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12 characteristics of doomed projects

Can you recognize a failing project zombie before it's too late? Although there's no simple or easy answer, the failures do tend to share certain common traits.
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Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor on

 

Can you recognize a failing project zombie before it's too late? Although there's no simple or easy answer, the failures do tend to share certain traits.

Adapted from Project Smart, here are 12 attributes of bad projects:

  1. Doesn't meet expectations
  2. Lacks change management processes
  3. Lacks project sponsorship
  4. Insufficient resources or budget are available
  5. Team doesn't report or escalate critical problems quickly
  6. No risk planning
  7. Schedule delays and missed commitments are rampant
  8. Project is over-budget with no end in sight
  9. Low morale is a problem
  10. Uncontrolled scope creep abounds
  11. Project direction and end-game aren't clear
  12. Showstoppers haven't been identified

There are a zillion reasons why IT projects collapse, most of which boil down to an ugly set of organizational or political issues. Denial, fear of communicating bad news, and related loveliness are usually the underlying culprits.

If this list describes your project, perhaps it's time to consider serious intervention. If so, read about rescuing software train wrecks.

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