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The causes of project failure

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2 Author(s)
Pinto, J.K. ; Coll. of Bus. Adm., Maine Univ., Orono, ME, USA ; Mantel, S.J., Jr.

A study was conducted of 97 projects identified as failures by the projects' managers or parent organizations. Using the project implementation profile, a set of managerially controllable factors is identified as associated with project failure. The factors differed according to three contingency variables: the precise way in which failure was defined; the type of project, and the stage of the project in its life cycle. Implications for project management and for future research on failed projects are discussed. The results demonstrated empirical justification for a multidimensional construct of project failure, encompassing both internal efficiency and external effectiveness aspects. The fact that the critical factors associated with failure depended on the way in which failure is defined suggests that it is necessary to know considerably more about how project managers define failure (and success) and, indeed how the parent organization makes judgments on the matter

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 1990

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