4 reasons why projects fail: unrealistic timelines and expectations

It seems so innocent at first. A simple customer request to add an item here, a brilliant idea to expand a service there, and before you know it, your project scope has outgrown the resources/time allowed and your team is over-stretched. Scope creep happens when either

▪️the parameters of the project were not well-defined from the outset

▪️there’s pressure either internally from the team or externally from customers to rush to win the contract or get a product to the market

▪️poor communication between parties

▪️lack of initial product versatility

▪️Management promises the sun and the moon, and then breaks the backs of the subject matter experts to deliver at impossible time frames.

By working on unapproved features of a product, a project team devotes time to the unauthorized changes thus impacting original time, and budget estimates and, leaving less time for approved activities parts of the scope.

This leads to approved features being rushed or not completed and the end product is not what was chartered.

Sometimes disguised as dogged optimism, unrealistic expectations have destroyed many projects. As a project manager, its absolutely essential to gain a clear picture of what your team can accomplish and in what time frame. Once you have aligned your expectations with reality, you must communicate them to the customer and your bosses.

When setting expectations it’s better to “under promise” and “over deliver”. Rather than “over promise” and “under deliver”. Enough time should be spent considering activities and realistic timeline remember to allow slacks for unexpected eventualities – decide what is a reasonable slack – days or weeks i.e. if a project can be delivered in 3 weeks ask for 4 weeks so that you’ll be able to pay close attention to the details and deliver the project in a timely manner.