Learn from the mistakes of others and you can save yourself some pain. However, if you have already been involved in business projects then you’ve probably also seen some of these hazards.

1. Objectives not clearly defined at the start

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived? Objectives need to be SMART – specific, measurable attainable, realistic and time-bound.

2. Overly optimistic planning

It is well recognised that project planners regularly overestimate benefits while underestimating costs and time to completion.

3. Lack of regular project monitoring

Even the best project plan is worthless unless the actual project performance is monitored against that plan. If a project does get off course, a little correction early on avoids a far greater correction further down the road.

4. No expectation of the unexpected

Every project is at the mercy of things outside its control. Whilst a project plan cannot predict the future the sensitivity of the plan to various scenarios can be measured. Resources can also be ring-fenced as contingency.

5. Mission creep

Mission creep is defined as ‘the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals’. On a business project there can be many distractions and it is not uncommon for a project team to find themselves solving an alternative problem.

6. Moving goal posts

If the project timescale is long relative to the fast moving nature of the business environment it’s possible that the project will become irrelevant before it’s completed.

7. Wrong assumptions

No matter how much work goes into producing a project plan if its assumptions are wrong the whole project is in trouble.

8. Too little flexibility

Not wanting to admit defeat can lead to ‘tunnel vision’ when another course of action would be more effective.

9. Team failure

A project team can fail for a number of reasons – poor communication, lack of appropriate skills, lack of time to devote to the project or personal agendas are just a few.

10. Stakeholder support

Other stakeholders can still cause the success or failure of the project despite the project teams best efforts. Identifying the important stakeholders and communicating well can help to reduce this risk.


There are many ways business projects can go wrong but if you can avoid these 10 dangers you’ll be well on your way to a successful project and another step closer to setting your business free.

© Business Set Free Ltd 2013


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