Lachlan McGurk

Trainer/Consultant, IIL

Opaque Transparency: The Silent Project Killer

A 2014 report from the Standish Group showed that a staggering 31.1% of software projects get cancelled before completion. Further, over 50% of projects will cost nearly 200% of their original estimates, and only 16% of software projects are completed on time and on budget.

The report cited user collaboration, executive level support and clearly stated requirements as key contributors to success, but what’s the common denominator?

Having led many public and private classes, and consulted with many corporations, I hear the same pain points over and over. Sharing these pains (which everyone of course believes are unique to them!) will hopefully lead to more project managers pushing for support, executives introspecting a little deeper and more realistically, and team members asking for more project transparency!

I’ve summed up the major project pains from folks mentioned above in to one collective term: transparency. Transparency means clarity, and there are many opportunities from day one of a project to introduce clarity, yet so often these opportunities are missed one after the other. This makes the lack of transparency a silent project killer, slowly choking any chance of success and lending itself to the sad statistics shown above.

Thankfully, there is hope! A clear and realistic project charter gets things off to a good start, but it needs to be followed up with other key processes. This presentation talks about those key processes, and more importantly, the fact that brilliant processes are useless without the right people employing them.


Originally from Bonnie, Scotland, I spent 12 years in the Royal Air Force, followed by another 12 years in IT Project Management within the Automotive Industry (global Tier 1 OEM supplier). I’ve been a full-time Project Management instructor/consultant since 2012, and I’m also a local business owner (along with my wife, Sharon, our flower shop ranks year after year in the top 25 from 1200 florists across Canada on the Teleflora network).

I also serve as Director for my local Business Improvement Association, and in 2018 I picked up a national BIA award for a project I led to introduce free public, solar powered Wi-Fi to Alliston's downtown. I enjoy playing the bagpipes, golf, running a whisky club, emceeing and comedy!