5 Early Warning Signs Your Project Team May Be Headed Toward Failure

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5 Early Warning Signs Your Project Team May Be Headed Toward Failure
25 Nov 2021
5 min read

Blog Post

This blog uncovers key indicators that your project team might be heading towards failure. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to take action. Don't ignore them or expect them to go away on their own. They're indicators that you're failing your team. #ThinkWithNiche

Your project team is not clear on your organization’s goals and strategy!

Everything starts with the top — your organization’s vision and mission and your team’s understanding of your team’s role.

The key to successful teams is clear communication, and that means your team must be clear on your goals and how they’ll support and advance them. In other words, your team must be crystal clear on your goals and know what to do to support them. When your team isn’t clear on your organization’s goals and strategy, the work they produce will not be clear — even if it’s technically solid. When your team does produce good work, it may have the same effectiveness as the work of good teams, but it’s not clear that your team did the work.

When you don’t communicate clearly, it makes it hard for your team to carry out your vision and improve!

  • You and the team don’t have a shared understanding of the project scope.
  • The team is disconnected.
  • The team lacks a shared vision.
  • The team is overly optimistic about their abilities.
  • The team views the project from a compliance or cost-based perspective instead of an innovation and client value-based perspective.
  • The team lacks a clear understanding of why the project exists, what value the project will bring to the client, and how the client will realize the value.

If the above is true for your project team, you may be headed toward failure. For many managers, this will seem like the way of the world — the way it always has been and always will be. But there is an alternative way that will likely allow you and the rest of your team to be successful and satisfied with the project.

Staff members lack the necessary skill sets to complete the project

Certain team members feel the project is moving too slowly.

Project risks are not being managed effectively.

While all the project teams are striving to succeed, some teams are heading straight toward the wall. Fortunately, you have an arsenal of tools available to help you detect these signs of trouble early and apply the brakes to prevent them from gaining momentum. These signs reveal that your project team is headed toward failure. If you can identify these problems and stop them before they go too far, you'll be able to turn a potential failure into a potential success. Sometimes the cause of a project team's failure can be traced back to a lack of experience, skill, and expertise. As the owner of the project, it’s your job to make sure your team is capable of achieving the goal. Follow these steps to ensure your project doesn’t go belly up.

Be brutally honest! Developing leaders who can get on board with the project is a big part of the success of any project. Be sure to layout the whole project plan, or at least the key deliverables and dates.

Communication breakdown between team members

  • Leadership's unwillingness to delegate or accept requests for new tasks
  • Difficulty turning the steering wheel and working independently
  • Leadership expects everybody to play a role and assume a certain level of responsibility to perform assigned tasks
  • Designing a support system to prevent team members from falling off the back of the bus
  • Recognizing the difference between leadership and micromanagement

If one team member has trouble communicating with another team member, they may be headed for failure. As a project manager, you need to be an active listener and can’t take your eyes off the monitor.

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