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How to Recognize Early Project Warning Signs

Unfortunately, there are still many projects that do not meet intended goals. In fact, it’s estimated that $97 million out of every $1 billion invested in projects fail.

But, the chances of success can be improved by catching the many warning signs of a failing project. Here are five early project warnings signs that need to be arrested before they lead to failure.

1. Organizational culture that’s resistant to change

New ways of doing things, new goals, new processes and more can all hit roadblocks due to resistance to change. Many employees may not like the changes, may want to cling to the old ways, and may fear job loss if changes are implemented. As a result, they may sabotage new project methods, drag their feet on implementing new processes, or simply be difficult to communicate with.

Project managers need to communicate the benefits of changes clearly, and allay any fears of job loss if possible.

2. Unavailable sponsors

Ideally, sponsors should promote the project, get funding, troubleshoot any conflicts, and provide support. Project managers should be able to get advice and backing from the sponsors. If sponsors seem missing in action or lukewarm about the project, a fail can result.

Project managers need to work closely with the sponsors and resolve any signs of absence or less than enthusiastic behavior.


3. Unclear purpose

If the purpose of a project is unclear, it can almost ensure failure from the beginning. Goals and specific decisions aligned with the goals flow from the purpose. If it hasn’t been made clear, or if there seem to be two or more purposes that may prove incompatible, it might be impossible to align the goals and plans with the purpose.

If employees or teams seem confused, it’s a sign the tasks and the goals they’re aligned with are unclear. That, in turn, could mean the purpose is unclear. Project managers need to clarify the purpose at every opportunity, and to do so immediately.


4. Unenthusiastic team members

All projects have team members. It’s vital to the project that they are engaged and interested in their work. If they aren’t, it can show up in poor quality or lack of enthusiasm — even lack of turning in materials and plans in a timely way. In fact, poor quality and lack of timeliness is often a warning sign of lack of enthusiasm or disinterest.

Project managers need to discuss any concerns they have before they have a chance to grow and affect the functioning of the project.


5. Little or no confidence in the project manager

Company executives, stakeholders, project teams and vendors need to feel confidence in the project manager’s plans and abilities. If they don’t, they can withhold support and not function at peak levels.

Project managers may see this manifest early, as lack of response to their communications, disrespect, challenging their authority, or conspicuous lack of enthusiasm. They need to discuss and manage these, if they occur.

Pay close attention to these potential problems and challenges to ensure the success of your project. Contact Nesco Resource today to learn how we can assist you with the needs of your staffing company.


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