RDB Robert Düsterwald
Many newspapers contain reports about failed projects:
Construction projects which seem to be never-ending, military equipment which is not ready for use, delayed openings of expensive airports - the list is long.
From an expert view it is astonishing, that media always report common things -
lack of responsibilities, political skirmish, incompetence, corruption etc. but never reveal the most likely reason: The lack or the inadequate utilisation of a sound project management methology, including a project organisation, a work breakdown structure, a risk log and meaningful progress reports.
It should be considered that projects are not just a certain number of tasks within the line organisation. They follow an inherant logical path, which is well represented by well-known Project management Methodologies like PMBoK, PRINCE2, ICB and others. Nevertheless it is remarkable how unknown those methodlogies seem to be in a broader public and that the research for reasons of failed projects is often executed in a highly unsystematic manner.
Comparing project management with road traffic, you may image, that you can get a driving licence at your local post office, but that this is not mandatory and your car documentation is never checked. Indeed the traffic light "red" seems to be more a recommendation, but nonethelesss nobody stops when it's red. In consequence one should not wonder that so many (project ) accidences occur.
That in mind, and having a long-term experience as manager of successful projects, I have started dedicating my work to the field of project audit and restructing a couple of years ago.
The aim was, to detect potential project abberations already in a very early phase, in order to be able to take appropriate correction actions timely.
All right, there are a lot of consultancy comnpanies in this area, but for a successful project audit it is not sufficient just to have project managers experience and competencies. For that reason I have used methods of Internal Audit in my work to systematically identify the most important failure sources and I have been enhancing existing methods. Only by knowing and describing all essential failure sources accurately, effective corrective actions may be taken, which improve the project's performance.
Since the foundation of 'project audit' (see 'DIIR'-chapter of this site) I was responsible for more than hundred project management audits and I could save a remarkable series of projects without stepping into the active role of a project manager.
In this context I could collect a huge number of success factors in project execution and project management. They have common characteristics, like failing projects show some significant indicators as well.
If you feel that your projects stay behind their goals or if you get the impression, that you do not really know where your projects stand, then you should not hesitate.
A project audit as the basis to a project restructuring is a much cheaper and more promising way compared to the perhaps severe consequences of a do-nothing-policy. If you like to know how I proceed to identify the reasons for projects in trouble, how I try to find out whether they have the chance of a turn-around, and how I find measures for improvement without stakeholders loosing their faces, then please continue by reading section 'project management', chapter 'audit' or just contact me.
I would be very pleased if I could help you in this special context.