Roman Tosnar

Posted on 21st May 2020

Did you know that usually 75% of projects end in failure? This is how to avoid it.

news-paper News | Service Design |

It was about a month ago when our COO mentioned at our team meeting, one interesting piece of information from industry websites: 75 % of projects end in failure. We were wondering why this was happening, so we started digging more deeply into this problem.

Due to the fact that we currently focus on Service design and we want to have all projects succeed for our clients, we decided to dust off our knowledge and look deeply into the fact that during the life of the project we may discover more shortcomings. Based on our own current research, we adjust the approach to implement the changes within the company successfully. Especially today in the times of COVID19, it is important to do the right things and most importantly to build the services that are useful and easy to use for our customers and our employees within our company.

Service design team

What are the biggest mistakes in the life of a project

With that high of a failure rate, most of the mistakes during the project are made in the areas of Finance, Productivity, Internal processes, and Support. In the project phases, it might happen that the costs are higher than the benefits or costs have increased compared to the assumptions (overcost).

In the case of productivity, it’s the lack of capacity and knowledge of current employees. The result is the absence of progress in comparison to the expected timeline and direction of delivery. However, when these two previous areas succeed, the problem often arises in connecting the new solution to current processes.

Last but not least, there is a problem in acceptance and support of the change by employees, usually you can find it in the Sales department or Customer care department. These consequences have a common reason, they were not anticipated in the beginning.

Project failure photo

How to ensure steps to success within a project

In the second half of this April (2020), we started to do some research – so we spoke individually with the respondents and asked them about their experiences with the last projects they led. The goal of these in-depth interviews was to find common mistakes that are made during the life of the project.

In our target groups you could find: Board members, Directors and Business representatives. Typically, they hold positions such as: CEO, CMO, CDO, IT director, Business Owner and others. All of them come from corporations and medium-sized companies around the world from various industries similar to those of our current clients. During individual in-depth interviews, we talked about pain points in 3 areas:

  • Start – delegation of one person only, undefining of team roles, absence of definition of benefits, absence of the strategy, not disclosing for regular employees, language barrier, missing free capacity, lack of knowledge
  • Process – unclear overview, ignoring obstacles, not supporting of other departments, solution/prototype without research and analysis, absence of testing, lose keys team members
  • End – ignoring launch support and making small changes after rollout, absence of support for sales and customer care
Remote interview

In our research, we have verified that companies still overlook important steps in implementation of the change. At the expense of time, capacity and money. The consequence of these reasons is the unsuccessful completion of the project. 75% of projects where costs, time and capacity were lost.

Look under our hood

How do we approach these steps through Service design for new cases? When we look from a big picture, we proceed to implement the change in 4 points that help us eliminate the previously mentioned failure 75% rate.

  1. Brief – team setting, task creating, plan drafting
  2. Discover – analysis, brainstorming, research
  3. Specify – persons, prototyping, testing, feedback, iteration
  4. Launch – roll out, testing, improvements, support

Each case with our clients must focus on the needs of the client. There is no big universal solution for each and every project. We break down these 4 points individually into several sub-levels based on the specific client case.

Concept map creation

So if you find yourself in a situation where you have difficulty with delivering changes in your company, and you know that you need to make a change pretty fast, let’s have a remote coffee and discuss how we can lead you through our Service design process with a clear goal in mind – to successfully complete projects to improve your current services or to create new opportunities as a new service.

Via Service Design we will increase the satisfaction of your customers and employees. Or you can find yourself in a place where together we will find a new market or customer for you. Service Design can bring an increase of revenues and also save costs.