Here is an example diagram of a project life cycle.
The project starts with the initiation, this is where you need to define what your project is so you have a clear specification of what you want to achieve at the end. The next stage is planning, when planning it is important to make a clear and simple action plan. With this it will be easier for you to not only follow the plan, but also to check back at you plan and see what you still need to do. Financial plans are also vital to achieve your goals, Clear budgets and forecasts should be made to allow you to be ready for your costs. A action plan would also be useful so you are ready in case any unforeseen costs should arise The next stage is project execution.
This stage is obvious, you build your project and implement it. The final stage is project closure, this is where you evaluate the project and review what you could change, after a while of testing your project you can write a comprehensive review of what you need to change and fix with your project. It is also important to communicate throughout the project. If you are working as part of a large team communication is essential to achieving your goals. Poor leadership and lack of direction is main reason why a project can fail, this is linked with planning in that if the team members don’t know whats going on they can’t work.
Key reasons why a project can fail:
The first reason is poor planning. Big projects can be very complicated, if your team are not sure what they are supposed to be doing there will be sections missing, there may even be people working on the exact same thing. Also, as shown by the second example bellow, not accounting for all factors when planning can result in failure. Financial planning is also essential for a leader to correctly budget the project and allocate each section a suitable spending limit.
Without a good financial budget that allows for unexpected costs and problems, the risks are significantly raised since you may not be able to cover your costs and thus run out of cash. Lack of communication can also result in failure, one good example of this was NASA loosing their mars rover, were one team was working in metric, and the other was working in imperial units. If you don’t release your product in time, it is possible that it will be out of date by the time that it is released. This is extremely important in the technology business, take a look at example 3 bellow. You must also ensure that the product you are releasing is fit for the times.
Here are some examples of failed projects from a range of backgrounds.
1: Apple Power Mac G4 Cube
This is an example of how Tech giants can still fail. In 2000 Apple released the G4 Cube and sales were slow.
The reasons for this were:
High price tag
Since apple had the reputation of premium quality products for a premium price, when they released the system and the plastic case cracked and had mold lines consumers were not happy. There were also several things overlooked in the design, such as the fact that you had to tip the machine on the side to connect wires and the hidden power button. These two flaws combined with the extortionate price tag resulted in a failed product for Apple. This example goes to show that even huge companies projects can fail. Apple did all the planning right and had plenty of financial backing to push the project forward, they just messed up the product it’s self.
2: Soviet missile early warning system
In ’83 the soviet’s had a early warning system which would warn them should America launch an attack on Russia. However the system had triggered that 5 ICBM’s had been launched by America, when in reality the system had been triggered by sunlight reflecting of clouds. Fortunately the operator did not believe the warning and did not respond.
Rather than updating their phones to smart phones, Nokia stuck with just regular phones which were in very low demand. Nokia were not with the times and released outdated products which led to a massive fall in market share and stock prices
Relation to my project
These examples and points relate to my project and every project. I have learnt from my research of project failures, I can bare these failures in mind while I am working on my project. So, from the powermac g4 cube example I will ensure that the design meets the standards that are required as well as the quality of the final product. From the Early warning example I will carefully consider all of the factors that i can see which would affect my project. Finally from the Nokia example I will ensure that the project meets the technology standards of the time.