Analysis of Factors and Causes of Failure in Projects


Project management is the application of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to the activities of the project to meet the requirements of the project. PMBOK Guide defines project management as the integration and application of all the concepts required to complete a project. A project is covered in four different stages encompassinginitiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling, and closing (Gray et al., 2008).

To handle a project is not feasible all the time. Most of the projects are produced, and only part of them get flourished. This thing happened because of multiple reasons depending on the complication and convolution of the project; it may face more or less failure possibility. Sometimes projects are led to delivered but not in a given schedule because of exceptionally exceed the given budget or with specific attributes that are not mostly respected. A well-managed and successful project has many key attributes. First, to understand the importance of project management, it is essential to know the fundamental nature of the project; the primary attributes of a successful project management process; how to evaluate the success, the key roles, activities, and responsibilities of the project manager and the efforts required to perform the tasks; and the surrounding where projects are being performed (Conboy, 2010).

These procedures handle the inputs to deliver outputs from specific activities; the core of project management depends on the continuation of inputs to outputs, and it needs repetition and integration. For example, a viability report could be the input to sketch episode; and the output of a sketch episode could be a set of intentions and specifications. This continuation needs project management efforts, competitiveness, expertise, and techniques including change control, incident development, and risk management.

Figure 1: Project Management

This research proposal focuses on the details of the research project. It starts with the introduction of the project management and the subject of the research of the paper. The proposal analyses the literature on the subject and reviews the concepts proposed by other researchers. The research proposal continues with the description of the research methodology covering the philosophy and approach. It also describes the sampling techniques along with the ethical issues involved in the study. The research proposal presents the significance of the research objectives and implementation timetable. The research proposal concludes with the evaluation of the plan.

Literature Review:

Any project or organization can experience project failure. It can occur due to an unlimited number of reasons. Most of the time failure is beyond the control of project manager and team members. However, failure can be managed in some cases. There are always some common factors between failed projects and people who fail them. In any case, generally quick solutions are advised to resolve failure into some success. However, it can also result is disastrous side effects. Many authors collaborated and did a survey that involved people from all over the world, working at project manager levels. The survey asked questions by using multiple key performance factors (Reich and Wee, 2006).

Mostly, it involved everything related to project failure. As a result, 43% of people confirmed lack of proper communication is the leading cause of failure, 42% thought project processing failure lead to failure, and 32% described incompetent workers are the cause of failure. When results if the above survey was compared to another survey on the web managed by Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) that involved more than 1000 persons, 28% confirmed poor communication as the leading cause of failure in any project. Plus, 18% described poor resource management as the most significant cause of failure in any project (Brown, 2007). As the research is focused on the identification and assessment of the project failures, different reasons for the failure of the project

Vision and goal

Every project has a clear-cut vision that is in written form somewhere. However, persons rarely use it for solid guidelines when it comes to strategic decision goal (Stoica, and Brouse (2013) explained that without understanding why, the project needs to deliver results that are desired for the goals of an organization. It means total failure towards the end goal. The absence of coordination between simultaneously running projects leads to the internal conflict of interest within the organization (Stoica, and Brouse, 2013).

Governance and leadership

The failure to build a governance structure that is right for the requirement of the project. It is a classic mistake. The researchers concluded that getting a sponsor who does not own the project entirely and consider everything is the responsibility of the project manager in order to achieve success. The failure to oversee the project at the right levels. For example, too much micro-management puts down the morale of the team, along with destroying focus on the purpose (Kokko, Kotoglou, and Krohwinkel-Karlsson, 2003).

Stakeholder engagement issues

Stakeholders are all the persons involved in the project. It includes customers, investors, project managers and controllers. The failure of the project can be the result of the failure to inform the stakeholder on the project properly in all issues. It can also be due to the failure to consider the narrative of stakeholders and compromising the interest of stakeholders in each step. Taking decisions and solutions without authorization from all stakeholders. It ensures giving permission to one group of stakeholders to take over the project and neglecting interests of the minor stakeholders. Failure to apply and implement change management, along with inappropriate transitioning of stakeholders between old methods and new ways due to the need for the project. Researchers have discussed that failure to communicate effectively with every person involved in the project, whether individuals or groups(Horn, Schiele, and Werner, 2013).

Team issues

There can be issues within the team as well which can lead to failure of the project. Many researchers have explained that lack of expertise on the subject matter of the project. Other factors include failure to train the team properly and effectively, absence of feedback process, failure to implement the dynamics of the project by the project manager, demotivating the team with specific activities, and overburdening the team with tasks simultaneously.


In project management, estimation is crucial. Wrong estimation of workers and neglecting productive team members.Over shining the project by arbitrarily cutting estimates in order to look impressive. Estimating big tickets and neglecting smaller activities because of visibility. It has been observed that estimating without proper data from previous projects and failure to establish a plan to cover unknown factors. Sometimes making assumptions about new tools or systems that will suddenly improve the overall performance.


In several projects, failure to think properly in planning leads to defective execution and not considering all complexities of the project. Executing work under unnecessary pressure due to incompetency. Welsh (2000) concluded that making assumptions about productive performance and neglecting non-productive time. Failure to know the customer’s expectations can also lead to the failure of the project. Considering project managers has the sole responsibility for planning and failure to convert the master plan into small manageable tasks can cause the projects to fail. In addition to all this, failure to consider cultural change activities as a component of the project, failure to ensure user training and putting the product into the market environment and failure to allocate proper training time in the plan can also cause problems in project management. Moreover, handling change requests without considering the budget and schedulecan overrun the project (Welsh, 2001).

Risk management

Risk management is crucial. It protects from many problems. Failure to understand and forecast potential problems.Considering risk management separately from the project and not considering it as the component of the project.Confusing risk, problems, and issues in the project and neglecting risk management as a team effort can cause project failure.

Configuration and information management

Failure to administrate all versions of a document and confusing problems that impact the project’s progress.Failure to deploy the right tools in information handling and leaving important information behind (Welsh, 2001).
In more than half of the project failure case studies, failure to discuss and finalize quality requirements and allowing people to standardize different requirements at the same time causes failure of project. Failure to accumulate project’s performance indicators, such as reviews, tests, and checkpoints. So, these can verify the quality.
Reviewing documents and design material with just grammar and spelling, and neglecting the quality of the subject matter.Considering quality as a matter of testing and compromising working culture.Researchers discussed that evaluating the product with inappropriate tests under a totally different environment that is not the right operational environment(Elmquist, and Le Masson, 2009).

Project tracking and management

Considering budget and schedule as the main driver of the project, along with compromise on quality to get immediate results, whether it justifies the effort or not. Evaluating and tracking the project with large and visible deliverables and ignoring the process of small increments. Failure to judge and administrate small vendors and sub-contractors on a daily basis. Lauermann (2016) described that assuming that team has delivered all things for the project and neglecting revisions and assuming that a worker will remember all the intricate details and perform as directed before the project.

It leads to mismanagement because workers forget often

Decision-making problems

Lauermann (2016) concluded that allowing inexperienced people who do not have subject matter expertise to take important and critical decisions.Ignoring or soliciting expert’s advice while making key decisions for the project.Not understanding the situation while making key decisions.Failure to act for a longer period and not perform closure to critical decisions in a regular manner(Lauermann, 2016).

Research Aims/Objectives

The research study focuses on two different case studies. The research study aims to:
⦁ Analyze the effectiveness of the factors on the success of the project
⦁ Evaluate the different factors leading to the failure of the project

Research Methodology

The contextual analysis research, from the past reports investigations, allows the investigation and understanding of the major issues. It very well may be looked like a powerful technique to research most probably when an all-encompassing examination from top to bottom is need of hour. In most of the sociologies examines, it is perceived as a device. When there are issues concerning instruction then the job of contextual analysis technique in research turns out to be more evident. There are different research methodologies that contribute to the data collection as per the research objectives in a study.

The main types of research methodologies are qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methodology. In qualitative research methodology, the focus is on the analysis of the non-numerical data. Many methods are used to collect data in qualitative research methodology such as interviews, observations, case study and focus groups. On the other hand, quantitative research methodology focuses on the collection and analysis of numerical data. It involves data collection via polls, surveys, questionnaire, or experiments. The third type of research methodology is the mixed. It involves combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

The choice of the research methodology depends on the nature of the research study and the type of the intended results. The current research study utilizes case study as the methodology of choice. Researchers can choose one individual case, or they can receive numerous case studies based on the problems being consulted. Where there are not many different issues accessible for replication then the single-case structure could be embraced by researchers. In this research study, the multiple-case study will be selected. The objective is the determination of the factors causing the failure of the project, it is essential to gain a different perspective.

Two different case studies are chosen for the research paper. The first case is the project failure of British petroleum. In the present ever-changing and dynamic situation, it is important to acquire and execute the latest strategies to essentially survive in a rapidly changing environment. In this scenario, we look and examine the circumstances of British Petroleum (BP) Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico located in the United States of America

. This Oil Spill shows a situation which not only censorious but also innovatory for any oil company in the globe. In the present era, this accident of deep Oil Spill was one of the worst and great disasters ever fetch. In such kind of situation, each company should have to take exceptional, wise, and extremely powerful strategic management decisions and the techniques that how to execute those plans (Kerzner, 2014).

In 1909 the British Petroleum founded as the Anglo-Persian oil and gas company in London England, United Kingdom. It ranked in the sixth position as the largest oil and gas company and the fifth position as the largest company by annual revenue. The major field operation of this company is exploration, production, refining, distribution, and retailing of the hydrocarbon material. BP operates in more than 80 countries across the globe having 80,000 plus employees.

The largest division of this company operating in America known as BP America and it is the second-largest oil and gas production company in the United States. It has around 22400 service terminals which selling about 5.9 million barrels each day. It considered as one of the top-notch oil and gas company which heavily invested in the formulation and execution of the latest exploration technology to invent petrochemical present under the earth surface. The other case study is based on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ failed project (Roger et al., 2004).

In this, the classic example of the failure of the project happened. “Companies face numerous situations during the process of change which leads to anxiety and ambiguity. In order to become a prosperous organization, it is imperative for the companies to incorporate upgraded technologies for producing goods, innovative products to be introduced which are anticipated by the market, modern methods of administration must be executed along with improvement in the expertise of the workers” (Abbasi, et al., 2014).

Research Philosophy

Research philosophy is a view as the manner through which background history about a question is collected, analyzed, and implemented. The epistemology term (what is considered to be valid) in place of song (what is thought to be valid) includes the different ways of thinking of approach which is used in research. At that point ,the reason for science is the way of changing one’s thought and perspective toward the things that are already known such as Doxa to episteme. The main two significant research ways of reasoning have been distinguished to be specific positivist (here and there called logical) and interpretivist (otherwise called ant positivist in the Western convention of science.

Sampling (Population profile, sampling theories, and sampling size)

Research studies are subjective and do not buy into the quantitative shows of sampling. It is called purposive sampling, where the sources are picked for having the option to give information that are generally important. Contextual investigation includes close assessment of information inside an exact setting. Normally, a contextual analysis chooses a limited number of masses as the subjects of study with point by point logical investigation of the information gathered on this number and their connections. In this research study, random sampling is done with a few inclusion criteria points. This inclusion criterion includes the existence of a project, failure of the project, and valuable lessons learned. The chosen case studies belong to famous companies and had huge impact. This increases the significance of the study.

Ethical Issues

Ethical considerations play a significant role in each research strategy which includes human subjects however they take on the involvement of centrality in an event that concentrates on research where researchers work intimately on daily basis with research members over some not defined time frame and as often as possible in the personal mode and up close (where the bond between the researcher-member is considered as a most important point in the research consequences). In case study research, there is assembling of a lot of profoundly point by point information on every case, for example, an account request may bring about long; or, a contextual analysis may collect a nitty gritty record of a particular social program; or, individual stories related with an incessant sickness. The chance of incidentally disclosing the personalities and character of the members (without their consent) runs high except if safety measures are taken under considerations in such sorts of studies.


The significance of reliable and effective project planning is undeniable. It is essential to pay special attention to the causes of failure in project management. The need for the identification and assessment of the causes of failure of a project gives an insight into the world of project management. The need for a deep understanding of the factors of successful projects is essential. However, to avoid mistakes, it is crucial to go for lessons learned. Every project in the project management domain focuses on lessons learned. Failed projects have more to offer as compared to successful projects in terms of learned lessons. Therefore, this research study is significant. Because it allows an in-depth analysis of two different failed projects. It will highlight the causes and solutions for future project managers and researchers. The research study will have theoretical as well as practical implications.


Deliverables are the activities or tasks which are assigned by the project manager. These tasks should be completed within a given amount of time (Woodford, Chow, and Lambe, 2014). Each deliverable marks a milestone. In a research project like this, the first deliverable can be the submission of the research proposal. After submission and approval of the research proposal, the next deliverable is the submission of the literature review and methodology. After the submission of the literature review and proposed methodology analysis will be started after the collection of data, the deliverable will be chapter 4, which will comprise of the results of the research paper. The last deliverable will be the complete research paper as per the requirements. It is essential to keep the task within the provided time and cost limits.

Required Resources

Research resources are generally thought of two types which include primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources, which are mostly composed by an onlooker or unique abstract or imaginative works, can be firsthand records of specific occasions. They might be unanalyzed measurable information, letters, official records, interviews, or review results. These resources comprise data and information which is yet not purified, the first showstopper or quick impressions. Primary data resources are easily available. They are clear and coherent (Rabianski, 2003).

However, Secondary resources, usually are amalgamations, investigations, conversations, and assessments of the data which is driven by primary-and secondary means. In the case study research methodology, there is the use of information from both the primary and secondary resources. It will focus on the information from the company’s websites as well from the analysis of different researchers in literature. All through scholastic vocation, researcher do not uncertainty use both primary as well as secondary sources. When both the resources are used together, it is merely because of the need for the research study (Hox, and Boeije, 2005).

The use of respective resources can provide sufficient information on the research subject. The main sources of information in the current case are the company websites and official analysis of the projects. It will also include the resources from the literature review.

Implementation Timetable (Gantt-like chart)

Gantt chart allows the visualization of the list of activities and the respective timeline (Maylor, 2001). The following Gantt chart depicts the completion of the research paper within ten weeks after the approval of the research proposal. The tasks are listed in the left column, while the time required for each activity is colored in the other sections.
Task/Weeks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Preparation of literature review
Analysis of the case study and data collection
Data alignment and analysis
Data analysis and write-up
Results and conclusion
Compilation of the research paper
Submission of the paper

Evaluation of The Individual Research Plan

Team Issues

Experts feel that there is lack of proper knowledge in this team issue. Most team leads and managers aren’t aware on how to train their team properly and in an effective manner. Also, the major drawback is the lack of feedback process that hampers the team interaction.

Most of the managers never think of employing the dynamics of project and some even indulge in demotivating their team members for certain jobs they do rather than encouraging them. Plus some of the managers and team leads never provide proper training and overburden their team in task that are too complicated. There were instances where experts saw that even though the project was late, the team leads put additional stress on their team members, just to show off their authority.


The biggest mistake that managers do is the incorrect estimation of workers’ talent and their work experience. Also, most experts feel that managers and team lead often neglect those team members who are productive and have the necessary skills for doing the required job. Many of the managers in order to impress the higher authority initiate budget-cuts without doing a proper analysis.

Some managers go for big tickets and try to solve them rather than spending a small amount of time in resolving smaller issues due to the lack of proper vision. Most importantly, they never check into the estimates, data, etc from the previous project to make the necessary changes in the current project. These so called experienced managers fail to create and develop a plan that covers unknown factors. In addition, they assume that new tools and techniques will improve the whole performance without checking out or doing any kind of research on it.


It is a common knowledge that planning plays a major role in the execution of a project. Experts feel that the failure of a projects often occurs during the planning stage when a proper plan is not devised, thereby leading to a bad execution of the project. The managers or the planning in-charge never take into account the complexities present in the project.

The lack of incompetency is so great that these managers make their employees to do work under unnecessary pressure. Of course, there are certain managers who proudly boast of productive performance but never take time in analyzing the failures due to the unproductive issues. Lot of these team leaders and managers don’t have the necessary skills in grasping the requirements of customers.

Frankly, it the project manager that is incharge of the planning and he or she is the one that fails to convert the master plan into tiny manageable task for easy completion. Nowadays, the project managers contribute to an increase in schedule suicide which often occurs when they commit their team members to a particular schedule without taking into consideration whether it can be achieved or not.

Decision Making Issues

Various experts declared that the decision making issues are often caused when inexperienced individuals are assigned to take part in critical and important decision, even though they don’t have the subject matter expertise. Also, they never take into account if any of their team members provide expert advice in the decision making. Either they ignore it or never pay heed to it.

Another major issue in the failure of proper decision making which experts feel, is not understanding the situation while making the decision. Some of the project managers end up in delaying in taking decisions for critical situations and they never think of placing closure to any of the important decisions in a proper manner. (Lauermann, 2016).

Vision And Goal

According to Stocia and Brouse 2013, each project has a clear cut vision and this is recorded somewhere. When it comes to making strategic decision making, individuals rarely use it for getting solid guidelines.

Experts declare that Stocia and Brouse, 2013 clearly state that without understanding the necessity of the projects, it should deliver results that are desired as the goal of the organization. Here this would be a huge failure to the whole goal of the organization. The lack of coordination among projects leads to huge internal conflicts of interest among various organizations.

Project Tracking And Management

Experts feel that most of the project managers take into account the budget and schedule as the major force for driving the project. They end up compromising on the quality of the project to gain faster results, irrespective of whether it justifies the efforts or not.

In addition, experts declare that project managers and team lead make the biggest blunder of evaluating and tracking projects using large and visible deliverables and in turn ignoring the small increments in the process. Also, project managers fail to administrate and judge small sub-contractors and vendors on daily basis. Managers assume that team have provided all the required deliverables without doing any revision on them or even checking them.
They feel that team members will remember the various intricate details and do as directed as per the reviews of the previous project. Ultimately, experts clearly feel that this leads to mismanagement as workers often forget on how to work properly.

The main agenda of this research proposal is about evaluating the different factors leading to the failure of the project and examine the effectiveness of the factors on the success of the project. Carefully analyzing the problem or doing a detailed case study on the given problem provides us the best solutions, a way to prove lies and truths, and enhance our knowledge.

There are a number choices of the research methodology and depend on the use of the research study. I have chosen the case study as a methodology of choice and there are many reasons for it. I prefer it because it uses a number of different research methodologies and it can be done remotely. It is inexpensive and accessible to the researcher. Further, the case study method involves simply studying the case and observing what happens to, and assessment of the case history as in our case, Analysis of Causes of Failure in XYZ Project. We have two different case studies are chosen for the research paper. The first case is the project failure of British petroleum. The other case study is based on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ failed project.

On the other side, some hurdles, such as influence factors within data, it takes longer to analyze the data and it can be an inefficient process. The case study method advantage and drawbacks offer a look at the effectiveness of the research topic. As with the right skill set, it can be proven the most effective method in research methodology, and without the right skill set, this method of research seems inaccurate and inefficient.

Ethical considerations play a significant role in each research strategy. they take on the involvement of centrality in an event that concentrates research where researchers work intimately on daily basis with research members over some not defined time frame and as often as possible in the personal mode and up close. Further considering the ethics of studies, the interaction between researchers and participants can be ethically challenging as they are personally involved in different stages of the study. Ethical issues are considered during the formulation of the evaluation plan such as Confidentiality Informed consent, Anonymity, Voluntary participation. Informed consent is participating in the evaluation is fully informed about the evaluation being conducted and aware of the purpose of the projects. As voluntary participation ethics, I have no one with me who helps me as a voluntary participant. In do no harm ethics, sometimes psychological harms such as stress and anxiety can be faced. In confidential issues, I couldn’t find any profound information available.

A little about timeline and budget, it usually depends on the length of the research thesis, this projects are approximately about ten weeks, and there is no specific budget fix yet. I am very interested in the topics and eager to perform research on it, with my deep understanding of the specific topic “Analysis of Causes of Failure in Project” I would do a profound research and show you the better analysis of causes of failure.


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2022-08-04 14:52:23

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