Sometimes failure is an option

We spend so much of our time preparing for the success of our project but we hardly invest any time in preparing ourselves for coping with the aftermath of failure. Yet, it is inevitable that some of our projects will fail, no matter how much efforts we personally invest in them.

The reality is that every day we see our organizations approve projects for the wrong reasons. Even when they are started for good reasons, conditions and priorities change causing projects to get derailed. Other projects fall victim to organizational politics and they become doomed to fail.

Even within our projects, we often do not have a say on which project we get work on, we rarely get to select our team members, and we often inherit the wrong sponsor.

In fact, I truly believe that not all projects must be successful. Some projects should fail because they are a waste of the organization’s valuable resources. As Guerrilla Project Managers, we have the responsibility to educate our organizations so such projects get killed, before they become a liability.

We simply have to accept the fact that some project are going to fail and the reasons for such failure will be due to circumstances totally outside of our control. The most important thing is how we, as project managers, recover quickly from the negative impact that failure has on us. If we don’t recover quickly, failure will start chipping away at our confidence in our capabilities, self-esteem, and overall emotional health.

When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to the outcome. We should not shoulder the responsibilities of others or for conditions outside of our control

Going in to every project, we need to detach ourselves from any specific outcome. We need to be flexible. All this does not mean that we should not care whether our project succeeds or permanently resign ourselves to passively accepting bad circumstances. Nor does it mean that we should give up aiming for all our projects to be successful. What we should give up is your attachment to that result.

Accept what it. Don’t waste all your time, focus, and energy wishing that things were different than they are. You should completely accept and be at peace with the outcome of your project.

If we are focused too much on the results, our ego will get in the way. Self-defeating mind chatter will consume us. This is our ego trying to protect us. Our creativity will shutdown, we will act defensively and miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and exercise true leadership.

Instead, what we need is to slow down and reflect. We will need take time, energy, and mental clarity to reflect on what happened, learn from it, and then let it go and move on. In Guerrilla Project Management, sometimes failure is an option.

So how do  you deal with failure? I would love to hear your take on this topic.

You can read more on this topic in the following blog posts:

Failure is in the eye of the beholder

There is really no such thing as failure, only feedback

It takes a village to fail a project

2 Responses to Sometimes failure is an option
  1. […] forces that impact the project that are far and beyond what we individually can control. I wrote in Sometimes failure is an option that “When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to […]

  2. Failure Is An Option!
    February 21, 2010 | 12:13 pm

    […] […]

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Sometimes failure is an option

We spend so much of our time preparing for the success of our project but we hardly invest any time in preparing ourselves for coping with the aftermath of failure. Yet, it is inevitable that some of our projects will fail, no matter how much efforts we personally invest in them.

The reality is that every day we see our organizations approve projects for the wrong reasons. Even when they are started for good reasons, conditions and priorities change causing projects to get derailed. Other projects fall victim to organizational politics and they become doomed to fail.

Even within our projects, we often do not have a say on which project we get work on, we rarely get to select our team members, and we often inherit the wrong sponsor.

In fact, I truly believe that not all projects must be successful. Some projects should fail because they are a waste of the organization’s valuable resources. As Guerrilla Project Managers, we have the responsibility to educate our organizations so such projects get killed, before they become a liability.

We simply have to accept the fact that some project are going to fail and the reasons for such failure will be due to circumstances totally outside of our control. The most important thing is how we, as project managers, recover quickly from the negative impact that failure has on us. If we don’t recover quickly, failure will start chipping away at our confidence in our capabilities, self-esteem, and overall emotional health.

When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to the outcome. We should not shoulder the responsibilities of others or for conditions outside of our control

Going in to every project, we need to detach ourselves from any specific outcome. We need to be flexible. All this does not mean that we should not care whether our project succeeds or permanently resign ourselves to passively accepting bad circumstances. Nor does it mean that we should give up aiming for all our projects to be successful. What we should give up is your attachment to that result.

Accept what it. Don’t waste all your time, focus, and energy wishing that things were different than they are. You should completely accept and be at peace with the outcome of your project.

If we are focused too much on the results, our ego will get in the way. Self-defeating mind chatter will consume us. This is our ego trying to protect us. Our creativity will shutdown, we will act defensively and miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and exercise true leadership.

Instead, what we need is to slow down and reflect. We will need take time, energy, and mental clarity to reflect on what happened, learn from it, and then let it go and move on. In Guerrilla Project Management, sometimes failure is an option.

So how do  you deal with failure? I would love to hear your take on this topic.

You can read more on this topic in the following blog posts:

Failure is in the eye of the beholder

There is really no such thing as failure, only feedback

It takes a village to fail a project

2 Responses to Sometimes failure is an option
  1. […] forces that impact the project that are far and beyond what we individually can control. I wrote in Sometimes failure is an option that “When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to […]

  2. Failure Is An Option!
    February 21, 2010 | 12:13 pm

    […] […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/sometimes-failure-is-an-option/trackback

Sometimes failure is an option

We spend so much of our time preparing for the success of our project but we hardly invest any time in preparing ourselves for coping with the aftermath of failure. Yet, it is inevitable that some of our projects will fail, no matter how much efforts we personally invest in them.

The reality is that every day we see our organizations approve projects for the wrong reasons. Even when they are started for good reasons, conditions and priorities change causing projects to get derailed. Other projects fall victim to organizational politics and they become doomed to fail.

Even within our projects, we often do not have a say on which project we get work on, we rarely get to select our team members, and we often inherit the wrong sponsor.

In fact, I truly believe that not all projects must be successful. Some projects should fail because they are a waste of the organization’s valuable resources. As Guerrilla Project Managers, we have the responsibility to educate our organizations so such projects get killed, before they become a liability.

We simply have to accept the fact that some project are going to fail and the reasons for such failure will be due to circumstances totally outside of our control. The most important thing is how we, as project managers, recover quickly from the negative impact that failure has on us. If we don’t recover quickly, failure will start chipping away at our confidence in our capabilities, self-esteem, and overall emotional health.

When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to the outcome. We should not shoulder the responsibilities of others or for conditions outside of our control

Going in to every project, we need to detach ourselves from any specific outcome. We need to be flexible. All this does not mean that we should not care whether our project succeeds or permanently resign ourselves to passively accepting bad circumstances. Nor does it mean that we should give up aiming for all our projects to be successful. What we should give up is your attachment to that result.

Accept what it. Don’t waste all your time, focus, and energy wishing that things were different than they are. You should completely accept and be at peace with the outcome of your project.

If we are focused too much on the results, our ego will get in the way. Self-defeating mind chatter will consume us. This is our ego trying to protect us. Our creativity will shutdown, we will act defensively and miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and exercise true leadership.

Instead, what we need is to slow down and reflect. We will need take time, energy, and mental clarity to reflect on what happened, learn from it, and then let it go and move on. In Guerrilla Project Management, sometimes failure is an option.

So how do  you deal with failure? I would love to hear your take on this topic.

You can read more on this topic in the following blog posts:

Failure is in the eye of the beholder

There is really no such thing as failure, only feedback

It takes a village to fail a project

2 Responses to Sometimes failure is an option
  1. […] forces that impact the project that are far and beyond what we individually can control. I wrote in Sometimes failure is an option that “When projects fail, we need to take responsibility but only for our own contributions to […]

  2. Failure Is An Option!
    February 21, 2010 | 12:13 pm

    […] […]

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Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/sometimes-failure-is-an-option/trackback