Project Problems - The Causes and how to deal with them.

person icon Manus G. MacManus

Project Problems - The Causes and how to deal with them.

Avoid project failure and boost your career.

updated on icon Updated on Oct, 2023

language icon Language - English

person icon Manus G. MacManus

architecture icon Development,Software Engineering,Project Management

Lectures -10

Duration -1 hours


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Course Description

Research shows that less than 40% of projects actually deliver their set objectives. One of the key reasons for this is that there is little or no focus on the essential Human Behaviour Considerations of working in this people and team based environment. This course addresses that by showing how to deal with these issues in an easily accessible and structured way.

It does not replace training in the regular aspects of project work, but rather supplements it, thus providing a more holistic and therefore successful, approach.

This Much Needed Focus on Human Behaviour Considerations, will mean that Many Project Problems will be Avoided and the Management of those that Remain will be Much Improved.

The course uses the following common scenarios as examples -  

  • Bad Decision Making – decisions being made on non-project grounds.
  • Superhero – the individual more concerned with their own advancement rather than those of the project, but hidden under the pretense of ‘saving’ the project.
  • Bad Communications – the vital information exchange on the project is poor or missing completely.
  • Bad Organization – the structure of the project is not optimized for the project but rather for an existing organization, team or individual.
  • Following Fashion – decisions are made based on what is currently popular or what others are doing rather than the right thing for the project.
  • Bad Resourcing – additional resources needed by the project are badly procured – either internally or externally.
  • Conspiracy of Silence – when people collectively decline to discuss important project issues because they don’t want their own particular problems to be highlighted.
  • Politics – all the messy selfish, non-productive stuff that goes on in organizations that far too many people indulge in.

While research shows that there are common problems (Human Behaviour Scenarios - HBS) across projects, each project also has its own unique combination of environment and factors.

The course therefore works on 2 levels. The 8 different Human Behaviour Scenarios described are amongst the most common which cause projects to fail. However, there are others which you will encounter. The course therefore introduces a simple 4 step method of identifying and managing these.

The first step is to identify and clarify the HBS that may be occurring and assign a generic title to it. This provides a common vocabulary that everyone associated with the project can use to help manage the issue. This step is ‘What is the Issue ?’

The second step is to look for confirmation that the HBS is actually occurring on the project. Each of the 8 HBS’s used on the course has examples of the type of thing to look for. This is ‘Things to Look For’.

The third step is to propose solutions to the problem. Those described in the lecture are necessarily generic solutions to the HBS’s but they provide guidance for your own project.

Finally there is “Project Bingo”. Identifying a HBS on a project can be relatively easy. However, even just raising the issue, much less actually fixing it, is often very difficult. Project Bingo allows you to at least identify that a HBS is occurring on your project – without necessarily having to draw too much attention to yourself (which can sometimes be awkward). It also alerts management to problems they may not have been aware of.


What will you learn in this course:

  • Understand the most common types of behaviour which badly effects projects, by answering the question - “What is the Issue?”
  • Recognize and identify the patterns of these negative behaviours on your project – “Things to Look For”.
  • Learn potential ways of dealing with these problems – “What to do About it”.
  • Play the game of “Project Bingo” – a light hearted (but with a serious intent) way for anyone working on a project to flag up if they think any negative Human Behaviour Scenarios are occurring on their project.


What are the prerequisites for this course?

  • The course is intended for anyone who either works on projects or is involved as, for example, a stakeholder. The more experienced will find the approach helps formalize, rationalize and expand their own understanding, the less experienced will be provided with a highly valuable insight into what actually happens on a project.
Project Problems - The Causes and how to deal with them.


Check out the detailed breakdown of what’s inside the course

2 Lectures
  • play icon Course Introduction 01:18 01:18
  • play icon Course Overview 06:55 06:55
Course Lectures
8 Lectures

Instructor Details

Manus G.  MacManus

Manus G. MacManus

IT consultant and Author.

The author has in many ways the perfect background for producing this course – with a career covering most project roles – from Software Developer, to Analyst, then Project and Programme Management and finally Departmental management.

A 30 year career to date includes a highly successful track record working in both in-house IT Departments and for Consultancies, in most sectors, both private (e.g. Next Plc, TSB Bank, Sequent CS, Atos) and public (e.g. DWP, Wirral MBC, University of Manchester). In particular, the author has extensive experience in using both Agile and ‘Waterfall’ methodologies to successfully deliver bespoke developments, package implementations, CRM and BI/MI solutions and Digital Transformation projects. As a result, the author has more than enough of the very rich, wide ranging, in depth experience and insight needed in order to produce a course of this high standard.

However, better still is that, in addition, he is also an experienced educator. He is a qualified teacher, has tutored a post-graduate IT Management course for the UK’s Open University and has also published a book on Project Management – ‘Project Failure- Why Humans can’t do Projects’.

The author has therefore a rare combination of both practical, real world project experience and teaching expertise which he has brought together to produce a course which provides candidates with an excellent, fast-tracked insight into what really happens on projects. He has done this using the concept of Human Behaviour Scenarios. More importantly – it also shows students how to identify these issues and provides them with alternative strategies to deal with them.

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