Unfortunately projects don’t always follow the plan you set out for them and you can be faced with a failing project that risks you losing a lot more than just the monetary value of the project.
A project should only be undertaken if it has the potential to be successful. In order to define project success we have compiled a few tips to follow to help you get from project initiation to execution successfully.
Define Your Idea of Project Success
As much as you want to get stuck into the project straight away it is important to take the time to define your project. So therefore before the project has started everyone involved needs to have a common understanding around the end result of a successful project.
This time spent planning will ultimately cut your costs, reduce the amount of time wasted planning during the project and ensure a better quality project at the end. Defining your project is one of most important deliverables of the entire project planning process and becomes the platform from where the project is developed.
Fail to Plan – You Plan to Fail
Once you have the project defined it is important to create your plan of action by drawing up a number of steps that need to be completed, the level of resourcing required at each step and time needed in order for it to be completed to a high quality.
It is important to not only focus on the high level plan but to also keep in mind the other areas that may creep up on you such as risk and issues, changes to project scope, communication channels etc. It is important to have an appropriate procedure in place in order to manage these areas.
Put All Your Planning to Work
Now that you have put all that time into planning your project and the other bits that could have interfered with it along the way it is time to get to work. The aim here is to keep to the plan that you have carefully put together. In order to keep to your plan it is very much advised to review project on a regular basis and discuss the progress the project is making.
At each milestone there should be a test in place to see if it is line to meet the project requirements before moving onto the next stage of the project. Keeping up this practice will help ensure that the project reaches and exceeds its end deliverables.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Risks can just creep up on you so it is important to keep your eyes peeled for warning signs of trouble ahead. If the situation arises that a risk is approaching, you need to refer to your risk management plan (which you should have put in place in step 2) to proactively ensure that the project stays on track.
Communication is Important
Team work is key to successful project management and communication plays a very important role within teamwork. Successful projects are built on a solid foundation of good communication skills.
It guides all the preparation done in the first point right down to the project closure. To guarantee that good communication takes place ensure that the channels to communication are clear and concise.
Change Request Management
Scope is one of the most important components to help gain project success and it is also one of the main reasons behind project failure. If a change to the project scope needs to be made the project sponsor should take control of this – as they are the individual that is funding the project.
Even if the project stakeholder believes the change to the scope would be beneficial it can only be approved once the project sponsor gives the all clear.
Finally – if All Else Fails
If you end up being faced with the situation where your project doesn’t meet its requirements, it is important to not waste time feeling like a failure. Instead ask yourself what could I have done differently and focus on some lessons learned. By exercising this you will avoid making the same mistakes that may hindered project success again.