An empirical review and evaluation of the causes of project failure
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Many organisations have embraced the concept of projects as a mechanism for delivering strategic objectives. The work of a project is transient with a defined beginning and end. This conceptual study paper is primarily a literature review in project management with the objective of identifying causes of project failures and research gaps in the area. Project success has traditionally been defined in terms of completing the project within time, cost and quality. However, current thinking is that apart from time, cost and quality dimensions, a successful project must also create value to the organisation and stakeholders. The study found that although most activities are being organised in terms of projects, the project failure rate is quite high. In most organisations, project failure may be attributed to lack of stakeholders' involvement, poor project planning, inadequate communication, lack of executive support, lack of adequate resources, scope creep, poorly defined requirements, unrealistic budgets and lack of control. In addition, use of inappropriate project methodology and organisation structure contributes towards project failure. The study identified the need for empirical research to identify and rank causes of project failures in Kenya. In addition, although the issue of leadership is one of the most researched areas in behavioural sciences there is need for an empirical study on the relationship between project performance and leadership style, project characteristics and project manager competence. Further, an empirical study on the relationship between various stakeholders and project success should be undertaken.
CitationAn independent study paper presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the award of the degree of doctor of philosophy, school of business, University of Nairobi.