No collaboration = Project chaos

Project chaos is not something that any business owner, project sponsor or project manager want and yet it can be an easy thing to achieve on projects when their is no real collaboration.

Here are some of the things that I see that cause chaos.

1. Lack of communication

When there is no communication flowing through the team to ALL of the team members, this causes chaos.  This is especially true where decisions are being made and not communicated broadly enough. The impacts here are far reaching, because not only could it mean that development is not the way that it is needed for the business, but that a key piece of the process is forgotten.  Workarounds are put in place and not called out so that when it comes time to manage the change impacts no one is aware of them, and so the outcome for the business is not positive.

2. Team members working at cross purposes

The development team is working on developing what they believe is needed, but at the same time the business SME’s are further developing requirements, the same ones that were locked down (apparently).  What impact does this have, well apart from the obvious issue of project scope, it also impacts timelines, delivery capability, and of course cost.

3. Issues are coming up and not being carefully tracked and monitored

Issues are coming up and only one or if you are lucky, two people in the team know about them.  All well and good if they are issues that don’t really impact on anything (highly unlikely).  If they are issues that do impact on the outcome of the project, then there is trouble.  How can a project manager know that what is delivered is the way that it needs to be, that they can hold their hand on their hard and say that it has all been delivered successfully, when issues are hidden from view, and not being addressed. Remember to manage your issues.

4. Risks are being forgotten and not mitigated

The chaos factor here is huge.  What if one of those risks will impact the organisation, not just the project, if it is realised.  Project team members must consider ALL of the risks that arise and ensure that they are tracked and mitigated.  The excuse of “we’re too busy developing the code” or “we’re too busy doing testing” is not an acceptable excuse.

5. There are no stream leads

Stream leads play a critical role in ensuring that their patch, work area is operating efficiently.  Without key stream leads chaos ensues because no one is monitoring resource allocation, or the delivery outcomes, or issues that are arising.  The impacts here are significant as not only can it mean additional resourcing requirements, additional funding, but also that key pieces of the project are simply not delivered.

The basis for each of these points of failure is a lack of team work and collaboration. People on the ‘team’ not collaborating and working to meet a common outcome – successful project delivery.



Written by Karen Munro

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at