Series: Why Projects Fail – Who Knows Part 1

In a large global project, about 7 months in, as a listener of an exchange between 2 divisions within the company, I was taken aback when someone uttered “we were not brought into this at the beginning.”  I realize there are some people that don’t need to participate until much later in the process however this person ended up have a major impact and participation in the results and success of the project.  Needless to say, a delay in their knowledge of the project activities delayed the schedule.

Sometime later, I heard the phase a different way from someone else, “we didn’t know you were this far along in the project”.  Unfortunately, I had heard this type of phrase a few more times throughout the meetings.  As an observer not directly connected but wanting to learn how this happened I privately and carefully, (offline) inquired and determined the following:

  • The project manager in charge said “they” knew because they were in the workshops held last year
  • Those that came late to the party said “no one informed us of the progress”

Well can they both be right?

Assumptions are often listed having to do with circumstances, staffing, environment, etc. but rarely do they list “We assume everyone knows what we are doing and when.”  The PM assumed everyone that was involved was keeping their project top of mind; after all it involves 2 countries and a large volume of project.  The declared uninformed assumed that someone would directly contact them of the project and its progress all along the way.

Please see part 2 J