Project Disasters, Lessons Learned, and Leadership Opportunities


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This presentation comes to you from International Project Management Day 2013 - the annual global virtual summit from IIL that brings together business and technology leaders from around the world to discuss the latest trends and methods in business, leadership and communications. To view the accompanying video keynotes and presentations connect to the event here or purchase the DVD collection

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  • [Introduce yourself] I'll be presenting on the topic of Mentoring The key aspects of which are “what is mentoring” and “why is beneficial to both the mentee and the mentor; as well as, to an organization”
  • [Introduce yourself] I'll be presenting on the topic of Mentoring The key aspects of which are “what is mentoring” and “why is beneficial to both the mentee and the mentor; as well as, to an organization”
  • Project Disasters, Lessons Learned, and Leadership Opportunities

    1. 1. Project Disasters, Lessons Learned, and Leadership Opportunities The Experience of Project Failures Drives Positive Leadership Strategies Dr. Harold Kerzner & Frank P. Saladis, PMP ©2013 International Institute for Learning, Inc., All rights reserved.
    2. 2. Some Projects Will Fail
    3. 3. Categories of Success and Failure Complete Success Partial Success Partial Failure Complete Failure
    4. 4. Strategies for Success from the Failures of the Past Positive Leadership Opportunities from Lessons Learned
    5. 5. Learning From Failure is Important Project failure can be painful but the lessons learned are invaluable if they are acted upon! The goal is really not to “fail fast” nor to justify or minimize the effects of failure. The goal is to succeed, and sometimes failure is part of the process.
    6. 6. Postulates of Lessons Learned Failures, for many reasons, are underreported Every project failure carries with it at least one practical lesson At the detailed level, each project failure is unique It is difficult to draw general conclusions from one failure Studying multiple failures leads to higher level generalizations that can provide us with real learning opportunities
    7. 7. The Cost of Project Failure NYC 911 Airbus A380 Boston Big Dig Mars Orbiter and Lander Columbia Shuttle Denver Airport Baggage System Lessons learned: Although we do not plan for failure, we must be sure that our business can survive the failure of a project.
    8. 8. Projects and Leadership Failure US GOV Defense Project: One Billion Dollars Spent – No results The reasons: Lack of a master schedule Acquisition strategy changes Infrastructure changes mid-project that caused delays Bickering and conflicts between contractors Lack of one accountable leader who would be given and exercise the authority to enforce any organizational changes necessary for project implementation and success.
    9. 9. What We Expect From Leaders Vision – sets goals high, but not unreachable Entrepreneur, takes risks An eagle eye in issues of finances and people Communicates relentlessly – keeping the team / employees informed, Maintains the big picture view, Stays connected with key stakeholders Thinks strategically – 6 moves ahead Use of experience (lessons learned)
    10. 10. Feedback Feedback is essential for consistent and effective leadership Having many decision-making experiences is not enough Candid feedback on the impact of decisions at any leadership level should be expected and encouraged Stakeholder interests are addressed more effectively by receiving feedback from multiple sources
    11. 11. Self Reflect Review your past (successes and challenges) True leaders contemplate on their experiences They put a lot of thinking into what others say about them Constantly looking for ways to improve Organizations create a learning culture by challenging leaders to self reflect about how to do better next time
    12. 12. What We All Should Learn Understand your stakeholders Ensure Constant communications Share what you know Define success and business value from the client’s and the performing organization viewpoint Some projects should be stopped before they become disasters Be honest about failure, no cover-ups Look for root causes and solutions, not blame
    13. 13. Positive Leadership 7 Capacities Authenticity – credibility, confidence Purpose – have a direction, are driven Sponsorship – defining what is important Resilience – Bouncing back after a disappointment Community Building Reason – wise decisions, seize opportunity, minimize threats Gratitude – appreciating the contributions of others
    14. 14. International Project Management Day Thinking Positive Project managers make a difference Keep learning and share what you learn Troubled projects will occur – Be prepared Carefully consider risks and your decisions Utilize positive leadership You are indispensible to business Thank You!
    15. 15. Questions?
    16. 16. Intelligence – Integrity – Innovation We invite you to take a closer look at what we can accomplish together. Please visit or contact to learn more about our training, consulting, coaching, customized courses and other pathways for professional development. Connect with Us: @IILGlobal ©2013 International Institute for Learning, Inc., All rights reserved.