Why Do Aviation Projects Fail?

Explore the Head of PMO’s Insights on Key Project Failure Factors


Find out the range of Sectors we cover

Download Our Brochure

Learn about our services offerings

Contact Us

We can support your business

Our Head of PMO, Dan Colbourne MBA IEng, shares insight into the number one reason why aviation projects fail, or at least are late!

“Why do aviation projects fail? I find that the number one reason is an ‘I want’ attitude, and setting unrealistic target dates. How many times have you been in a meeting, where the delivery date is set based on a guess, or a whim without fully analysing the requirements against the actions required in order to achieve them. i.e. a fully informed Project Plan. The projects then fall to the team and straight away departments are on the backfoot and sprinting toward unrealistic goals. This leads to increased stress and pressure and ultimately pushes the chances of something slipping the net. A Human Factors failure some may say!

It seems a bit of an oxymoron that all Project Management training I have undertaken follows the same basic process, i.e. develop an achievable plan by analysing realistic requirements, planning these into work breakdown structures, scheduling, estimating and ultimately deriving a detailed plan that will inform the deliverable date. Whereas in reality most of the time the ‘date’ is provided and we have to shoehorn in the tasks to fit!

Another reason for failure is, that even when the aviation project is planned correctly there can be delays in submission, review and contract award, all without moving the deliverable date, again contracting the what was an achievable plan into a more restrictive window.

It is understood that it is often the end customer that sets the date. ‘The contract must start on xxxx’, but again this is not derived from proper planning, and bid teams make projects fit. I think if I was the end customer that I would appreciate honest feedback on the feasibility of a project?! But hey ho, that not how the world works as most contracts are awarded on the shoehorned plans at the lowest price!

If only we do it correctly!”