control your projects

15 Dec

Brexit and Other Project Failures – How to Avoid Them

The Brexit project seems to be nearing the end game. But is it a project?

A project is a temporary piece of work which is unique, risky and brings with it change. Needless to say Brexit fits into this category.

“Why Every Government Gets Things Wrong – and what We Can Do about it – 2018” In this study by Christopher Hope and Richard Bacon, they site some of the following reasons for project failures:

  • Poor definition of scope and objectives
  • Poor estimation of time with fluid end dates
  • Lack of ownership and accountability
  • Incomplete or lack of stakeholder buy-in

We can read a lot of these into the Brexit project but also in many other pieces of work. So here are 4 fundamental starting points to concentrate on to avoid project failure.


Upskill – If you ask someone to do a job one would expect them to have the required skills. The same applies to project management and the team. A certification such as Prince2 is not always required. Workshop type training is best for gaining immediate skills. Concentrate first on scoping and scheduling upskilling.

Accountability – It is important that each member of the project team is responsible and accountable for their work and the decisions they make. This will greatly enhance work effort and collaboration within the team and make for a very productive working environment. Trust in the project team is required here allowing them to grow into their project work and deliver results.

Communication – Make every effort to identify those impacted by your project early and communicate your intentions clearly. Ask for their opinion, solicit feedback and engage positively with them. Also keep them up to date as the project moves along. This will help with stakeholder buy-in. It is important to note that this may take time and should begin well in advance of the project start date.

Standardize – Use project management templates to help you to standardize the work of planning and controlling your project. The project team will appreciate this, their work will become more consistant and they will understand your expectations.

Learn your lessons – we have all made mistakes on projects, but have we learned from them? Start by reviewing your previous projects and highlight what could have been done better. Bring these into your next project. Learn during the project not after. Bring lessons discussions into your meetings during the project and do not wait until the project is finished to report and log lessons


Projects fail frequently in most organisations, even those which appear to be very successful. Failed projects will cost your organisation time,money, resources and will negatively impact on your project teams over time. If you put in place simple procedures, repeat them, get better at them and learn as you go, things will only get better.

It may be a little late for Brexit to be considered a successful project no matter what the outcome but it’s not too late for you to implement these fundamentals to your projects for 2021.

If you wish to discuss this or other project concerns, contact me for a free 1 hour consultation on managing your projects effectively.





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