In any given project, there are many unified tasks, milestones, dependencies, costs, resources, deliverables, that need to be cautiously managed. In addition to that, many times a project logistics manager is simultaneously managing many different logistics projects, all with different scopes, priorities, resources, and stakeholders. It’s no surprise that projects could run into trouble every day. Sometimes, despite best efforts, things can go wrong. While you may know this to be true, when it’s your project and your reputation is on the line, this feeling of potential failure can be overwhelming. The following Rescue Guide was created to help you become a better project logistics manager — one that is constantly aware of potential problems, can identify when a project or task is at risk, feels comfortable and confident sending out that alert, and can confidently course-correct, getting projects back on track.
The One Real Reason Projects Fail
According to the Project Management Institute, search the internet and you will find literally thousands of experts, articles, papers, research pieces, and blogs that attempt to answer why projects fail. Miscommunication, unclear objectives, poor estimates, scope creep, lack of resources — the list goes on, and on, and on.
The reality is there is only one reason a project fails and that is a poor risk and issue management. The project logistics manager did not identify the problem before it was too late. The best and only way to avoid project failure is prevention. If the project is important, the business can course-correct and help the project become successful by adjusting components like budget, resources, or delivery expectations. Therefore, monitoring and reporting on project health are critical to keeping everything on track. When you identify a problem early on, your chance of project success is significantly improved. This is exactly where project logistics managers and project managers, in general, go wrong.
ROOT CAUSE #1
Looking for a solution before they report the problem.
Project [logistics] managers by nature are problem solvers. They may see an issue and believe they can fix before it escalates. As a result, they wait to report the issue, and sometimes that is too late.
ROOT CAUSE #3
Not looking far enough out.
A project [logistics] manager needs to have a very good understanding of the critical path, and every dependency that may impact that schedule. A small delay or issue this week may not send a project into the red. However, if that slip endangers a task on the critical path a couple weeks out, then you may have a serious problem. Cause and effect.
ROOT CAUSE #4
Not monitoring the project closely enough.
There are many components to a project that need to be tracked separately, such as schedule, scope, budget, and client expectations. Everything may be going great in most of these areas, however, if one task slips, then the entire project needs to be considered at risk. A deviation of 1 millimeter at the start is a mile at the end!
When contracting a Project Logistics Service Supplier (PLSS) like a Project Forwarder or Project Logistics Management company, it is crucial that this company understands the importance of planning, tracking, monitoring, and acting in time before any of the project tasks slip. Proactive working on capital projects takes a certain discipline and proper IT systems that aid in this very complex process of running a logistics project.