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Project Management Quick Take

6 Warning Signs for Project Managers


Video Transcript

Six Warning Signs of Looming Project Failure

Hi, my name is Leah Paras and I'm a trainer and consultant with Corporate Education Group.

Most project managers enter into a new project with determination and a full-steam-ahead attitude. We know it takes that mentality and more to get the job done with the numerous milestones, deadlines and stakeholder requests that need to be met. However, any good project manager also knows that not every project makes it to the finish line. But that still leaves the question: how do you recognize when a project should be nixed before it becomes a drain on your company's resources, manpower and finances?

Signs that a project is in danger can present themselves in many ways. Let's review six major warning signs that indicate a project should be cancelled:

  1. Frequent Schedule Changes — Minor changes are acceptable, but the schedule should not change daily.
  2. Project Sponsor Missing — If the project sponsor cannot be reached at critical junctures during the project, it might indicate a lack of commitment.
  3. The Status Report Never Changes — If the weekly status report appears to be in permanent limbo, it's a sign the project is being abandoned.
  4. Resources are Being Changed — If the resources dedicated to the project are always in flux, it indicates the project is not being given high priority.
  5. Project Members Never Show Up for Staff Meetings — If the individuals assigned to the project don't attend meetings, they may have been given higher-priority work.
  6. Poorly Defined Requirements — If the project sponsors are unable to clarify their requirements, there is no guarantee you'll ever hit the mark.

Lessons learned, whether successes or disappointments, should be recorded as updates to organizational process assets. Capturing project history and lessons learned is essential to successful implementation of future projects and organizational improvement. As the project manager, your due diligence is needed in cases of project failure, as well as project success!