How Power Struggles Can Lead to Project Failure

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With the number of failed projects that happen constantly, it's no wonder that when a project shows promise that people flock to it. Everyone seems to either want to be a part of a successful project, make sure that a successful project serves their interests or they want to sabotage what would otherwise be a successful project. Unfortunately, people aren't interested in getting involved in projects early when their involvement is really needed. I've found that it is very difficult to get people to show up at project kick off meetings and requirements gathering sessions but they seem to flock in droves to the meetings right before the weekend that the implementation is scheduled.

Everyone likes to be on a winning team. People see a succeeding project as an opportunity to get their name on something positive, to have their names on the list of credits. Personally, I just jump into some not because I want to bask in the glory of a successful project but because I see an opportunity to learn something new. The best way to learn something new is to be involved in doing it, not to mention it is a great method of resume building.

While my personal behavior is certainly still self-serving it's not malicious; there are far worse examples of exploiting a project for ones own hidden agenda. The worst of these is where others (application development managers at my company) that have consistently failed at every project they attempt so when they see a project that looks promising, they try to throw a wrench in the works with last-minute requirements or massive quantities of false FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). These are the most damaging power displays to a project. They can be combated with ample communication very early and throughout a project. I think that these project saboteurs come not only from envy but because they were not directly engaged from the beginning of the project. I find that many are insulted that they were not seen as important...
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