To become an exceptional Project Manager, you need to learn how to learn from failure.
Many years ago, I can upon a helpful phrase:
There’s no such thing as failure: there’s only feedback
Suppressing my desire to shout ‘of course there’s failure’,
I pondered it…
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Every time you fail, you’re getting new information about something that doesn’t work. So treat failure as a gift of knowledge.
Here’s another reframe of failure. This time, we can see failure as an indicator of creativity and daring. The ‘fast failure’ approach to business innovation stems from this. Try new stuff, then move on quickly if it doesn’t work. Moving on quickly is what ‘fail fast’ really means.
We do. Research seems to indicate that we learn faster when we fail first, and then get it right. Indeed, I have wondered about creating training that sets participants up to fail. Don’t worry. I haven’t done it.
From these observations, you’d think so. But it’s all about context.
Failure is expensive. It wastes time and money, and sometimes loses all the planned benefit. As a project manager, failure is your enemy.
Yet we constantly see reports about project failure. The perennial Standish Group report sees a lot of it. The most recent PMI Pulse of the Profession Report finds 69% of projects met their goals. The other 31% did not.
Failure means something went wrong or someone did something wrong.
The important thing about failure is what you do as a result.
Will you be a poor or average project manager, or one who does exceptionally well? To be the latter, you need wisdom.
Thinking about what happened, how it happened, and what alternatives there were. The best project managers review their assumptions, their process, and the outcomes. And then consider alternatives.
Failure is expensive. If you don’t learn from failure, you will waste all that cost.
Nor should you want to. That is why I have compiled a list of the reasons why projects fail, and how to avoid them. It collates the ten points of project failure and the primary reasons for each. And it also sets out the sources of project risk.
Check-out our course: ‘How to Avoid Project Failure’
… and get 20% discount with Coupon Code: HAPF20YOUTUBE
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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 ProjectManager.com 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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