Why Does Project Management Fail?

by Ivars Avots

Fall 1969

Volume 12
Issue 1

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Project management often seems the best approach to tasks which are not effectively handled through traditional methods. In the typical organization, work is carried out by functional departments, such as engineering and manufacturing, and is supported by staff groups, such as personnel and accounting. In project management, on the other hand, a selected individual is given full responsibility for all aspects of a distinctly defined element of the company's business. While in some cases he may be assigned the required functional support, more often he negotiates directly for such support. Although many people view the project manager as a miniature general manager, he usually lacks the commensurate authority and depends on various management techniques to carry out his job. Despite these organizational shortcomings, the project management approach is the preferred method whenever management wants to deal with one-time defined projects, such as construction jobs, introduction of a new product, or installation of a computer; management believes the task on hand is bigger than anything the organization is accustomed to; the task is very complex and involves interdependence of a number of departments or the task has particularly great significance to the organization, such as an investigation related to a merger.

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