Project Management Business Digest 2017

Why waste resources on projects that will fail?


  1. Editorial – Why waste resources on projects that will fail?
  2. Guidelines for completing projects successfully and achieving sustainable benefits in project deliverables in developing countries
  3. Guidelines for success in executing projects.
  4. Total Technology Consultants Limited (TTC) – A project management consulting company.

Detailed Contents

  1. Editorial: Why waste resources on projects that will fail?

Research shows that globally, the failure rate of projects is as high as 70%. The failure rate in developing countries should be higher. Should we then stop using projects? No, because projects are tools for translating strategic decisions taken in corporate or government boardrooms into products and services that should meet the needs of citizens and users. However, it becomes a waste of resources to invest on projects if we do not take necessary actions to ensure that our projects will succeed since the probability of failure is high.

The way forward is to manage projects correctly. To achieve this, we should be well informed on the causes of failures which we need to address in order to succeed. Success is not just completing the project on time, on or within budget and scope. It also means that the benefits from the project deliverable can be obtained over the planned lifetime of the deliverable. It is therefore necessary to learn how to achieve sustainability in the operations of the deliverables in order to reap the benefits of the project over the planned duration.

Guidelines for achieving sustainability of project benefits and overall success in project management are the subject of this digest. It is hoped that every professional with responsibility for project planning and implementation for achieving business strategic objectives will find some useful takeaway information from these guidelines. You are welcome to discuss this and other topics in project management with us. Our contact information is given at the end of this digest.   


  1. Guidelines for successfully completing projects and achieving sustainable benefits in project deliverables in developing countries


The failure rate of projects in developing countries should be higher than 70 percent. Even within the less than 30 percent successful projects, there is also the worse failure rate of inability to sustain the benefits of project deliverables. An example could be an electricity generator that has been delivered to produce 250 MW (Megawatts) of electricity with a lifetime of 20 years. After two years, the generator fails and cannot be kept in operation such that the benefit of generating 250 MW is no longer possible. It becomes a major loss of fund that the generator cannot deliver electricity for the remaining 18 years.

Arrangement for achieving sustainability of benefits in this example comprises the business and operations management activities and resources that should be put in place to ensure that the generator will produce electricity for 20 years, which is what it is designed to produce, instead of two years. In effect, the equipment delivered in a project should produce benefits for the number of years it has been designed to deliver and not just for only 5% of its lifetime.

  • Sustainability of Project Benefits

Achieving sustainable benefits in project deliverables is often considered a more practical yardstick for measuring project success than evaluating the success through the production of the deliverables on or within time, cost, and scope. Often, especially in our developing economy, after a project team has produced the project deliverable and handed it over to the customer, the team generally leaves the project site. Sadly, experience has shown that after a few years, the deliverable fails because it is no longer maintained and the necessary resources are not available. As a result, the benefits are no longer produced. Failure of the deliverables could be due to a number of factors such as:

  • There are no parts to replace failed parts in the project equipment,
  • The deliverable cannot be maintained because most of the persons trained to operate and maintain it have left the organisation.
  • The consumables for operations have run out and cannot be replaced.
  • All these happen because the various project equipment have been imported so that the parts for support of the operations have to be imported. In the absence of funding, such importation is not feasible.
  • This failure to maintain deliverables in operation has been a recurring feature in many failed and abandoned project in developing countries. It happens because during initial planning of the project, resources for the project were planned for and provided up to the closing phase, this is after the deliverable has been produced and handed over to the customer. No resources have been planned and provided for the operation of the deliverable after the project has ended.


In effect, to ensure the sustainability of benefits of deliverable which could be achieved when the project deliverable is kept in operation for as many years as envisaged during project planning, resources for operating the project deliverables after the closing phase should be planned for and provided as required.


Other guidelines for achieving project success are as follows:

  • Prepare the project Plan and Requirements

To achieve project success, it is necessary to prepare the project plan and requirements before ever embarking on the project. Describe the requirements, state exactly what will be produced, the timeframe for start and finish of the project. Define success and failure of the project.

  • Actively involve the customer

The customer could be internal or external. The end user of the project deliverable is the customer who has to be satisfied that the deliverable, which is the output of the project, meets their needs. The customer has to be involved in defining the objectives and the details of the project requirements. He should be involved throughout the entire project life-cycle. There should be communication with the customer so that he is informed of the progress. This will help manage his expectations and also win his buy-in at every stage such that the acceptance of the project deliverable at the end of the project will be smooth.

  • Prepare work breakdown structure elements of the project

This entails breaking down the project into smaller work packages or “mini-projects” with appropriate timelines so that each work package can be easily implemented. Milestones for completion of some important events in the project should be added.  

  • Ensure good communication

Every important stakeholder has to be provided with timely, probably weekly, information on the developments and progress in the project implementation. Holding of regular weekly meetings with the project steering committee is advisable. If a software solution is being used, check for information on the organization of project meetings by using templates created in the project management software.

  • Ensure effective Risk Management: Prepare for risk management and monitor it all through the project. Consider the risk management practice to implement.
  • Prepare for Quality management and monitor it all through. Follow quality assurance and control best practices to ensure that the quality of your project product meets the customer’s requirements.
  • In the Project Requirements, define Deliverable Acceptance Criteria. It may be necessary to design a deliverable acceptance form containing the features agreed with the customer. This will enable the customer to ascertain that a given deliverable meets their needs and expectations.


  1. Guidelines for Success in Executing Projects.

These are five tips to help achieve the success of your project during implementation.

  • Monitor Schedule Weekly

Monitor your project schedule with weekly reviews that you can add to your regular task list. Make sure that the performance is meeting the schedules and milestones. If it is falling behind on completing tasks then adjust work load accordingly to stay on track to ensure that you are in control and not just reacting. This is necessary to ensure that the project is completed on time.

  • Monitor and Manage Quality

The quality of your deliverable has to be built into it and cannot wait to be assessed and added at the end of the project.  It is important to use an effective quality management procedure that enables you to monitor and correct and deviations from set clear benchmarks throughout the project life cycle. This will ensure that quality controls are being applied through every phase of the project.

  • Manage Cost

In the project plan, an estimated budget has been prepared. During implementation, the expenditures have to be compared with the budgeted figures. As you track the expenditures, that is the actual cost and compare them with the budgeted cost and forecast to discover the variances. There is need to manage the variances to ensure that the project is completed within budget.

  • Manage Customer’s Satisfaction

Whether internal or external, the customer or end user should confirm that the project deliverable meets their needs which justifies embarking on the project. Their acceptance of the project deliverable, in the main, determines the success or failure of the project. Therefore keep them in communication all through the phases of the project and obtain their feedback early and often, so that they are made to feel part of the project team.

  • Monitor Project Performance to Business Case

In the project plan, there should be clear definition of the deliverables, clear goals and how the deliverables and the resulting benefits align to the organizational strategic objectives. Prepare a calendar to show when the project deliverables and their benefits can be compared with the benefits and deliverables planned to be achieved. Check that the planned goals are being met. Whilst the formal review is done at the end of the project, but the informal reviews should be conducted throughout the project to ensure that the targets are being met.


  1. Total Technology Consultants Limited (TTC) – A project management consulting company. We are a project management consulting company. We provide services at our offices or at your facilities if and when requested. We are the foremost Oracle Primavera solution provider in West Africa and also practise from our head office in the UK.

Who we are: From 2003, we started working with Primavera Incorporated as the only Primavera Authorised Representative (PAR) in West Africa. With the takeover of Primavera Inc. by Oracle in 2009; we became a Gold Level Partner Network Member of Oracle. We conduct training for Oracle University and as partners of Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, we procure, install, and implement Oracle Primavera software solutions..

Our services: Some of the services include:

  • Procurement of all Oracle Primavera solutions such as all Primavera P6 series including P6EPPM and Primavera Unifier. We are approved and authorised partners to provide the services to customers.
  • Installation and Implementation of project and risk management solutions.
  • Training on generic project management
  • Training on Oracle Primavera project and risk management courses
  • Preparation of proposals
  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Conducting research and project planning
  • Comprehensive support to local customers
  • Other consulting assignments

Our offices

In Africa: Our training facilities are located at our office in Port Harcourt at 4 God’s Grace Estate, 5 Waterworks Road, Rumuola. Contact phone no.: +2348037100284

In the UK: Our office is at Fairview, Duke Street, Withington, Hereford, HR1 3QD.

From this office, we are able to guarantee timely delivery of Primavera solutions and products because we not only propose and order but we also follow up on your requirements with our partners globally to ensure that we deliver on our promises.

Contact phone numbers: +441432851899, +447802718845