It's not my fault! Exploring the role of the client in program performance

We live in a world of increasingly complex programs. They are vital to the success of organizations from governments to corporations, yet many fail to deliver. Much of the analysis of failed outsourced programs has focused on the delivery side of the relationship despite the increasing evidence that much of the blame for failure is with the client. This leads to the plaintive cry of program and project managers that the failure really isn’t their fault.The purpose of this paper is to begin a conversation at this conference on the role (both positive and negative) that a client can play in delivery. As a provocation for this conversation, we identify 10 client behaviors—and provide illustrative cases—that are prevalent in failed and failing programs. It is notable that these generally represent a low-level conception of programs and their management, and that to move away from these approaches would require a move from project-based to program-based thinking. We speculate, based on examples of where it has hap
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