Project Failure as the Undesired Effects

The theory of knowledge leads us to define a new problem to improve the project system. Comparing predictions of the current project system (the theory) with reality helps to define the problem. UDEs differ from the DEs necessary to support the goal of successful projects. UDEs identified in Chapter 1 include the following:

Constraints

Project specification

Constraints

Project specification

Resources

Figure 3.1 The black-box view of the project-system processes inputs to produce outputs that satisfy the system goal.

Resources

Figure 3.1 The black-box view of the project-system processes inputs to produce outputs that satisfy the system goal.

1. Projects frequently overrun schedule.

2. Projects frequently overrun budget.

3. Projects frequently have to compromise on scope to deliver on time and budget.

4. Projects have too many changes.

5. In a multiproject company, projects frequently fight over resources.

6. Project durations get longer and longer.

7. Many projects are cancelled before they complete.

8. Project work creates high stress for many participants.

UDEs are things that we do not like about the present system. A good way to check that these are indeed UDEs is to state them with the lead-in, "It really bothers me that.." Your UDE list may not include some of these, and it may include others. Feel free to add or delete as necessary.

TOC helps us to understand that these effects are a direct result of the project system we are currently using. Even though they are not intended effects, persistence of the UDEs for some time demonstrates that they are robust effects of the system. This means that there are things elsewhere in the system that cause the UDEs. Since the UDEs are observed in all types of projects in all types of businesses in many types of cultures, we can conclude that project type, business type, and culture are not primary factors or influences that cause these results. TOC leads us to suspect that an underlying conflict or dilemma common to all of these environments causes these effects. In order to decide what to change, you first have to identify this dilemma: the constraint of the present system.

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Project Management Made Easy

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