5 reasons why infrastructure projects fail and what we can do to change that

infrastructure projectsinfrastructure projects
infrastructure projectsinfrastructure projects


5 reasons why infrastructure projects fail and what we can do to change that 

So, you’ve been working tirelessly on projects yet somewhere along the line they seem to fail. Now, this can be because of many reasons that, sometimes, may not even be your fault. Now, this doesn’t stop you from feeling disheartened when a project fails. This is especially the case in South Africa because we are still a developing country, and in desperate need for successful and sustainable infrastructure development. 

This is especially the case for bigger projects as they require more effort, time and money. But, we have compiled a list of the possible reasons why your infrastructure projects are failing and what you can do to rectify those mishaps. So, take a moment to read this article. 


Inadequate preparation 

Of course, we had to start with preparation because that is fundamental for any project. Now, for you to have a successful infrastructure project, there needs to be efficient planning from the onset. This ensures that you know all the steps to take and have planned ahead for any mishaps that may come your way. From the beginning, you and your team need to fully understand what needs to be done for this project to be as successful as it can be. 

And, make sure that you're reminded of the end goal during the entire process so that you don't lose sight of your goal and the right way of achieving it. So, make sure your preparation is on par so that you don't make it challenging for you and your team. 

Conduct a meeting with involved parties and discuss everything. This means to discuss what each team member is entailed to do in this project, how much you expect it to cost, how long and what type of quality you wish to achieve, and how you plan on doing that. This will ensure everyone is on the same page from the onset. Any issues need to be discussed right there and then before any production starts. 


Problematic leadership 

Now, this is mainly for project managers as this is your responsibility. But, this is a tip for everyone who is in management positions. Because, for a project to run smoothly, you all need to move as one and be on the same page. This means everyone should be focused on the end goal; discuss any issues and work together to deal with them. There should be no micro-managing or thinking your solutions are better. Instead, you need to trust and respect your team, but also learn to have one solution in the end, especially for large scale types of infrastructure. 


Inexperienced team members 

Having inexperienced team members is detrimental to any project. Now, this applies to top management and those working on the ground. Everyone needs to be of the best calibre to ensure everything runs smoothly. No one should need to pick up anyone else’s slack as that will delay the entire project. Now, this may be the project manager’s job, but it should apply to everyone. Yes, top management and those working on the ground can produce optimal work, but if the project manager is problematic, it will still be a sinking ship. The project manager needs to be capable of handling any project given and ensure it reaches it's potential. 


Disregarding potential project warning signs 

Before a project collapses, there are always telltale signs that someone saw during the phases. That's normal, but if someone fails to mention it from the get-go, it can be harmful to the entire project. So. whether it seems insignificant, always make sure you acknowledge every issue and find solutions before carrying on with another phase of the project. This is also why the project should always be tracked. This will ensure you know exactly what's going on and that you're still running on time. This will also ensure you notify the right person, should there be something that is not aligned. So, keep track and let all parties know what is going on. 


Poor communication 

We all know that good communication is key whenever more than one party is involved. Now, one of the reasons why your projects might have been failing is because there was no communication during the project. Communication doesn't stop once the preparation meeting has been held; it's an ongoing process. This is why transparency is so important across the floor. So, develop a communication plan that is effective, but also does not distract people from the project. Maybe there can be a day where the progress of the project is discussed. It is advisable to have it face to face, or telephonically as electronic communication may cause issues in the future. Make sure after the meeting each party is sent meeting notes and progress reports to ensure everyone is on the same page. 


Final thoughts 

Successful infrastructure is an important tool to improve economic growth. Now, unfortunately, there will be some issues along the way regardless of the type of infrastructure project it may be. This is why it is crucial to follow these five steps to help improve our economic development, and hopefully, the standard of living in South Africa. 


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