Why do so many projects fail? - Prof Obeng

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Posted by APM on 30th Sep 2013

The NHS National Programme for IT costing tax payers a reported £12 billion. The Department of Transport having to reverse the sale of the West Coast rail franchise. G4S not providing enough trained security guards for the Olympics. Why did these high-profile projects fail?

Professor Eddie Obeng“Despite having all the resources behind them, projects can still go wrong if you have the wrong mindset,” says Professor Eddie Obeng of Pentacle, the Virtual Business School, and winner of the APM lifetime achievement award in 2011.

“One reason is that if things go wrong, you look like a hero for fixing them. Conversely, if you deal with a problem before it happens, you get no credit. So often there’s little incentive to make sure in advance that everything goes smoothly,” he said.

“Another reason is that there are different types of project. Some times you know right from the start how the whole thing is going to unfold, but modern projects are often very unclear and a lot can change over the course of implementation. If the project manager doesn’t know the right tricks, leadership and tools to use, then the whole venture can very easily go off the rails,” added Eddie.

To combat this Pentacle and APM are joining forces to host Conference: Zero, a one-day event supported by IIL Europe, which promotes a zero tolerance approach to failure. Speakers will include people who have delivered perfect projects in global sporting events, digital broadcasting, banking and academia.

IIL EuropeConference: Zero is being held entirely on QUBE™, Pentacle’s virtual learning environment, so anyone anywhere in the world can join without having to worry about travel or accommodation. The conference is on Thursday 17th October, and runs from 07:00 to 19:00 (GMT), so participants can choose when to attend.

Find out more and register for this event, which is free to APM members. But hurry, booking closes on Thursday 10th October at 5pm.

Hear more from Professor Eddie Obeng by reading his blog post: Effort to benefit

Pentacle The Virtual Business School is an independent business school that equips business leaders with the tools they need to survive and thrive in the new world. Founded by CEO and learning director Professor Eddie Obeng and based in Beaconsfield, UK, the school operates in France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Turkey, USA, Africa and worldwide via QUBE™ - the world’s first fully virtualised business school environment.

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