Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Causes of project failures - responsibility without authority

Recently I had cause to look at some projects that had failed or were, at best, on the point of failure.

In my series on project management - see Project Management for Professionals - entry page - I looked at some of the steps involved in effective project management. Here I did not deal with one of the main causes of project failure, the allocation of project management responsibility without authority.

You cannot run a project properly if you do not have the authority to do so. Too many organisations allocate project management responsibility, but are not prepared to over-ride existing decision structures in the way required to make the project work.

I do not have a solution to this. It just is.

The only advice that I can give to project managers facing this problem is the need to be prepared to drive things through, to force decisions. If the organisation will not meet the requirements dictated by the project, then you really have no choice but to stand down.

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