when everyone else isn't capable of doing it. While you are at it, be sure to ignore the most unknowledgeable of them all...the client.

4. Put in the effort: As the project leader, you must ensure that everyone on your team knows you have no tolerance for slackers. This is not a field trip. Hard work is involved to ensure the project is completed. So be sure to push everyone as hard as possible at all times. Preach discipline by making sure everyone understands they need to just get it done, or else. Thanking anyone at any point is a sign of weakness, and there's no place for that on your projects.

5. Preach project importance: The importance of the project is a top priority. It is vital that your project group give the project their undivided attention. If people aren't dropping everything else on their plate for the project, they are clearly not exhibiting corporate responsibility and should be fired at once.

6. Work efficiently and set expectations: Setting expectations is key, but you don't have all day to explain them to people. Be an example of efficiency by summarizing all your expectations into one...that you expect everyone to simply get it done.

7. Documentation is a waste of time: If you spend half your project time documenting, that's precious time you have lost completing the project. There's no need for it. If people want documents, tell them to go to the library. This is project management, not English class. Besides, there is no reason people can't memorize all project details and remember them all, even years later.

8. The budget: Did somebody just dare to mention the word "budget"? Are they kidding you right now? This is not the Finance department. You are out on a mission to complete a project. Budget is not on your radar right now. Next please...

9. If the house burns, make sure you are not in it: The last thing you need on your project is problems. Assure that you minimize them by allocating as many resources as possible to putting out fires. Be sure not to put any of them out yourself. This way, if they ever potentially get out of control, you can just blame it on another project member’s inability to get the job done. Besides, nothing is more fulfilling than showing your boss you can clean up a mess by firing project members who are not pulling their weight.  

10. Project Closure: No project can be considered complete without a closeout. This is the moment you have been waiting for...the moment you've worked so hard for. At last, you'll be able to close the project out by taking credit for all the things that went well and blaming everyone else for the things that went wrong.

Demetrios Gianniris is Director of Startups, Relocations and Projects (SRP) at Eze Castle Integration. He is responsible for overseeing the daily administration and operations of the Project Management team, including project design development, construction management, professional services and information technology consulting. Follow Demetrios on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dgianniris.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Categorized under: Project Management  Launching A Hedge Fund 

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