Project Management Institute

Systematic biases and culture in project failures

Despite the knowledge generated from years of intensive research, project teams continue--at alarmingly high rates--to fail in meeting their objectives and targets. One factor causing such rampant and ongoing failure may involve decision-maker biases. This article examines how systematic biases can affect project outcomes and potentially cause project failure. In doing so, it discusses how the interaction of critical project factors (related to culture, leadership, management, and behavior) can shape a project's outcome. It then explains this study's methodology to identify and define the systematic biases, a methodology that involved using both the Delphi Method and 22 business professionals--organized into five groups--to identify the biases causing the failure of eight high-profile projects, each of which the author summarizes.
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