Too Important to Fail: How to Ensure Improvement Projects Drive Sustained Success

I am at the point in my professional career where I have enough experience – and humility – to look back at what I have learned while leading and being a member of project teams. Some of the projects were large – across many business segments worldwide – and spanning multiple years. Some were small, quick improvement projects that required only a few months of effort.

All had one thing in common: A high risk of failure and an even higher risk that, if successful, the results would not be sustained. A survey by the Project Management Institute found that 28% of strategic initiatives are deemed failures by the companies implementing the initiatives. (Failure is defined as not meeting the original goals or business intent of the projects.1) Further, only 29% of all information technology projects are successful, according to the Standish Group, which has conducted surveys on IT projects for more than 20 years.