Project Failures That Will Disrupt Your Customer-Centered Strategy


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Project failures become of paramount importance every time you work on the implementation of a customer-centered strategy in any organization, to the extent that if these failure are not adequately managed, they could easily derail your strategy.

Most executives and project managers know project failures are all too common, and the worst thing is that they are not particularly frightened when some of them even make the headlines. As a matter of fact, we have got too used to project failures, the vast majority of which are quickly forgotten or attached by managers to some esoteric reason.

Most Common Reasons for Failure

In my experience, the reasons for customer-centered projects failure are many and varied, affecting almost every practice of those involved in standard project management. Here are some of the most common causes that I’ve found, some of which we might even say threaten common sense:

  • Insufficient attention to checking that a viable Business Case exists for the project, due to a lack of knowledge on what the organization’s customer-centered maturity level really is
  • Insufficient definition of the required outcomes, leading to confusion over what the project is expected to achieve or what the implementation pathway should be
  • Inadequate definition and lack of acceptance of people’s roles and responsibilities, leading to lack of direction and poor decision making
  • Insufficient attention to quality at the outset and during development, resulting in the delivery of outcomes that are often unusable or unacceptable by the customer
  • Lack of communication with stakeholders, leading to outcomes being delivered that are not what the customer really wanted
  • Poor estimation of duration and costs at the stage or project level, leading to project taking more time and costing more money than expected
  • Inadequate planning and co-ordination of resources, leading to poor scheduling and extra costs
  • Insufficient lack of control over progress, so that projects do not reveal their exact status until it is too late
  • Insufficient training of key members of the project, including not only technical or support team members, but also project managers

And I’m sure you could still add a few more reasons for failure, equally meaningful and convincing than those above.

The Easiest Way to a Solution

According to my experience, the easiest and, most probably, the single most viable way to address customer-centered project failures is to stick to a solid project management methodology, as common sense would dictate.

There is little doubt for me that without a project management method that is understood and shared by all parties involved in a customer-centered project, those who commission the project, those who manage it and those who work on it will have different ideas about how things should be organized, when the different stages of the project should be completed, and what it entails to achieve certain outcomes.

Furthermore, those involved will not be clear about how much leadership, responsibility, and accountability they must exercise and, as a result, there will often be confusion surrounding the project.

Ultimately, without a robust project management method, projects are rarely completed on time and within acceptable cost, and this is especially true of large projects.
A good project management method will guide the customer-centered project through a controlled and well-managed set of activities to achieve the desired results. That’s why I’ve decided to develop a project management method, called MEMODI, especially focused on effectively implement a customer-centered strategy.

MEMODI stands for Method for Effective Model Implementation and it is a structured set of best practices covering the fundamental steps anyone responsible for or working in the implementation of a customer-centered strategy should never miss. MEMODI also adopts the principles of good project management to avoid the problems just identified and so helps to achieve successful customer-centered projects, namely:

  • A project is a finite process with a definite start and end
  • Projects always need to be managed in order to be successful
  • All parties must be clear about why the project is needed, what it is intended to achieve, how the outcome is to be achieved, and what their responsibilities are in that achievement.

You may find more information on MEMODI at Udemy’s course “Project Management fo Customer-Centered Companies”, clicking here.

Francisco J Navarro
Francisco J Navarro is Founder and Author of "Smart Customer Management" a management framework to building successful and profitable customer-centered organizations.


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