5 Reasons Why Projects Fail And How To Stop It

By Guest Author | project management | August 14, 2020

Failed projects are not only bad for team morale or business success, but they’re also expensive. In 2016 alone, a staggering $122 million was wasted for every investment of $1 billion in the United States because of poor performance.

By Sarah Morris

Here are 5 common causes of project failure and how to stop them.

Lack of Clear Goals and Objectives

One of the most common reasons why projects fail is unclear goals and objectives. Without clear-cut goals and objectives, it’s almost impossible to determine whether you’ve accomplished something when you don’t know what you’re doing in the first place. You need well-defined goals and objectives to guide you in completing a project successfully.


Come up with goals and objectives that are specific, quantifiable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For instance, if you want to increase the number of subscribers for your email campaign, you can say: ‘By the end of 30 days, I should have added 20 subscribers to my email campaign.” That statement is specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. Ensure you put the right people in place to help you achieve your goals. There are many international recruitment services out there that can help you find the right talents for your project. All you need to do is to perform some due diligence and identify a service that fits your needs and budget.

Poor Resource Allocation

Without enough resources, it’s impossible to successfully wrap up a project before the closing date. Most project managers consider inadequate or lack of resources as one of the main causes of project failure.


It’s your responsibility as a senior manager to ensure your project managers have the necessary resources they need to complete the project. Once you do that, you can then move to the next step of finding out if resources have been allocated appropriately to specific tasks and utilized efficiently.

Poor Project Management

Project glitches or ultimate failure may be as a result of inexperienced or unqualified project managers who don’t have the right skills to manage the project effectively. Unclear roles and responsibilities may also prevent managers from executing their functions properly.


If you hire an inexperienced manager, start by providing them with training and opportunities so that they can develop the skills required to run the project smoothly. Ensure there are well-defined management roles and responsibilities in place to prevent role confusion and breakdowns.  If you have a big project with a global reach, consider finding the best international recruitment services to help you in bringing the right people on board.

Little to No Interest from Key stakeholders

Data from the University of Ottawa suggests that 33 percent of projects fail because of the absence of interest from senior management. Poor client’s involvement and lack of well-timed feedback can also slow down or even bring projects to a halt.


If you keep the key stakeholders in the dark, it’ll be difficult for them to show interest in the project. So always keep all the stakeholders in the loop by holding regular meetings to update them on the project’s progress. Keep them involved in the entire process, ask for feedback, and try to make improvements. That way, their engagement will significantly improve and they’ll take a keen interest in the project.

Poor Communication

Poor communication is a major impediment to the success of a project. Most teams depend on email for all their communications about their projects and tasks. The challenge here is that important information about the project can only be found on the email inbox of each individual. So, if new members join the project, it’ll be almost impossible for them to review the project history due to the lack of a centralized point for communication.


Invest in a web-based project management technology that’ll enable everyone to communicate in real-time and document all communications in a central location that’s accessible to all team members. Such technology will lead to seamless communication flow and enhance project transparency.

Final word

You can easily increase the chances of your project succeeding by acquainting yourself with common project pitfalls and steps to take to avoid them. You must show leadership to your team members by taking time to plan, set crystal clear goals and objectives, and allocate adequate resources before initiating the project. Ensure you have the best talents for your needs by taking advantage of what international recruitment services have to offer.