It’s a New Year and by now most of us will have failed to keep our first set of New Year resolutions! But it’s not too late to re-focus on doing our projects better (particularly in my part of the world where summer holidays are coming to an end and business life is starting to pick up). Nothing in the list below is new or revolutionary; they are just good practices that help make projects successful.
Most projects that fail are set up to fail by the organization and senior management (see: Project or Management Failures?). 80% of projects that fail don’t have a committed and trained project sponsor. An effective project sponsor will:
- Give clear project objectives.
- Help craft a well‐defined project scope.
- Remove obstacles that affect project success.
- Mediate disagreements with other senior stakeholders.
- Support the project manager.
The role of the project or program sponsor is outlined in: WP1031 Project & Program Sponsorship.
Customers or end‐users are critically important to the success of ‘their project’. Unfortunately there is an extreme shortage of ‘intelligent customers’. A ‘good customer’ will:
- Help refine the project scope – no one gets it 100% correct first time.
- Convey requirements fully and clearly
(see: WP 1071 Defining Requirements).
- Avoid changing their minds frequently.
- Adhere to the change management process.
Every project team needs expertise – this is frequently provided by external experts. Subject‐matter experts should:
- Highlight common pitfalls.
- Help rather than hinder decision making.
The work of the project is done by ‘the team’. A committed and motivated project team will:
- Buy into the project’s objectives.
- Identify all of the required tasks and ensure the schedule is complete and accurate.
- Provide accurate estimates.
- Report progress and issues truthfully.
- Deliver their commitments.
- Focus on achieving the intended benefits
(see: WP 1023 Benefits and Value).
Finally, the project manager
- Recognises that there is no “I” in project and works with the team and stakeholder community to create a successful outcome
- Resolves issues and risks that may arise from the 18 items above quickly, efficiently and effectively.
Almost all of the items listed require action by people other than the project manager – this highlights the fact that projects are done by people for people and the key skill required by every project manager is the ability to influence, motivate and lead stakeholders both in the project team and in the wider stakeholder community.
For more on Making Projects Work see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Book_Sales.html#MPW