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What To Do When Your Project Is Failing

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

This blog is for you if:

  • you’re in the middle of a project that isn’t going very well

  • in the middle of a bad day

  • Or you feel like only bad stuff happens to you

We all know that a high percentage of projects fail for many reasons, (and I have experienced this many times) but when you’re caught in the storm, these five insights will help to guide you out back into the light.

1. Act sooner rather than later

We need to let go of our ego’s and talk to our project sponsors and remember, be objective in your analysis. Don’t point fingers, admit your mistakes and take responsibility. You are the project manager after all.

2. Get out of your own way

It’s easy for your confidence to be dented when things aren’t going your way. If you’re anything like me; you always want to do your best and launch into a personal attack on your abilities when mistakes are made, even if they aren’t always your fault.  DON’T DO THIS! Not only does this waste time but will keep you where you are instead of where you need to be.

Talk to a friend or colleague and then move on.

3. Revise your plan

It’s clear some things will need to change.  Was the overall objective too ambitious, has the project failed to deliver a compelling vision for engagement, is the project visible enough, do you have access to the right resources, do you need more strategic support?

Revise your plan and be explicit about what you need and what you will do to turn this around.

4. The project may stop…. And that’s OK!

If the project is not going to continue (which may be the best thing that could ever happen to you right now) make the time to reflect and evaluate. There are always lessons to be learnt, but before you launch into the postmortem, it’s possibly best to wait a couple of weeks for the dust to settle and emotions to stabilise.

5. Full steam ahead

If your project is going to continue, with the support of the sponsors, a revised plan and positive attitude,  you need to put your foot on the accelerator.

Be focused and organised like never before, work diligently and increase your communication with your teammates.

For more PCN insights please check out

We hope this helps!

About The Author

Tara and Team THC provide project and network management and training to Primary Care Networks. Between our training programmes, facilitation and interim network programmes, we have now supported over 50 PCNs!

Tara has an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care, is the author of over 200 blogs also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at

Follow Tara on Twitter


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