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Failure and Blame: Learn to Avoid Project Failure | Video

Failure and Blame: Learn to Avoid Project Failure

Project Failure is one of the favorite topics for project managers. From pub conversations to the outrageously-priced Standish Report, we love to discuss and read about failed projects.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Failures of the Past

We think that, by learning about them, we can avoid repeating the errors of the past. But perhaps Hegel was right:

‘History teaches us that mankind learns nothing from history.’

I am never one to be fatalistic

Accepting we can do nothing is not in my nature. And I don’t believe it is in the nature of any true Project Manager. We take on big, complex, risky endeavors. And we do so with the confidence we can deliver.

So, I choose to learn about the causes of failure.

Failure is not the same as blame

Regular readers of my articles will recognize one of my favorite quotes. It comes from the movie, Papillon. The character, Leon Dega (played by Dustin Hoffman) says:

‘Blame is for God and small children’

Blame is for God and Small Children
Blame is for God and Small Children

Resorting to blame when your project goes badly is immature. Childish.

  • It’s not my fault
  • It’s the team
  • I didn’t have enough time
  • or budget
  • My stakeholders got in the way
  • My sponsor was out of control
  • I didn’t have the training
  • It was just bad luck


The truth is, those are all excuses. Each one can be addressed by one thing: good project management.

And I don’t mean the ‘I have the certificate to prove it’ type of good project management. I mean practicing the craft of project management well. That, by the way, is why my project management courses are designed as they are: to focus on day-to-day delivery skills.

So, stop blaming and start learning

I have made a detailed study of the causes of Project Failure. And I have published my work for you in a short video course (16 videos / 100 minutes), called How to Avoid Project FailureTake a look at the details and apply Coupon Code HAPF20YOUTUBE  at checkout to get 20% off. 

Success Bundle: Project Definition Kit & How to Avoid Project Failure

Or, use coupon SUCCESS20YOUTUBE for 20% off our Project Success Bundle that combines How to Avoid Project Failure with our Project Definition Kit. 

In How to Avoid Project Failure, I identify:

  1. 10 Points of Project Failure 
    …which will alert you to where you need to focus your attention. So you can be seen as a strategically-minded Project Manager.
  2. 61 Primary Reasons for Project Failure 
    …that will alert you to specific actions you can set up and take. So you can take preventative actions to stay in control of your project.
  3. Over 100 Sources of Project Risk 
    …that will help you jump-start your risk identification process and reduce workload. So you can start your project efficiently and effectively with a solid risk register.

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

Learn Still More

For more great Project Management videos, please subscribe to the OnlinePMCourses YouTube channel.

If you want basic Management Courses – free training hosted on YouTube, with 2 new management lessons a week, check out our sister channel, Management Courses.

For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.

For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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