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Tricks of the Trade®

18 Reasons Why Projects Fail by Rita Mulcahy, PMP

Tricks of the Trade®

The following are reasons for project failure that Rita Mulcahy, PMP, has identified based on
her experience and supporting literature on the subject. Try to determine the root cause of
the problem and then apply the tools and techniques of project management to prevent your
projects from failing.

Reasons Projects Fail

• Failure to understand that a change in scope • Inadequate budget for administration
affects schedule, cost or performance
• Senior management meddling
• Unrealistic time frames
• No change control system
• Lack of project management training
• No effective system for controlling
• Projects defined without the PM’s assistance the project to the project plan

• Project team not involved in planning • Inexperience

• No risk management • Lack of effective communication

• Miscommunication of scope • Failure to understand the unique

nature of the project type
• Planning a project using only a bar chart
• Overselling
• No viable historical records
• Turnover

Why does it happen?

What can you do to prevent it?

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of project management training by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), RMC Project Management has
agreed to abide by PMI-established quality assurance criteria.
Copyright © 2006 by Rita Mulcahy, PMP. All rights reserved. 11.27.06
RMC Project Management, Inc. • 500 East Travelers Trail, Suite 100 • Minneapolis, Minnesota 55337 • • (952) 846-4484
The copyright owner hereby grants permission to make copies of this handout for personal, noncommercial use only.

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