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Project Problems

The Causes and How to Deal With Them.


Course Title: Project Problems : The Causes and How to Deal With Them.

Less than 40% of projects actually deliver their set objectives. One of the key reasons for this is that there is little or no focus on the essential Human Behaviour Considerations of working in this people and team based environment. This course addresses that.

It does not replace training in the regular aspects of project work, but rather supplements it, thus providing a more holistic and therefore successful, approach.

This Much Needed Focus on Human Behaviour Considerations, will mean that Many Project Problems will be Avoided and your Management of those that Remain will be Much Improved.

Using 8 different example Human Behaviour Scenario’s (HBS’s) and employing a simple 4 step approach you will :-

· 1. Understand the most common types of behaviour which badly effects projects by answering the question - “What is the Issue?

· 2. Recognize and identify the patterns of these negative behaviours on your project – “Things to Look For”.

· 3. Learn potential ways of dealing with these problems – “What to do About it”.

· 4. Play the game of “Project Bingo” – a light hearted (but with a serious purpose) way for anyone working on a project to flag up if they think any of these HBS’s are occurring on their project.

Your projects will be more successful if you learn how to identify and deal with Human Behaviour Scenarios.

Projects are very much a team based activity but current training courses focus exclusively on the mechanical aspects of projects - such as plans or methodology. This course recognizes the essential humanaspects of team work and how it can cause projects to fail.

It will show you how to look at peoples behaviour in a team based environment, understand better what is actually happening (HBS’s) and how to deal with them.

There are 8 of these Human Behaviour Scenario’s covered on the course, each as a separate lecture –

1. Bad Decision Making – decisions being made on non-project grounds.

2. Superhero – the individual more concerned with their own advancement rather than those of the project, but hidden under the pretense of ‘saving’ the project.

3. Bad Communications – the vital information exchange on the project is poor or missing completely.

4. Bad Organization – the structure of the project is not optimized for the project but rather for an existing organization, team or individual.

5. Following Fashion – decisions are made based on what is currently popular or what others are doing rather than the right thing for the project.

6. Bad Resourcing – additional resources needed by the project are badly procured – either internally or externally.

7. Conspiracy of Silence – when people collectively decline to discuss important project issues because they don’t want their own particular problems to be highlighted.

8. Politics – all the messy selfish, non-productive stuff that goes on in organizations that far too many people indulge in.

While research shows that there are common problematic activities (Human Behaviour Scenarios) across projects, each project also has its own unique combination of environment and factors.

The course therefore works on 2 levels. The 8 different Human Behaviour Scenarios described are amongst the most common which cause projects to fail. However, there are others which you will encounter. The course therefore introduces a simple 4 step method of identifying and managing these.

The first step is to identify and clarify the HBS that may be occurring and assign a generic title to it. This provides a common vocabulary that everyone associated with the project can use to help manage the issue. This step is ‘What is the Issue ?’

The next step is to look for confirmation that the HBS is actually occurring on the project. Each of the 8 HBS’s used on the course has examples of the type of thing to look for. This is ‘Things to Look For’.

The next step is to propose solutions to the problem. Those described in the lecture are necessarily generic solutions to the HBS’s but they provide guidance for your own project.

Finally there is “Project Bingo”. Identifying a HBS on a project can be relatively easy. However, even just raising the issue, much less actually fixing it, is often very difficult. Project Bingo allows you to at least identify that a HBS is occurring on your project – without necessarily having to draw too much attention to yourself (which can sometimes be awkward). It also alerts management to problems they may not have been aware of.

At the end of each lecture there is a short, multiple choice test to confirm your understanding of that lecture’s content.

So, by the end of this course you will have a much broader and deeper understanding of some of the main causes of project failure and so be much better able to manage them. You will also have a method for identifying, and dealing with, other HBS’s that you are sure to encounter in your career.

Further reading is also available as this course is based on my book – “Project Failure – Why Humans can’t do Projects”. This is obtainable from Amazon in both hardcopy and Kindle format.

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