Failure Friday: An unsuccessful power play

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

Bad project management comes from many sources. Sometimes managers do not take an active enough role, leading to a disjointed, uncoordinated effort. Other times, poor communication dooms even the best-planned project to failure.

In the business world, project failure happens all the time—in fact, a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers recently found that only 2.5 percent of businesses completed 100 percent of their projects. But we don't mean to poke fun only at businesses on this blog. Government projects, from the federal level on down, experience their own share of failures.

Let's consider the example of the San Benito Economic Development Corp. (SBEDC) in Texas.

According to a report in The Monitor, the SBEDC got into some trouble with city officials for allegedly failing to discover that a company seeking to build a $215 million power plant had misrepresented itself.

The news source reported that the Telemark Development Group had been planning to build a natural gas power plant and a warehousing center at an old airport property in San Benito, but later dropped the project.

When city officials investigated the developer, they discovered that Telemark had actually superimposed its logo on a picture of a building in Las Vegas, which supposedly contained its offices. The Monitor writes that "the probe traced [Telemark's] address to a Post Office box at a United Parcel Service building."

When the news broke, city officials and SBEDC members proceeded to blame each other for failing to conduct a background check on Telemark in the first place. The mayor of San Benito blamed the problem on "a lack of communication" between city staff and the SBEDC.

It's possible that this embarrassing situation could have been avoided had there been a trained project manager on hand to make sure that vetting the developer was a standard part of contracting the project. New Leaf's program, "Chartering Projects: Managing the Business Priorities of the Project Portfolio," shows managers how to start and stop projects—including managing the business risk involved in working with developers.

New Leaf's white papers and our online estimating game, QPM, help project managers hone their skills while earning convenient and affordable PDUs for their PMP recertification.

"PMI®," PMP®," and "PMBOK®" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM™" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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