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Projects fail when the reason why the project is being done isn’t clear, or is a good one.
Projects fail because when we hope that what it will deliver will be good. Fingers-crossed, yes?
We need to know what a project will deliver before we start it. Before resources are mobilized. Before budgets are agreed. Before champagne corks are popped.
This is known as a Business Case.
When we don’t have a Business Case, or when the Business Case doesn’t prove that the project will deliver the desired outcome, we start the project with a great deal of risk.
And if the risks aren’t clear, or if your project sponsors don’t care about them, then the issues will ensue. Because when a project doesn’t have a business case, the people participating in the project won’t know why they’re working, or what they’re working towards, so they will make up their own reasons. Here come the issues.
What happens is that those people will be working to their own agendas and there will be little alignment. Chaos, divergence, and infighting will be inevitable. Ultimately, your project will fail.
So if you’re involved in a project – any project – then ask yourself this: why am I doing this? What is the Business Case?
If you don’t know, then ask your manager. Chances are, they don’t know too.