5 early warning signs of project failure

Far too many projects still do not meet intended goals. Here are five leading indicators of a failing project that — when caught — can drastically improve your project’s chances for success.

5 early warning signs of project failure
Paul Brennan, public domain

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Project failure is costly. While the Project Management Institute (PMI) last year reported that a 20 percent decrease in project failure rates versus the previous year, the amount of money lost to failed projects remains staggering, with an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested in projects going to waste.

There are many reasons why projects still fail but paying close attention to and addressing these five early warning signs immediately can help keep things moving in the right direction with less strife and causes for concern, and ultimately decrease the risk of project failure.

1. A change-resistant culture

One of the first (and biggest) warning signs that your project may be headed for failure is an internal culture that is resistant to change. Projects bring about improvements in workflows and new operational best practices, often with an increased use of technology. These changes can create a significant amount of fear, as employees assume the end result will mean job losses or major disruption to their individual working world. Many projects have been internally sabotaged right from the start as result of these fears.

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