Troubles in Project Execution Phase
Project execution phase is the third phase of the project management cycle, next to initiation and planning. In this stage, whatever comes out in the planning get executed and the project work gets done. Most of the time and depending on the project type, this is considered to be the longest phase of a project cycle and probably the most costly stage.
Project execution is also the most risky part of the project management where troubles are very likely, especially if it is not handled properly by the management team or there is lack of risk management practices observe during the whole process. Here are few examples of trouble experienced in the project execution phase.
Project team related problems
There maybe times when a project fails during the execution phase due to project team related problems. Among these problems may include vested interest of some project team members, politicking within the group, misunderstandings and other team related issues. Some other team related issue might be changes in the project team. Problems are likely to crop up if the planning team will not be the same team who manage the execution of the project. This is also true when some of key the individuals in the original team leave the project for some reasons during the execution stage. These issues sometimes might cause trouble during the execution phase if not properly addressed by the concerned body.
Cost related issues
Another issue that may arise during the execution stage is cost related problems. One example is the construction of the Boston Central/Artery Tunnel or the Big Dig Project . The project team spent $2 billion worth of modifications and change orders during the execution stage resulting to project cost overruns. The problem was traced to poor change control process. Aside from this, the project team doesn't allocate allowance for inflation adjustments and growth in scope. It was also loaded with other issues such as environment compliance issue and others. But in an inquiry done by some governing body in 2005, the cost overrun in the said project all boiled down to the organizational failure of the management team and its lack of oversight measures.
In any project, there might arise some unexpected problems, whether it is minor or major one. In the case of Big Dig project, although safety is one of their utmost concern during the execution phase, several accidents occurred along the way. A section of a completed tunnel's ceiling collapsed and even claimed someone's life. These unexpected problems might occur in some areas of the project. It might be within the project team itself, in the technical or financial aspects or among the stakeholders.
Citing the Big Dig as an example, during the execution phase, there were leaks that were noted in some portion of the constructed tunnel. Although, according to engineering experts, the leakage was far below the tolerable post-construction leakage, still it created a stir within the media and caused political uproar which prompt the project team and the contractors to patch it up. This forced them to allot additional cost plus additional time just to satisfy the politician's timeframe.
These problems are just few examples of trouble experienced in the project execution phase. There might be tons of troubles the project management team encountered throughout the execution phase. But no matter how big and small the problems are, it still depend on one thing and it's on the capability of the project manager and the project team to handle whatever disasters strike their way. The success and the failure still depend on the people behind the project and how they execute and treat whatever problems arise.